Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland

Shot in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland Dark Waters is a neo noir visceral film where character and location rule. In just 10 minutes, Dark Waters explores how far someone will go to save himself. 

Dark Waters is supported by the Screen NSW/ABC Television Regional Film Initiative: SEED. Watch the film here.

We spoke with the film’s writer, producer and star, Joseph JU Taylor, to find out what attracted him to the Hunter region to shoot Dark Waters

Why did you decide to shoot in the Hunter region?

Our short crime thriller Dark Waters was written for the Hunter – I have known the region all my life as many of my family have been here for generations. The breadth of natural beauty coupled with heavy industry and the ease of access to city locations was the perfect fit for the story we wanted to tell. I never imagined shooting Dark Waters anywhere else.

What locations did you work with, and why?

We used a range of locations that were specifically chosen for the story we wanted to tell. Under Stockton Bridge was the setting for the crime scene – it wasn’t our first choice but in the end the aerial views and the marshy, tidal flats provided strong imagery. Our romantic scene was shot early morning on one of Wangi Wangi’s beautiful public jetties and was a great contrast to the other, harsher environments and story elements. Much of the action took place in Maitland Gaol – again, it was the perfect place to isolate our main character. In addition we shot an arrest scene in Wangi Pub – the strength of this site was the incredible warmth of both the owners and the patrons who appear in the scene. Finally, we shot some nighttime exteriors on Newcastle foreshore – the red port navigation lights provided a terrific foreshadowing of events.

What did you love about working in the Hunter region?

The incredible support and enthusiasm of the people. We were assisted above and beyond our expectations. In addition Newcastle and the surrounding areas are so accessible compared to Sydney. Moreover, the local media really got behind the project and made sure people knew about it.

How did you find working with Screen Hunter?

Screen Hunter were an excellent support and resource, the team at Screen Hunter made the whole process so much easier than it might have been. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The Hunter Region and its people are an incredible and overlooked story resource for filmmakers and I would encourage more producers to visit the region and see just how much it has to offer. We would love to shoot a much bigger story in the region.