Why Ipswich is now a movie Mecca

BEHIND THE SCENES: Extras for Parer’s War in the make-up area set up in a building on the old Bremer TAFE site, now called 88 Limestone Street.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Extras for Parer’s War in the make-up area set up in a building on the old Bremer TAFE site, now called 88 Limestone Street. Sarah Harvey

THE best of Ipswich's historic buildings will be stars of an ABC telemovie telling the story of Australian war cameraman Damien Parer.

Yesterday, an ABC film crew was at 88 Limestone Street, the former Bremer TAFE building in the CBD, to shoot scenes for Parer's War.

Other settings this week have included The Workshops at North Ipswich and the Top of Town section of Brisbane St.

Meanwhile, 88 Limestone Street is taking a trip back in time as both film set and home base for the telemovie.

The new owners of 88 Limestone opened the doors of the magnificent heritage buildings to more than 100 actors and film crew dressed in 1930s and 40s period costume.

Ipswich businessman James Long and his wife Tracey Long bought the old TAFE to restore it to an upmarket business precinct, with construction scheduled to start in October.

Mr Long said location manager Chris Strewe toured the well-known building on the corner of Limestone and Ellenborough streets last month and jumped at the chance to use it as a set.

MOVIE MAGIC: Producer Andrew Wiseman (right) talks to the site’s owner, James Long, as extras walk by in a break in filming for telemovie Parer’s War at 88 Limestone Street.
MOVIE MAGIC: Producer Andrew Wiseman (right) talks to the site’s owner, James Long, as extras walk by in a break in filming for telemovie Parer’s War at 88 Limestone Street. Sarah Harvey

"Because of the age of these buildings, you can imagine that the people who are dressed up for the period were actually here," Mr Long said.

"I like the movies but I've never seen one made. I'm finding it very interesting. We work in construction and have a lot of logistics but these guys roll in with 100 people and they seem extremely organised.

"Ipswich is hosting all these people filming a professional production that's going to be seen nationwide."

Mr Strewe said Ipswich in general and 88 Limestone Street in particular were ideal for period pieces such as Parer's War.

"The film is set in the 1940s and obviously there ain't much that is architecturally from the 40s on the Gold Coast or that is accessible in Brisbane; and Ipswich City Council is so inviting to film-makers and so helpful and it's always very attractive to come here," Mr Strewe said.

"But the best thing is James Long made the wonderful old TAFE building available so we're doing interior and exterior of this wonderful heritage building.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Extras for Parer’s War in the make-up area set up in a building on the old Bremer TAFE site, now called 88 Limestone Street.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Extras for Parer’s War in the make-up area set up in a building on the old Bremer TAFE site, now called 88 Limestone Street. Sarah Harvey

"It's just gold for film-making. It's a treasure trove."

He said filming was also scheduled there for last night, today at nearby St Paul's Anglican Church then back to 88 Limestone Street.

With Parer's War set to be aired next year, Mr Long said the timing was perfect, with 88 Limestone Street due to open mid next year.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale welcomed Parer's War, which is also being shot in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, as the next episode of Ipswich's transformation into a Mecca for film-makers.

"One of the movie guys said how easy it is to make the film here with everyone making them feel so welcome," he said.

"I don't mind the inconvenience because it's so good for the city."

Starring two of Australia's most brilliant young actors, Matt Le Nevez (Offspring, Howzat! Kerry Packer's War) and Adelaide Clemens (Parade's End, The Great Gatsby), Parer's War tells the story of courageous war cameraman Damien Parer (Le Nevez).

During the Second World War, Parer filmed Australian troops confronting the dangers of jungle warfare in New Guinea, all the while putting himself in the firing line.

IPSWICH ON FILM

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  • The Railway Man
  • The Tree
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