Fear Below: feature film to be shot in Moama over the coming months

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On the lookout: Writer-director Matthew Holmes, production designer Esther Rosenberg and producer Blake Northfield during a location scout visit to Echuca recently. Photo by Nicole Thomson

The Murray River is set to become our own slice of Hollywood, with the feature film Fear Below to start production in the twin towns in the coming weeks.

The film, set in 1946, follows a group of divers contracted to retrieve gold bullion from the bottom of a river after a robbery gone wrong. Once underwater, the divers soon realise they aren’t alone.

The film is the second collaboration for production company Bronte Pictures — whose film Streamline was due to premiere at the Echuca Paramount Theatre last year — and director Matthew Holmes (The Legend of Ben Hall, Twin Rivers).

This is Mr Holmes’ fourth feature film as a writer/director, and he said his intention with Fear Below was to echo the style of the adventure films he grew up with, such as Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark, using practical effects and stunt work rather than CGI.

"With its fresh setting, and a cast of highly memorable characters led by a strong female lead, we are dedicated to delivering a highly original movie in an overly familiar genre — one that really stands out from the crowd,” he said.

Blake Northfield, chief executive officer of Bronte Pictures and producer of Fear Below, said the project was exciting for the team to be producing.

“Matthew Holmes is such a unique director with so much talent, it’s been an absolute joy to put this film together with him,“ he said.

“With two period films (Twin Rivers, The Legend of Ben Hall) under his belt, he’s the perfect director to bring this thrilling film to life.

“The film has secured some incredible cast and the marketplace is really excited for the project. Michael Favelle has absolutely excelled in pre-selling this film across the globe, with the marketplace responding overwhelmingly to the project.”

Bronte Pictures said it intended to be employing locals in a range of positions.

“We inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into the community and provide casting opportunities for local actors,” the company said in a statement.

“We very much look forward to exploring all the local businesses and supporting the restaurants and cafés throughout our time (in the area).”

Production is tabled to run between August and December, and will feature international and Australian household names in the cast, including Hermione Corfield (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) Jake Ryan (Savage, Streamline) Josh McConville (Escape and Evasion, Elvis), Jacob Junior Nayinggul (High Ground) are all attached to the project, which is shooting on the Murray River in Moama.

The production aims to assimilate into the community as well as possible and not disrupt day-to-day movements for residents.

“We really look forward to shooting the film, and then premiere it back in the town down the track,” Bronte Pictures said.