ON LOCATION: Sue Harris and father-in-law Harold Harris hosting a film shoot on their Bulga property. Picture by LOUISE NICHOLSThe beautiful Hillsdale Orchard at Bulga was chosen as the setting of a new Australian feature film Love is Now.
With the Wollemi National Park as the backdrop, the 4000-tree orange orchard owned by the Harris family could well be Australia’s most-photographed.
The 700-acre property has been in Vogue, Hunter Lifestyle and now this film, which is expected to be released in December.
With nearly 100 people involved in the production of Love is Now, the Bulga district orchard was a hive of activity that included some pretty famous fruit pickers.
The film stars Eamon Farren, best known for his role as Dave in the film Red Dog, and Claire van der Boom, aLogie-winning actress who starred in the remake of Hawaii Five-O.
They were joined by veteran Australian actor Chris Hayward and McLeod’s Daughters’ Dustin Clare.
A coming-of-age film about an itinerant worker, Love Is Now is written by director Jim Lounsbury and produced by his business partner Behren Schulz.
Their company Eponine Film is based in Sydney and the Hunter Valley, with funding for the film coming from local investors.
Mr Schulz, originally from Maitland and a trained mining engineer, spent a good deal of time in the Broke district as it was home to one of his good friends.
“I knew the district pretty well and we thought it would be an ideal place to make the film, we just needed to find the right property,” he said.
Once they saw Hillsdale they knew it would make the ideal location forthe film, in particular the property’sold homestead.
It was selected by the director for the film due to its scenery, its homestead and orchard and the fact it had lots of character.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: The film shoot of Love Is Now at Bulga. Picture by LOUISE NICHOLS
The crew spent 10 days in the Hunter Valley in July, mostly at Hillsdale but also at Tocal Homestead near Paterson where the final end-of-harvest party scene will be shot.
During the filming at Hillsdale, one of the Harris family’s old cattle dogs enjoyed all the commotion, but the highlight for the canine was wandering around the catering van to pick up a few scraps.
Sue Harris said the family had been on the 700-acre property for three generations.
“Last year we had a 16-page fashion shoot for Vogue Australia in the orchard,” she said.
According to her father-in-law, Harold Harris, watching models wearing $5000 dresses and $1200 shoes picking fruit was a real eye opener.
“They looked pretty fancy up a ladder picking fruit in those outfits,” he said with a chuckle.
The family sell much of their fruit at the Newcastle Farmers Markets, where people see the name Bulga and ask how the mine is going, Sue said.
Fruit pickers are only used during the Valencia season when the fruit is sent for juicing, otherwise the fruit is picked and packaged for the fresh market by members of the Harris family.
With excellent underground water the trees thrive on the Milbrodale Creek flats, on land protected from the strong westerly winds that sweep through most of the Hunter.
In addition to the oranges the Harris family runs a steer-fattening operation on the farm at Bulga and also on their Carrabolla district property.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.