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He may be a former Home and Away hunk, but the line from Conrad Colby did not seem at all rehearsed.

As he sat in the Noosa Springs resort car lot waiting to shoot the next scene of the first feature film to be written, produced and shot on the Sunshine Coast, the star of the psychological thriller was genuinely excited.

"I think it's and incredible achievement that Tam Sainsbury and Gareth Lee have been able to get a full-length feature off the ground in an area that is completely unchartered for film-making," Conrad said in the dazzling sunshine.

"It's quite incredible here really – you have a plethora of great locations to shoot, and great weather.

"It's got at least as much as the Gold Coast area to offer – they should definitely build a studio here. "

It has been tried at Coolum, but Saltwater Studios could not get off the ground.

Enter stage left Myrtletown Films with a red-hot script about fire ants and the promise of long-life, if a scientific research team can crack the chemical code.

Tam, the director, and Gareth, director of photographer, needed a serious backer.

That turned out to be Coast diet book guru Annette Sym, who helped to fund their budget that comes in at almost $500,000.

Annette, the film's executive producer, said she read the script and was hooked.

Filming started on the Coast last week using her Maroochydore warehouse as a makeshift studio.

"What I'm doing is getting out of my own box, by backing some incredible local talent... it's about helping people realise their dreams," she said.

Locations include Buderim Forest Park and some hinterland hideaways, just right for an outwardly philanthropic head scientist with a marvellously malevolent side, played by celebrated Aussie actor Peter Sumner.

Peter and Conrad are joined by a cast of up-and-comers like Lara Cox and Greg Hatton along with household name Rowena Wallace.

And sponsors like Noosa Springs and even the Porsche motor company are backing the film to the hilt.

Conrad said filming, scheduled for the rest of the month, was being shot with the latest technology.

And that should help Annette look her best, when she does her cameo walk-on role in Alfred Hitchcock tradition.

I got wind of this as Esther mentioned in her note that Conrad was up in Queensland filming for something to be on screen next year :)

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I heard about this too. It's called Mind Fire, going on this article (not about Conrad directly, but he gets mentioned):

Actor in one film and has another on his mind

Sunshine Coast Daily.

IT is only 3pm, but already Peter Sumner is thinking about the night of filming that lies ahead.

Sumner is about to meet his brother, Daily travel writer David Potts, before rushing off to the hair and make-up room, where the lively actor will be transformed into a mad scientist for the night shoot.

The actor thinks there will be a repeat of last night's shoot for the Australian film Mind Fire, with the cast wrapping up their bush antics at the early time of 3am.

I'm surprised at the way Sumner candidly talks about his stay in Noosa and an incident with his co-star, Conrad Coleby, that played out the night before.

“There was a group of high school students and there must have been some sort of do, because the girls were all in formal dresses,” he said.

“They spotted Conrad and I thought there was going to be a riot.

I stifle a truthful, yet not very poised, comment that I, too, would have joined the anticipated stampede had I been there to see the former Home and Away hunk roaming the hallways.

Sumner then starts listing off his professional career with Australian films, television and theatre - a career which has spanned an impressive four decades.

It is clearly Sumner's latest project - a film he has written over 12 years - that has him most excited.

As we speak, he is awaiting confirmation that sultry actress Catherine Zeta-Jones will take up the role of Lola Montez and bring the long-awaited film to life.

“I've never thought of anyone else,” he said with conviction.

“I've been working on this for 12 years and I had thrown it in the drawer and given it up.

“A young producer picked it up and rang me 24 hours later and now it's ready to shoot in Munich.

“We're just waiting on Catherine.”

Sumner described the feature film as an untold part of 19th century courtesan Lola Montez's story.

“The Times called her the most notorious woman in the world,” he said.

“She spent 10 to 15 years as the mistress to rich and powerful men, but one part of the story that never gets told is her time in Australia.”

With that in mind, Sumner dedicated years to writing a screenplay about Montez's escapades during a visit to the country in 1855. He has to pinch himself that renowned actors including John Malkovich, Hugh Dancy, Michelle Williams and, if all goes to plan, Zeta-Jones, will bring his script to life.

“I still can't believe it, how it's all come together,” he said.

“I've given myself a role in the film, too.”

Sumner will be wrap up filming for Mind Fire on the Sunshine Coast at the end of this month.


I think if I'd spotted Conrad (:wub:), It probably would have led to a riot of some sort too. :P Lucky Esther. Anyway, good to see Conrad's working hard. :D

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The filming of Myrtletown Film's feature film 'Mind Fire' wrapped on the 1st of September after almost four weeks of incredibly longdays and nights for the cast and crew of 50. 'Mind Fire' was shot on the REDOne Digital Cinema Camera and is the first professional feature film to be written, produced and shot on the Sunshine Coast. The cast were flown in from Sydney and Los Angeles and were led by well known actor Conrad Coleby (most recently known as Roman on Home and Away). Conrad left the set of 'Mind Fire' to head straight up north to commence filming a lead role in the next series of Channel Nine's 'Sea Patrol'. The lead female was played by Lara Cox (Heartbreak High, All Saints) and Lara headed straight off to London for two weeks of publicity appearances for the feature film 'The Dinner Party'. We were honoured to have two highly experienced veteran actors amongst the cast; Peter Sumner (Star Wars, Country Practice, Neighbours, All Saints, Dynasty) and Gold Logie winner Rowena Wallace ('Pat the Rat' from Sons and Daughters). Other cast members included Jeff Gannon (Malibu Shark), Greg Hatton (The Square, Home and Away) and Kym Jackson (Criminal Minds, Scooby Doo) who headed straight back to Los Angeles after 'Mind Fire' to play a role in 'Silver Cord' the latest Val Kilmer film.

The producers and director of 'Mind Fire' are absolutely overwhelmed by the quality of work that was produced in those four weeks. Postproduction has now commenced and by all indications we have an incredible film on our hands. We would like to thank everybody involved during shooting, we had an amazing team and each and every person made it possible. Thank you so much to our main sponsors (Noosa Springs, The Natural Food Store Forest Glen, Porsche Centre Brisbane, Govindas, The Lime Grill, Mystic Mountain Tours and Anaconda) and our wonderful Executive Producers Annette Sym and Yumiko Yonemitsu.

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Feature a film to fire up the mind

Mark Bode | 21st November 2009

Producers Andrew Dudek, Gareth Lee, Dylan Schenkeveld and Tam Sainsbury during a screening of Mind Fire’s rough cut at Sunshine Plaza cinemas.

John MccutcheonSUNSHINE Coast-based movie director Tam Sainsbury is in the middle of putting the finishing touches to her debut feature-length film and she is feeling “amazing”.

“It’s a truly amazing experience – very challenging, very stressful, very exhausting but worth every single second,” Ms Sainsbury said from her Alexandra Headland studio.

Shot on a shoestring budget on the Coast over four frenetic weeks, the psychological thriller Mind Fire is billed as the first professional full-length feature film to be written, produced and filmed in the region.

The all-Australian crew and cast worked exhausting 15-hour days, but Ms Sainsbury said it was worth it.

The film’s investors, who pumped $500,000 into the project, received their first glimpse of the movie at a rough-cut screening on the Coast last Saturday.

Ms Sainsbury said they liked what they saw.

“I’m so excited,” she said.

“We have an awesome film on our hands.

“Every day I sit down in the editing suite and I’m blown away by the actors’ performances, and I just can’t wait to get it out there.”

Ms Sainsbury is eyeing a release date for the film of about March-April next year, although she is yet to land a distributor.

“There’s been some murmurs from some big ones,” she said.

“The best thing to do is get the rough cut completed and then show them – we’ll be in a stronger negotiating position then.”

Ms Sainsbury has established her base on the Coast after living in England for 12 years, where she filmed a number of short films.

Her business partner at Myrtletown Films is Coast-raised Gareth Lee, with whom she co-produced and co-wrote Mind Fire.

Mr Lee is also the film’s director of photography.

The movie stars Conrad Coleby, who played Roman in the Australian soapie Home and Away and is believed to have a lead role in the next series of Sea Patrol, and Lara Cox (Heartbreak High, All Saints).

The film centres on a group of medical research scientists who travel to the bush with a renowned professor to study a crossbreed of ants.

A group member dies on the first night, and Ms Sainsbury said that was when things got really interesting.

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Home Grown Food for a Home Grown Film

Home Grown Tucker Dished Out on a Home Grown Film

Mind Fire – the thriller

“Fire Ants appear to have a rare gene that holds the key to human longevity although things come to climax when a terrifying secret is uncovered … it seems that this may not be about predators but something based on the vaccination given by the mind altering abilities of a genius scientist.”

And … ACTION! Gareth Lee, Director of Mind Fire calls across the green. Everyone quietens to the command, the camera rolls & another 30 seconds of film is created.

Myrtletown Films are a young exciting film company & are heating up for the very first full length feature ever filmed & produced here on The Sunshine Coast. And the camera is rolling!

The cast is led by well known actor Conrad Coleby, most recently known as Roman from Home and Away. The lead female is Lara Cox of Heartbreak High and Home and Away. Myrtletown Films is honoured to have two highly experienced veteran actors; Peter Sumner from Star Wars, Country Practice, Neighbours, All Saints & Dynasty playing a leading role as the Professor and Gold Logie winner Rowena Wallace: 'Pat the Rat' from Sons and Daughters. Other cast members include Kym Jackson of Criminal Minds and Scooby Doo and Jeff Gannon from Malibu Shark.

The Natural Foodstore is as local as you’ll get so we have great pleasure in feeding the crew during filming! This is enormously exciting for us but I hear that it is actually a lot more exciting for the film crew as the food has been sensational.

We love the fact that they are eating fabulous organic foods, vegetarian options & local fresh produce.

Mind Fire will be out in cinemas through December so look out for an internationally accredited local thriller.

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