Guide aims to attract filmmakers to Far North

A guide showcasing the Far North’s picturesque potential to filmmakers has been unveiled on the eve of the region’s premier local film festival.

A collaboration between Council and Screen Queensland, the digital film location guide aims to attract screen productions to the region, and assist local filmmakers, location scouts and production crew, in finding appropriate locations for filming.
Taking a closer look at the film guide are (from left) CQUniversity lecturer and filmmaker Dr Jan Cattoni, award-winning documentary maker Douglas Watkins, and film director Molly Reynolds with Acting Mayor Terry James.

Acting Mayor Terry James said the Location: Cairns film guide, and events like the Saturday’s Understory Film Festival, provided the opportunity to grow the local screen industry.

“Following the recent announcement of a new $6.8 million studio hub in Cairns, Council is working with Screen Queensland, strengthening its ‘film friendly council’ commitments, and looking for new ways to promote and support the local film industry,” Cr James said.

The 250-page guide, which is available at, features about 1000 images of locations in the Cairns, Douglas, Cassowary Coast, Yarrabah, Mareeba, Tablelands and other surrounding regions.

“The Location: Cairns film guide gives a taste of the unparalleled quality and variety of landscapes, infrastructure and amenities in our region,” Cr James said.

“Within a few hours of the Cairns Airport, you can find rainforests, picture postcard beaches, rolling green hills, industrial estates, scenes of suburbia or a dystopian looking ghost town.

“The Cairns region and surrounding areas of Innisfail, Mareeba, Atherton Tablelands, Daintree, and Port Douglas have a uniquely diverse range of landscapes, locations and amenities.”

“As well as our incredible locations, our region boasts a vibrant and talented pool of local creatives, filmmakers, location scouts and technically-skilled people; the Understory Film Festival provides our regional filmmakers with the opportunity to share their stories with the community.”

The guide also complements the role played by Council’s film liaison officer in assisting with filming permits and logistics in the Cairns region, as well as referrals to local location scouts for set-specific information and requests.

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich congratulated Cairns Regional Council on creating what will be an invaluable resource for attracting Queensland-based, interstate and international productions into the region.

“With its lush tropical rainforests, breathtaking coastline and expert local crew, Cairns and the wider FNQ region has so much to offer producers on the hunt for the ideal location for their film or series,” said Ms Munnich.

“Growing the screen industry in Far North and North Queensland is a strategic focus for the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland, via the delivery of workshops and production initiatives as well as the brand new Screen Queensland Studios, which will be operational by mid-2022.

Recent productions filmed in Far North Queensland include the hit Netflix feature film This Little Love of Mine, teen mystery series Dive Club, the NITV/SBS Food cooking show Strait to the Plate and documentaries such as David Attenborough’s Life in Colour, and the upcoming Puff: Wonders of the Reef on Netflix.

Understory Film Festival

The Understory Film Festival Awards Ceremony will be staged at Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) and Munro Martin Parklands (MMP) on Saturday.

There were 47 eligible short films entered into the 2021 Understory Film Festival, reflecting diverse age groups, cultures, scenery, genres and ideals, and including 20 school-based entrants. The judging panel, which includes renowned local and national filmmakers and directors, shortlisted 21 films for screening at the Awards Night at Munro Martin Parklands on Saturday from 7pm.

The Understory Film Festival includes networking opportunities, film screenings, a symposium and Awards Night, and assists in the development of a distinctive Far North Queensland screen culture.

Understory Film festival is proudly supported by Screen Queensland and the Queensland Government and the Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

More details on the Understory Film Festival here.

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