THE wild men of Ipswich with hearts of gold get their chance to shine in the largely Ipswich-shot film Rise.
Having a plethora of tattoos can be a drawback to getting some employment gigs, but not in the case of the Mack Lindon-directed movie, which was shot on location at Borallon Correctional Centre.
The film's co-producer, Maya Weidner, said there was plenty of quality material to work with when auditions were held in the Ipswich mall for prisoners for the jail shots.
"We needed the look. We wanted tattoos, and the more natural tattoos people had the less make-up we had to do on them," she said.
"At these auditions we had bikies come in and guys that had their sleeves, necks and faces tattooed. A lot of people have preconceived ideas, but the beautiful thing was that the biggest bikies and the scariest looking guys were the sweetest ones to work with on set.
"And that is what our whole film is about… changing the perceptions of people."
The city's reputation as the Hollywood of south-east Queensland is growing by the day and the film is another in the long line of movies to be filmed in the district.
The film was shot in the park at South St, in Limestone St and at North Ipswich Primary School.
Weidner said the support of the Ipswich City Council was a massive boost.
"We got in touch with Stephanie Hoffmann at the council, who is the film liaison officer," she said.
"She was beautiful. She had us come in for a meeting and would go out of her way to organise things for us.
"We felt like we were a priority, and it is lovely to feel that way.
"We had days where there were 150 extras from Ipswich that came out to the set.
"That local support was just beautiful, and we knew we would get that in Ipswich as opposed to anywhere else."
The film, based on the shocking real life experience of the director who was falsely accused of rape and had his conviction overturned, is still one of hope.
"I am a young female who chose to work on this film… and even though the themes are dark, it is about hope and overcoming," Weidner said
"It is a story about somebody who is falsely imprisoned, and what they do to get out of that and the relationships they build."
Lindon's part is played by Nathan Wilson, a QUT fine arts acting graduate.
Martin Sacks - well known for his acting in Blue Heelers, Wentworth and a host of other productions - plays the father figure role of an old criminal in the prison. Marty Rhone plays an old 1970s pop star confined to a wheelchair with a brain injury.
Lindon said Ipswich provided the ideal atmosphere for a director to work.
"Mayor Paul Pisasale's attitude and the way he welcomes the industry with open arms is massive," he said.
"In other areas there is a lot of red tape you have to go through, whereas he is welcoming to the creative arts. That trickles down to all levels of council.
"We used the old magistrates' court... and Borallon was an amazing facility that we were able to access for a three-week period."
The Brisbane premiere of the film is on November 4 at Palace Cinemas.
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