The Pines’ classic farmhouse on Saddleback Mountain, Killalee and other Illawarra locations are the backdrop for a new Australian film, Rip Tide.
The film, the second for Bulli-born director Rhiannon Bannenberg, is set to attract attention around the world through its star, Debby Ryan.
“Debby is Disney’s biggest star, through her role in its Jessie Disney Channel series,” says Rip Tide’s producer Steve Jaggi. In this social media age, her popularity can be appreciated by her 6.5 million followers on Instagram and her 12 million Facebook followers. More than Hugh Grant.
“We are so honoured to have Debbie agree to do the film. It elevates the whole production when you’ve got a star like her.”
Jaggi describes Rip Tide as an inspirational family film, targeted at girls in the 8-16 year old age group.
“Rhiannon and I have a real mission statement to inspire young people to make the most of their lives and realise anything is possible.”
Movie making is labour intensive, and the economic impact of having 65 crew stay at 20 houses in the area over a week is estimated at around $120,000.
Apart from the difficulty of finding somewhere to eat late at night, the cast and crew have loved working here and look set to return.
“We’d love to shoot a number of films down here,” says Steve Jaggi. “We are already talking to people about it to make it happen.”
Part of the story line involves Debby learning to surf, bringing yet more attention to our beaches on top of the international audience for the World
Junior Surfing Championship being held at Bombo in early January.
The film also stars Naomi Sequeira, Genevieve Hegney, Andrew Creer, Aaron Jeffery, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Danielle Carter, Valerie Bader, Marcus Graham and Kimie Tsukakoshi.