THERE are not many places in the world where you can experience rugged coastlines, deserts, forests, hills and farmland all within an hour drive of a modern city.
But it is exactly these sort of varied landscapes that are helping the South Australian capital Adelaide attract interest from global entertainment companies.
From the Steven Spielberg epic Jaws to the original Mad Max, South Australian locations have a long history of providing accessible and endearing film set locations.
The latest group of aspiring film makers to take full advantage of these adaptable surrounds have created a YouTube channel that has grabbed the attention of global video game companies including Konami and Ubisoft.
Fury Fingers, formed in Adelaide by Andrew Shanks, David Gregan, Daniel Dink, and Nicholas Cleary, began creating spoofs of their favourite video games and uploaded them online where they have accumulated more than 750,000 views.
Shanks said Adelaide’s unique location was one of the main reasons for Fury Fingers’ success.
“Adelaide city is not huge, but there is more than enough places to create films. Everything we’ve shot up to this point has been shot in the city or within half an hour to an hour of Adelaide,” he said.
“If you want a desert type of location, or a forest type of location, you don’t have to drive far. We managed to turn the streets of summery Adelaide into a snowy wintery New York.”
Shanks, who is studying film direction at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, said he was surprised the videos had so many followers, including video game mega-corporation Konami.
“After we released our first Metal Gear Solid video, Hideo Kojima the creator of Metal Gear, stumbled upon it. He loved it and retweeted it. That one tweet took everything to the next level,” he said.
“We are now in talks with them about future projects. And then with Ubisoft, it’s a similar sort of situation where we reached out to them and we talked about doing a video for a game they had coming out.”
“They’ve really embraced what we do and we hope to keep building those relationships with big gaming companies and hopefully that can lead to bigger and better things in the future.”
Shanks also works as a technical officer for the University of South Australia, providing him access to the university’s film studio and equipment.
Shanks said his involvement with the university had also helped the group attract volunteers and extras.
South Australia has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and relatively cool winters. It includes an extensive coastline, nearby islands, a rugged outback, deserts, wine regions and a number of national parks and forests.
Its diverse environment has allowed it to develop a chameleon-like ability to mimic numerous locations around the world.
This has included the famous Australian film Gallipoli, which starred Mel Gibson and told the story of Australian and New Zealand troops who bravely faced an impossible mission along the Turkish coast, during WWI.
South Australian Film Corporation CEO Annabelle Sheehan said the scenic landscape near Adelaide was been a big factor in attracting filmmakers from around the world.
“There are so many locations within a short radius of the CBD of Adelaide and that is a fantastic thing for a production based here or coming here,” she said.
“You do have incredible array of locations and ways in which SA can stand in for other places in a world. That’s what you want.