ON SET: Estelle, Imogen and Adelaide Synnott from are starring in a movie filmed at Boonah.
ON SET: Estelle, Imogen and Adelaide Synnott from are starring in a movie filmed at Boonah. Rob Williams

Boonah streets alive with national TV series set

LIGHTS, camera, action at Boonah.

The friendly country town's quiet streets, buildings and even paddocks have been transformed into a bustling set as national broadcasters work on shooting a new TV series in the Scenic Rim.

Adapted from the award-winning novel by Sue McPherson, Grace Beside Me is the charming story of Indigenous teenager Fuzzy Mac, who just wants to be an ordinary teenager and have fun with her mates. It's not so easy when her ancestors have other plans and she keeps seeing ghosts.

With one foot in the Indigenous realm of culture, country and spirits and the other firmly planted in the world of a 21st century teenager, Fuzzy Mac's journey is to realise she belongs to both in her own unique way.

Cast members and sisters Estelle, 12, Imogen, 10, and Adelaide, 14, call Boonah home but they get the chance to see a new side of the town through the eyes of their characters.

The girls play classmates and extras in the series, spending days at a time on set when they're not at school at St Mary's.

"We found out about the audition on Facebook so we auditioned just for fun and it turned out that we got into it," Adelaide said.

"Hundreds of people auditioned.

"We did three lines from a scene in the script and we had to act it out on camera for them.

"Meeting all the new people is the best part, I've made so many new friends from all over the Scenic Rim and everyone is really nice and takes care of us.

"Boonah is not a popular or a big tourist area but there are five new cafes and this TV show is going to help with tourism."

The experience has also given the girls an insight into Indigenous customs and language both on and off screen.

"Some of the actors were speaking an Indigenous dialect amongst each other and we were picking up on a few things and they taught us to water divine," Adelaide said.

"Water diving uses two rods and they use them to find water."

Estelle said life behind the scenes on the small screen involved a lot of waiting around, strictly controlled wardrobes and plenty of new experiences.

"There is no hair and make-up for us but just costumes, so we have either the school uniform or a casual outfit they have picked out for us and special shoes that fit the day's outfit," Estelle said.

"When we arrive in the morning we wait around and then we go into costume and then go on set. The experience of seeing what goes on behind the scenes is my favourite part, along with meeting new friends."

Imogen is yet to see the life of the small screen but is busting to join her sisters on set in her role as an extra.

"In the next two to three weeks I'm going to be used as an extra, but just being there is amazing," she said.

Screen Australia head of production Sally Caplan said Grace Beside Me was a funny, uplifting coming-of-age story.

"It has a wonderful script from some of Australia's most talented Indigenous screenwriters. We can't wait to see this unique live-action children's series brought to our screens by the accomplished all-female producing team at Magpie Pictures," Ms Caplan said.

Grace Beside Me will have its world premiere on NITV in January 2018, with the ABC ME broadcast set for mid-2018.



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