Last time Zac Garred appeared in a feature film, it was titled ‘Newcastle’ and documented the surfing culture of his home town.
Now he’s fighting off alien invasions in an Australia-wide invasion.
The new teaser trailer for Occupation, a science-fiction action movie set for cinemas later this year, has been released and it’s already promising a high-octane entry into Australia’s film industry.
It’s a feature flick that boasts deep Novocastrian roots too, with Maitland’s Luke Sparke having written and directed the sci-fi epic.
With the teaser release the marketing machine has started rolling, and Sparke admitted that the nerves are starting to creep up.
“It’s a bit nerve-wracking getting to the point where you stop working on the project and start showing it to people and seeing how they react,” Sparke said. “You just want people to be eager to see it, and embrace it.”
The teaser trailer, released on the official Facebook page for Occupation, has already accrued more than 200,000 views, and Sparke is hoping that means people are enjoying what they see.
“We’ve already had a great reaction to the teaser, and it’s getting good numbers for an Australian release, so that’s exciting,” he said. “We’ve tried to go for another angle for the movie, so for people to be commenting and saying they’re excited to see it is giving us a lot of confidence.”
“There’s not been a blockbuster style movie from Australia since Mad Max and The Man from Snowy River years ago, so we wanted to break the mould a bit and head down another exciting path.”
Zac Garred, who is currently living in Los Angeles, has been eager to promote the film since they wrapped filming, and is looking forward to showing off an “action romp deeply rooted in Australian culture, and Aussies fighting back”.
“It was just so fun to come back to Australia and muck around in the jungle with a bunch of Aussies and a handful of New Zealand stars,” Garred said. “On one of our first days of shooting we were asking how wide a shot was going to be and all we got was ‘wide as f**k mate’ and we just knew it was going to be a good time.
“I think Occupation is really exciting as well, it’s like a breath of fresh air for movies coming out of Australia and it was so fun to be involved in this movie alongside Luke. Felt even closer to home doing it all alongside another boy from the Hunter.”
Occupation took just over six weeks to film between May and June last year, and was primarily shot in northern NSW.
The Murwillumbah Showgrounds were used as a key location in the alien invasion, and a large factory close by doubled as a hide-out for the main characters.
Locations on the Gold Coast hinterland were also used for exterior shots, and sets were built at the Sparkefilms Studio on the Gold Coast.
Although the film’s central town isn’t named in the script, Sparke chuckled at the suggestion his formative years in Newcastle and Maitland may have rubbed off, and the nameless location could be a version of the Hunter Valley.
“That’s what we were going for with the nameless aspect, we wanted people to look at this place and pretend it’s their town or city,” the writer-director said.
“I write with what I know, so there’s definitely a part of the Hunter and Maitland in there. I love the area and I have a lot of memories from there, so it’s played a part for sure.”
Sparke confirmed a full trailer for Occupation would be released in the near future, as well as other marketing promotions and some “special events”.
“We’ll see what’s coming in the future,” he said. “We’re doing some special stuff to promote the movie, and with me and Zac [Garred] on board we’re going to include Newcastle in anything happening with Sydney.”
The official release date of the film has not yet been announced.