‘My Pet Dinosaur’, a family movie filmed in Lithgow and its surrounds during early 2016, will be released in Australian cinemas on Saturday, April 22.
Blue Mountains-based director, Matt Drummond, said Lithgow was more than perfect to set his adventurous film about a boy and his friendship with a dinosaur, despite it being set in current-day North America.
“I chose Lithgow because going down the main street is like being in a town in America’s midwest.
“I love Lithgow, it’s very cinematic. When I got to Lithgow it’s like stepping into a movie.”
Mr Drummond said Lithgow had always reminded him of the towns in the movies of his childhood.
“It’s like being on the set of ET. I wanted to capture the childhood wonder of those earlier Spielberg films.
“Also Lithgow gave us a diversity of industrial sites we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. And it’s 40 minutes away from my home.”
Indeed, a glimpse of the film’s trailer is like a tour through Lithgow’s industrial past. The State Mine Museum, Lithgow Small Arms Factory and the Blast Furnace all feature.
Scenery from Rydal, Portland and Lithgow’s residential streets is also abundant.
A film capturing the wonder of a child and his bigger-than-average pet certainly fascinated the township of Lithgow when it was being shot in early 2016.
Alarmed residents rang the Lithgow Mercury distressed to find American police cars blocking Roy Street, only to find the ‘police’ dressed in khaki and aviators were in fact actors.
“The people of Lithgow were just so great. They weren’t jaded by the street closures and they seem to be quite interested in what was happening,” Mr Drummond said.
He thanked the Thompson family who welcomed film crew into their home on Ordnance Avenue for three weeks.
“I think we represented their house nicely, I hope they like it,” Mr Drummond said.
Mr Drummond, who grew up and currently resides in Leura, became known as ‘that dinosaur guy’ after spending several years working at the ABC as an animator on their science documentaries.
“I think dinosaurs are still so present in today’s zeitgeist because we are constantly redefining what we know about them. There is always new research coming out about these huge creatures,” he said.
“The main theme of the film is change, partly because the dinosaur is growing so fast, but also because of the central character’s relationship with his friends and family and the town. The town becomes better because of what happens.”
‘My Pet Dinosaur’ is Mr Drummond’s second feature film. He directed, animated, scripted and produced the film with his partner Meg Williams.
He said the film has enjoyed popularity with Australian and New Zealand distributors and is currently being considered by studios in the US.
“Hoyts signed on before it was filmed but in the past three weeks everyone jumped on board,” Mr Drummond said.
“We are putting Lithgow on the map.”
- ‘My Pet Dinosaur’ will be released on Saturday, April 22. A special screening at The Edge in Katoomba on Saturday at 2.15pm will conclude with a Q&A with Matt Drummond.