The film crew production van parked in Murwillumbah’s Main Street as filming took place. Photo supplied
The filming of a new multi-million-dollar US television series in the Tweed over the past four months, due to wind up today, has had a mixed reception.
Tweed Shire Council says the comedy drama series Camp, filmed mostly on location at the Crams Farm recreation area near Clarrie Hall Dam south of Uki, provided a much-needed stimulus to the local economy.
But a local couple at nearby Commissioners Creek disagree, saying most contractors were employed from Queensland and the Crams Farm site, which was locked out to locals and tourists during the week, had suffered as a result of the commercial venture.
If it rates highly in the United States, the TV show, by joint US-Australian production house Matchbox Pictures, could return for filming of a second series in the Tweed.
Shooting of the 10 one-hour episodes for the series at Crams Farm and around Murwillumbah began in March.
Council’s acting director of community and natural resources, Anthony Burnham, told Echonetdaily the $22 million TV series, to be screened by US network NBC, was scheduled for summer viewing in the US.
Mr Burnham said a six-month lease on the empty Murwillumbah Bowls Club was used as the base for a crew of 70, plus actors and extras.
‘This resulted in a boost to bookings of motel beds across the Tweed, meals and fuel that were provided by local motels, hotels, cafes, restaurants, petrol stations, fresh food businesses and supermarkets,’ he said.
Mr Burnham said a number of locals were employed as extras and on the production crew, as well as in the building of the set, ‘plus a range of building supplies, which were needed to build cabins and other structures at the site, were sourced locally.
The couple who live nearby the set, who did not want their names made public for fear of recriminations, said many of the contractors’ cars, mostly Queensland-registered, sped along the unsealed Doon Doon Road leading to Crams Farm after work at night, with some wildlife killed as a result.
‘The six kilometres of road down here has school buses on it yet the traffic out of Crams Farm these past few months has been horrendous, with many speeding. One car ended up on its roof recently,’ the local said.
‘At least some of the lease money for the site should be used to upgrade the road, which doesn’t get all that much attention usually.
‘Some small native trees at the picnic area also were torn out on the location site and filming continued on Saturdays when the area was supposed to be freed up for normal public use.
‘They had free rein of the park for the whole week to do whatever they do, yet the army cadets were not allowed by Council to use it for their camps because of fears their marching could compact the soil there,’ he said.
But Council says it has received ‘very few complaints’ about the filming at Crams Farm ‘if any’.
Mr Burnham said the film company was concerned about the potential impact on wildlife and ‘included a note to all staff to be aware of any impact on wildlife on their daily running sheet’ and ‘also placed signage on roads in and out about wildlife to remind employees’.
‘Consultation with the neighbours was very good and involved doorknocking and letterbox drops where appropriate to particular activities,’ he said.
Mr Burnham said filming was due to finish last weekend but because of weather delays, it was due to end yesterday with work to restore the site to begin today, Wednesday.
‘Council has a lease and legal agreement in place with Matchbox Pictures in regards to restoration work. Council is quite confident the site will recover quickly,’ Mr Burnham said.
‘In a general sense as the landowner, Council has no significant concerns about the overall process, which was professionally done from Council’s perspective.’
Mr Burnham said only a camphor laurel tree was removed after the production company asked permission to cut it down as part of their storyline.
Council officers had selected it as a suitable tree for removal as it had little impact on the environment.
He added that the company also provided onsite security at the site.
The series’ production manager Brett Popplewell did not return a call requesting comment.