There are not many places in the world where you can experience rugged coastlines, deserts, forests, hills and farmland all within an hour’s drive of a modern city.
But it is these sorts of varied landscapes that are helping Adelaide attract interest from global entertainment companies.
From the Steven Spielberg epic Jaws and World War I epic Gallipoli 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 filmmakers to take advantage of these adaptable surrounds have created a YouTube channel which has grabbed the attention of global video-game companies including Konami and Ubisoft.
Fury Fingers was formed in Adelaide by Andrew Shanks, David Gregan, Daniel Dink and Nicholas Cleary, who began creating spoofs of their favourite video games and uploading them online, where they have accumulated more than 750,000 views.
Their more than 20 videos parody well-known games including Tomb Raider, Pac-Man and Grand Theft Auto.
Shanks said Adelaide’s 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 says.
“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.
“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 with access to the university’s film studio and equipment. He says his involvement with the university has also helped the group attract volunteers and extras.
South Australian Film Corporation CEO Annabelle Sheehan says the scenic landscape near Adelaide has 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 says.
“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.”
This article was first published on The Lead.