Filming begins in Tassie

Greetings from Tassie. 

I flew into sunny Hobart on the 24th of January around noon and went straight to the beach to cool off - it was actually pretty hot. After grabbing something to eat at the Salamanca markets and organising a hostel I began to get ready for the following day.

I left Hobart at first light and headed for the north-west where I would attempt to film wild devils. Along the way I collected footage of the some incredible landscapes. My destination wasn’t too far from Wynyard and I was happy to arrive after a long drive. I’d collected a road kill wallaby which I would use as bait for the devils. Setting up took four hours as I dragged the carcass all over to leave scent markings back to its resting point about 15 meters from my hide. My filming location was exactly what I’d needed, a piece of pristine forest on farm fringe. From everyone I had spoken to these were the qualities of prime devil habitat. Not to mention I was in the north-west, an area where the facial tumour disease had not yet reached.

Testing out the hide

This sequence will play a key part in the film and only wild devils would do. I'd just finished watching an excellent documentary that was filmed about Werner Herzog's film Fitzcarraldo. An American film crew followed him as he made his fictional film about a rubber barron in the Amazon who needed to pull an enormous cruise ship over a mountain. That's more or less the crux and Fitzcarraldo is an excellent film for anyone curious about Werner Herzog. Anyway, during the making of the Fitzcarraldo, Herzog had a cast including Mick Jagger, Klaus Kinski among others, and he insisted on travelling 1000 miles into the depths of the Amazon to film despite the jungle near a major settlement looking almost exactly the same. Filming close by would allow access to airports, food, hotels, hospital, etc. Despite the best advice from funders and government officials, Herzog insisted the film must be filmed as remote as possible because it would bring out qualities in the actors and a feeling in the film that could not be achieved if creature comforts were available. Anyway, although being in the north-west of Tassie is not the same as being 1000 miles inside the Amazon the idea is the same. Filming captive devils and then retreating to my hostel at night would not suffice. I wanted to spend time setting up, being filthy, reeking of dead wallaby, barely sleeping and still not knowing if I would get the shot. This is my escape from the city, from structure and comfort and I love it!

I spent from 7pm to 3:30am alert and ready to shoot and the wait was filled with so much excitement and anticipation. To be sitting in the Tasmanian bush waiting to lure devils out of the scrub and in front of the lens was such a romantic and long-held dream of mine. Did it come true? You’ll have to find out.

The Central Plateau is one incredible area

I’m back in Hobart today and I spent last night in Mt. Field National Park. I arrived quite late but managed to capture quite a lot of footage along the way. I’m hoping to start meeting up with experts from today to film some interviews. Looking forward to updating again towards the end of trip next Wednesday. Plenty more to do in the meantime. Thanks again for your kind donations which have made this trip possible.