Presumably there are some red faces at the Northern
Territory Film Office with news (Crikey 20/07) that most of the filming of the
new series of The Alice was done in Sydney using sand trucked in from the

The Office gave the producers Southern Star and
Channel Nine $330,000 in order to guarantee more time would be spent filming
around Alice Springs, ensuring more local participation than would otherwise have
happened and providing an excellent promotion for the NT, according to Film
Office director Penelope McDonald in the Centralian Advocate last

In the same newspaper David Curl, NT president of
the Australian Cinematographers Society and NT rep for the Australian Screen
Directors Association, said the money should not be spent on an interstate mob. But then he was also quoted as saying it was
“absurd” to think anyone could make a film about Alice Springs without spending
some time there.

No more absurd perhaps than a film office funding
earth moving. Hopefully some local truckers did OK out of the sand transfers
because there doesn’t seem to have been a lot in it for the local film industry
and businesses who would normally benefit from location filming.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey