A town on hold
By UTE SCHULENBERG
BELLINGEN remains a town on hold, three days after the shock announcement that the multi-million-dollar production of Eucalyptus, due to start shooting yesterday, was postponed indefi- nitely.
Last Friday the film crew and Bellingen locals were absorbing the news of the postponement which put 90 people out of work and left businesses and homeowners who had offered their homes as accommodation for the production, in limbo.
Fifteen families had moved out of their homes for the 10 weeks of the shoot.
Many had gone into debt, making improvements to their homes in order to accommodate the film crew, believing the finances would soon be there to pay for them.
Yesterday the 'Home Owners of Bellingen Affected By Eucalyptus' (HOOBABE) were waiting to hear from Gum Leaf Productions regarding financial compensation for the cancellation.
A spokesperson for HOOBABE said the production company did not have any answer yet, although there had been talk of compensation at the time of the cancellation.
Publicist, Wendy Day, said she had no further information about the production. "When something as enormous as this happens, it is a bit of a shock," Ms Day said.
"It was not a preconceived decision and now things all have to be worked through."
So will the production return to Bellingen?
Marketing manager for Twentieth Century Fox, John Scott, said Russell Crowe had made it clear he would be seeing the project through, although it was difficult to make any comment about the timing.
"First the script draft must be right, then everyone's availability must be determined," Mr Scott said.
"At this stage we have no timeline for the project."
But not everyone is unhappy about the movie leaving town.
One long-time resident said she had not been looking forward to tourists coming to town wanting to see where the film had been shot.
"The Promised Land is already under pressure from tourists in the summer," she said.
"Reserves out there have no toilets and the council has no integrated tourism plan.
"There is no tourism officer in council ? different people incorporate tourism into their workloads."
The tourism wave may, however, already have begun.
Tourism Bellinger representative, John Dunn, said the Bellingen Visitor Information Centre had already had people asking for directions to the film site.