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April 5, 2019 - Cassowary Coast 'glams' up for Celeste preview

Locally-filmed operatic drama ‘Celeste’ proved a box office hit in Innisfail last night when a sell-out crowd of 450 people ‘glammed up’ for some red carpet treatment at the gala preview screening in Innisfail’s atmospheric art deco Shire Hall.

While images of leading lady and Hollywood star Radha Mitchell and natural wonders of the Cassowary Coast region were illuminated on the exterior of the three-storey hall, inside fans had the opportunity to meet writer/director Ben Hackworth and leading man Thomas Cocquerel.

Local World Heritage-listed rainforest played an important role in the award-winning film and the Cassowary Coast Regional Council is rolling out a red carpet of its own to encourage more writers, directors and producers to consider the Cassowary Coast as a location.

Council welcomed the film industry to the region and would be happy to support future projects where possible.

“Numerous movies have been shot in our region over the years, including the hugely successful ‘Age of Consent’ with James Mason and Helen Mirren, which was filmed on Dunk Island in 1968, and Nim’s Island, which starred Jodie Foster and was filmed on Hinchinbrook Island in 2007,” Cr Kremastos said.

“Others have been filmed around Flying Fish Point and Mena Creek and, of course, Gerard Lee’s quirky ‘All Men Are Liars’, was shot in South Johnstone in 1995 with John Jarratt in a lead role.”

Cr Ben Heath said it was a “love story” from the start when the Celeste production crew approached the Council two years ago for assistance with locations, cast extras, storage of plant and equipment, traffic management and introductions to local residents and business people.

“We were excited because we could see the long-term possibility of creating another industry for our region.

“When a beautiful story is filmed in our beautiful region it showcases to the world the unique landscapes and environment in which we live.” 

Celeste was screened courtesy of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council in association with Innisfail Chamber of Commerce, the Innisfail Advocate and Radio 4KZ, Unicorn Films, distributor Curious Films and Screen Queensland.

Paronella Park, where the film was shot, offered 250 ticket holders a two-year free pass to the beautiful castle and grounds for a gold coin donation on Thursday night. More than $450 was raised and this will be donated to the ‘Buy A Cow’ appeal for western graziers affected by first drought and then floods.

 “If you love Paronella Park on the big screen, come and see it for real,” Ms Evans said.

Mayor John Kremastos said the preview screening of Celeste in Innisfail allowed locals who had taken part in the film project and their families to come together and celebrate.

“It was fun to see people we know on the big screen alongside notable Australian actors and to hear the reaction from the audience when a local appeared,” he said.

Part proceeds from ticket sales are being donated to the volunteer community group Innisfail Christmas Crew, which organised the bar and refreshments. The money will be used for this year’s Innisfail Christmas Carnivale street event.

Celeste is an intoxicating tale of love, betrayal and Schubert, set amidst the bohemian world of opera and a remote rainforest in Tropical North Queensland. It stars Radha Mitchell, Thomas Cocquerel, Nadine Garner and Odessa Young with supporting actors and extras cast from the Far North. It was co-written by the late Australian theatre star Bille Brown, after whom Queensland Theatre named its refurbished theatre alongside the Diane Cilento Studio in South Brisbane.

Celeste opens in select Australian cinemas from April 25.


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