Australian film legend Jack Thompson brings the Far North’s pre-colonial and pioneering history to life in an epic movie experience premiering at the Historic Village Herberton on May 6.
Two years in the making, Herberton Heart of the North, combines special effects and digital imagery of the calibre of Star Wars and Avatar movies to create an immersive journey through the region’s history from local First Nations peoples to the post-colonial search for riches.
Executive producer Joe Connor, of Renegade Films, said audiences would be wowed just by the size of the film installation. At 12m by 3m, it takes up the whole side of the renovated Salvo Building at the Historic Village.
Sweeping panoramas combine with a rousing original musical score by Mick Thomas, of Weddings, Parties, Anything fame, to introduce viewers to the historical documentary.
“This installation would not be out of place in our one of our national institutions or state galleries,” Mr Connor said.
“The technology is state-of-the-art and the creatives who have been involved in the process, Gatherer Media and Bilbie Productions, are world renowned award-winning practitioners.
“We hope we have created an experience that will engage and entertain visitors with the long history of Herberton and encourage them to look deeper into all that the Historic Village has to offer.”
Owners of Historic Village Herberton, Craig and Connie Kimberly, said the choice of Jack Thompson as narrator was crucial to the project.
“He is the iconic Australian storyteller,” they said. “We wanted people to come out feeling that they had been involved in an experience of Herberton’s history.”
Mr Connor said a lot of research and consultation with First Nations people went into the project.
“So much history is anecdotal but when you put it into a film, it has to be verified as it is there forever,” he said.
“We consulted historians and archaeologists, but relied heavily on the local people, their incredible memories, historical societies, archives and museums.
“We can never comprehensively tell the whole story of the region but we hope we will give people enough to give them a taste for it, show them that history is living all around them, and maybe they will explore it further, both in the Historic Village, where there are so many treasures, and out in the broader community.”
The world-class installation is unique in that it recreates pre-colonial life in Australia with virtual technologies and then uses digitally enhanced historical photographs and footage for the post-colonial history.
Craig and Connie Kimberly said the Salvo Building at the Historic Village had undergone a full restoration to turn it into a theatre, complete with solar power, as a fitting home for the installation.
The launch is part of the Pioneer Weekend activities at the village on May 6-7 which includes live music, working machinery displays, bush poetry, market stalls, train rides and sausage sizzle.
Normal admission prices apply. For more information and full program of events, go to www.historicvillageherberton.com.au
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