A Canberra made sci-fi adventure film is taking shape in the capital throughout February, filming in the hidden recesses of the city and its surrounds.
And there might even be a chance for film buffs to take part in the movie, if they're lucky.
The film is Blue World Order - a story set in a post-apocalyptic landscape in which civilisation has crumbled and all children have been killed by a massive electromagnetic pulse that also released a virus into the population. Only one man, Jake Slater, is immune to the virus and his daughter Amy is the only surviving child on the planet.
It's directed by Canberra writers Che Baker and Dallas Bland, who describe it as a fast-paced action adventure sci-fi flick with "everything from spinning kicks to laser battles". And the events are seen through the eyes of the film's hero, Jake Slater, as he travels through the ruined country, searching for help for his unconscious daughter.
"It's set in the modern day, in the very near future, but obviously war and catastrophe has happened, there's been a lot of chaos in the world. [In an opening scene, Jake] comes across this place that is quite ordered and seemingly quite civilised but of course, there is more than meets the eye," Baker says, with a laugh.
Bestselling novelist Matthew Reilly is one of the producers and the lead role is played by Jake Ryan, who's also a martial arts specialist. The cast also includes veteran actor Bruce Spence and Kiwi actor Stephen Hunter, who played the dwarf Bombur in The Hobbit.
Baker and Bland originally conceived of Blue World Order as a short film in 2012. It won so much praise and got so much positive feedback that they decided to expand it to a full length feature film.
"People wanted to see more of the world, see more of the story and the idea came up to turn it into a feature because there was so much more about it than we could fit into 7 minutes," said Bland. "It has really allowed us to go into much more backstory and turn that into a living, breathing, sci-fi animal."
They're now helping lead a team of 50 people, shooting scenes for the movie throughout Canberra in February. Baker and Bland say they raised all the money for the film privately from Canberra investors but have qualified for a tax rebate from Screen Australia. "The movie is completely privately funded with no government assistance, it took all last year to get that all sorted," Baker said. "But we have been through Screen Australia's producers offset program."
And while turning that vision into reality has been a long process, it's clear that both men are thrilled to see Blue World Order coming together.
"It's been an image in Che and [my] heads and a few other people's heads for years but being on set, watching the monitors and seeing the actors bring it to life, seeing how it's captured and watching the monitors as the shots are coming to life - it kind of gives you goosebumps a lot of the time," Bland says. "It's been in our heads for so long, seeing it evolving into reality is really, really exciting."
"It's better than we actually could have imagined," Baker adds.
They both felt the project should be filmed in Canberra - Bland is a local boy and Baker has lived in the capital "on and off", he says, for about 15 years.
"We both had a good idea of some of the areas and the locations around the place so we wrote this quite specifically with Canberra people and locations in mind in order to produce something that was universal," Baker says.
"It's a universal story and a universal look to the film but we have access to people and places in Canberra that are hidden secrets that make the film look a lot more expensive... We've got world class facilities and locations here."
"Some of these locations, people would drive past or walk past every day and not realise what's on the other side of that shrub, that road," Bland says.
They've had support from Canberra business, and have nothing but praise for the ACT Government for helping them gain access to filming locations. And they are still on the lookout for financial support and for Canberrans to volunteer as extras on the film. Casting calls for extras are announced on the Blue World Order Facebook page a couple of days in advance.