Nitmiluk Gorge was much busier than usual yesterday with a large cast and crew shooting the feature film Top End Wedding.
Visitors to the gorge would have been surprised to see the stream of production people – ear pieces permanently attached - with expensive movie equipment preparing to shoot scenes for the the Top End movie, which secured major investment funding from Screen Australia.
On top of that, there was the cast, including the star of the movie Miranda Tapsell, runners, make up and costume artists and about 20 extras who were hired to play the backdrop for the scenes.
A ‘Unit Base’ was set up at the bottom car park of Nitmiluk Gorge to accommodate for the large technical vehicles, generators, changing room vehicles, make-up and wardrobe and catering - they all have to be parked somewhere.
The number of vehicles and the amount of manpower required to create just a few minutes of the film was astounding, said one of the extras, Kerry Veitch, who was on a film set for the first time.
Filming location was a short boat ride down the gorge to a picturesque setting surrounded by sheer rock faces.
Within the group of excited extras, one keen budding actor stood out.
Katherine resident Angus Pickering, just 15 years old, was on a movie set for the first time with his mother Megan Pickering.
Mr Pickering said he hopes this movie set is the first of many in his acting career.
“There are not many acting opportunities in Katherine, I am always on the look out, so when (the call for extras) came up I jumped at the chance,” he said.
“I didn’t know what to expect from being an extra, but I’m loving the experience so far.
“It is a bit hard standing for hours and waiting for the next direction, but seeing how it works and seeing the production side is really cool,” Mr Pickering said.
Having performed with Opera Australia, Mr Pickering hopes to become a well known film actor.
In addition to summer courses at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art), Australia's leading centre for arts education and training, and with a few plays under his belt, Mr Pickering is well on his way to fulfilling his dream.
“I want to be acting because I think it is a great way to express yourself and just be able to be weird,” he said.
Supporting her son who is still too young to be on set by himself, Ms Pickering said she was also enjoying the unique experience of being an extra on a feature film.
“I thought the boredom of being an extra today might put Angus off being an actor, but that has definitely not been the case. He is loving it,” she said.
“We were hoping to talk to the actors, but they look way too busy preparing for the scenes, but we are happy to have been involved in the filming,” Ms Pickering said.
Mr Pickering said he hopes to look back on his experience of being an extra on Top End Wedding and be able to think this is where it all started.
Top End Wedding filming crew and cast are expected to be in Katherine until Wednesday, said one of the production crews, with more scenes still to be shot.
In addition to filming in Katherine the production will be heading to three other Top End locations including Darwin, Tiwi Islands and Kakadu.