Roads to be closed in Civic as Hollywood leverages Canberra’s very special set of skills

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson contributes Black light, some of which will be filmed in Canberra this week. Photos: Ben King.

A Hollywood blockbuster starring Liam Neeson will film for nine days in Canberra from Thursday, closing some roads and footpaths in the Civic as well as some bus stops.

To facilitate filming and ensure the safety of all involved, Transport Canberra and City Services say full road and footpaths are required at the following locations from Thursday, January 14th to Sunday, January 17th:

  • London Circuit from Constitution Avenue to Ainslie Avenue
  • Akuna Street from London Circuit to Cooyong Street
  • Bunda Street from Petrie Street to Binara Street
  • Binara Street from Akuna Street to Allara Street
  • Allara Street from Binara Street to Constitution Avenue
  • Nangari Street from Allara Street to the London Circuit
  • Rabaul Lane from Nangari Street to Akuna Street.

In case of wet weather during this period, further closures will be in place on Monday 18 January and Tuesday 19 January.

These closures will restrict access to these streets for road users, pedestrians and cyclists during filming. On-street parking on these streets will also not be allowed during filming.

Access will be administered to local residents and to local businesses.

Night locks will also be in place on the following roads from Monday 18 January to Friday 22 January between 20:00 and 6:00:

  • Wilden Street, Murden Street and William Clemens Street in the city center
  • access to Tambreet Street from Majura Road, both northbound and southbound
  • a rolling road closure on Parkes Way between Wendouree Drive and Clunies Ross Street.

Some paths will be affected by the movie footage. Image: Included.

Canberra’s budding film industry hopes a Hollywood blockbuster filming on the streets of the CBD will pave the way for more film roles for the national capital.

Black light, with Liam Neeson in the lead role, has a budget of $ 54 million and is currently filming in Melbourne, but Canberra has been chosen as the location for a crucial car chase sequence that will use world-leading pre-visualization technology to transform Canberra into downtown Washington DC.

The footage will create employment for up to 60 local crews and is expected to bring in more than $ 1.5 million in investment in the city, including ab.oost for hotels and hospitality sites.

It is also an opportunity for Canberra to demonstrate its ability to host this type of technical production and allow local crews to gain experience in large-scale film production.

Screen Canberra CEO Monica Penders said Canberra offered a much easier environment than the larger cities to record such scenes with its special street configuration and less traffic disruption.

She said the stunt director for Black light, who has shot car chases around the world, told her that Canberra was one of the best places in the world for this type of work.

“Logistically, it’s a lot easier,” she said. “They are closing 40 streets down for the filming, in Melbourne and elsewhere it is 20 streets.”

The Blacklight team has already been in Canberra for a one-day location shoot last month. The material from there has been fed into a gaming platform called Unreal Engine, which maps the car chase and then replaces the Canberra street scene with Washington DC.

Ms Penders said the project could open up a whole host of other options for Canberra.

“This is not the first time I have been told by incoming productions that we could sub for smaller North American cities like Boston,” she said.

Screen Canberra will package material from the footage into its marketing to pitch to studios and producers for future productions.

Mark Williams

Blacklight director Mark Williams on the set.

She said it had links to studios in Australia and Los Angeles and Sydney-based Ausfilm, the organization tasked with enticing production companies to make films in that country.

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the United States, many productions such as Black light moves here.

“Australia and Canberra are being flooded with calls from overseas production companies to come and shoot here,” Ms Penders said.

“We’ve probably had the busiest we’ve had, from October to the first quarter of this year, for years.”

The political television drama Total control series 2 is coming soon on screen, a horror movie called Lass Wrapped before Christmas, a Netflix documentary is being filmed in Namadgi National Park, and two reality TV shows have been filming parts in Canberra.

Screen Canberra is also courting a children’s TV series, which would provide a great training ground for the local team.

Ms Penders said Canberra probably would not attract entire productions, “but taking chunks out of this international interest is really important given our size”.

The second aspect of the number of major international productions that flowed to Australia was that smaller films and Australian productions were pushed out of the major cities and looked for other places such as Canberra

Ms Penders said interest in Canberra would hardly dry up once the pandemic was over, especially from Australian projects and TV and small screen productions that feed the growing demand from streamers.

And will moviegoers be able to see any Canberra landmarks? Not likely, Mrs. Penders said, but sharp-eyed Canberrans perhaps.

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