The Port Shorts Film Festival brings some of the world’s most talented emerging filmmakers to the tropics on the last weekend of October each year to showcase the most magnificent short films under the stars.
Featuring a stunning line-up including Port Shorts Ambassadors, legendary Aussie actor Stephen Curry and Wolf Creek Producer Matt Hearn, Port Shorts showcases not only the best emerging local and international filmmakers but some of the most breathtaking locations on the planet.
Curry and Hearn know a thing or two about spectacular movie locations in the tropics, in fact they fell in love with Port Douglas so much after their first visit as Port Shorts Ambassadors in 2015 they decided to use it as the location for their action-comedy heist feature film Cape Tribulation which they’re aiming to begin production on in the near-future with an all-star international cast.
It would have to be one of the most spectacular car chase locations on Earth, with the highway winding along the coastline as effortlessly as a bad hangover permeating your brain cells after a big night at the Ironbar.
Throw in a few slow caravans spicing up your car chase around the bends for dramatic effect, the potential to roll your Datsun off a seaside cliff if you go into the corners too hot and the chance to spot a whale frolicking off the coastline as you’re haring around and you’ve got all the ingredients for an epic car chase.
Port Douglas filmmaker Dean Miller had us all sucked in with his 2015 Port Shorts Film Festival Local Filmmaker Award-winning short film Seventh Natural Wonder in regards to the stunning natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.
Not only is Port Douglas and the Daintree blessed with the closest access to some of the best parts of the Great Barrier Reef, but you have world-renowned filmmakers such as Dean as well as Richard Fitzpatrick and his team from Biopixel in Cairns which recently produced the IMAX blockbuster The Great Barrier Reef in your backyard capable of bringing out the best of the location for you.
Where do you begin with locations in the Daintree Rainforest, everywhere you look you’ll see a tree that’s been there for 1000 years, a bit like me on your telly it feels like sometimes, or some odd-looking critter they probably haven’t even gotten around to naming yet, again a bit like me on a furry Sunday morning.
For Hearny and I, we really love the remoteness of the Daintree, particularly its endless stretches of pristine palm-fringed beaches where there’s hardly a footprint, let alone a bus full of Contiki tourists. We thought it would make a great place to dispose of a few Russian gangsters in Cape Tribulation, thrown in the river of course.
There’s heaps of handy locations within a few blocks of each other in the Port Douglas CBD, with everything from clapped-out fishing dingies to billionaires’ superyachts found down at the marina, the amazing foreshore backdrop at Rex Smeal Park and the Sugar Wharf, an historic theatre, the old-school character of the cane toad races at the Ironbar and even a massive footy oval if you need one.
Just remember the cane toads are for racing, not licking.
If you’ve seen the 2016 Port Shorts Young Filmmaker Award-winning film The Adventures of Mr Muscular & Sidekick Boy by Oliver Marsden you’ll know that all kinds of strange cats can be found lurking in the cane fields. They offer so much potential to scare the crap out of someone or just give that fear of the unknown, and around Port Douglas and the Daintree the cane fields are surrounded by such impressive rainforest backdrops you can’t go wrong when you’re looking for a location to provide some natural suspense.
I’ve always said if it’s good enough for Rupert Murdoch, it’s usually good enough for me, and with every billionaire worth his weight in Himalayan rock salt having a luxurious holiday pad in Port Douglas there’s no shortage of deluxe homesteads for your characters to kick back in. Your biggest problem will be getting your cast and crew out of there without raiding the wine cellar.
If you’re a filmmaker or just love watching short films, then check out this year’s Port Shorts Film Festival to be held in October at Rex Smeal Park, Port Douglas. The Port Shorts Masterclass Series is also held during the festival, bringing together some of the best film industry experts in the country which makes a great environment for filmmakers to network and establish relationships that could lead to collaborating on their next big project.
For more information check out www.portshorts.com and see you at Port Shorts – no pants, no skirts.