Andrew McPhain

Tasmania’s complicated and vibrant history and arts sector has been lauded by a top film maker as “stranger than fiction”.

Speaking to the Launceston Freelance Festival accomplished producer Andrew McPhail spoke about the differences he has seen during his time in Tasmania.

McPhail, who produced the Australian cult classic He Died with a Falafel in his Hand now works as the production investment manager for Screen Tasmania, overseeing funding for freelance film and digital gaming projects in Tasmania.

“You guys [Tasmanians] have the natural advantage where truth is stranger than fiction,” he told a packed room. “The number of stories both in colonial European settlement here, and First Nations people here, I just think, are second to none to anywhere in the rest of the country,” he said.

Originally from Sydney, McPhail has spent the past 12 years in his role at Screen Tasmania, and spoke highly of Tasmania’s preservation of its unique history.

“As a Sydneysider, who had all of its history bulldozed in this sort of rapacious development, Tasmania’s dodged a bullet, a lot of your history was preserved,” he said. “While every other major city in the mainland looks like the Gold Coast, you guys still have character, this sense of history.

“What Screen Tasmania wants to do is it’s wanting to see and enable Tasmanians to tell those stories in the screen format. That’s the cultural remit of Screen Tasmania.”

He said Screen Tasmania had had a big impact on the landscape for freelance workers in the Tasmanian film industry.

“As these projects have come in, we’ve really pumped them with training, a lot of the practitioners who are working full time, freelancers all of them, have had their training on these previous projects,” he added.

“It’s been a really slow and organic process but nearly 60 per cent of the crew and 55 per cent of the cast on Rosehaven are Tasmanian.”

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