Rams film tourism guide to promote the region while Mt Barker reaches international audiences

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Les (Michael Caton) and Colin (Sam Neill) herd sheep with Kip the dog.
Camera IconLes (Michael Caton) and Colin (Sam Neill) herd sheep with Kip the dog. Credit: Ian Brodie Photo/Ian Brodie Photo

The settings in the film Rams that captured imaginations around the world have been collated into a tourist guide to attract people to Mt Barker.

The feature film stars Sam Neill and Michael Caton as estranged brothers who own adjoining sheep farms and must work together to combat a rare disease that threatens their livestock.

It was shot in and around the town of Mt Barker in 2018 and topped the box office in Australia when it was released in 2020.

It went on to screen in New Zealand, the US, Canada and throughout Europe attracting positive reviews and making millions of dollars.

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Now, the Rams tourist guide highlights some of the filming locations, giving tourists another reason to explore the Great Southern.

The guide describes locations in Mt Barker, Porongurup, Stirling Range, Kojonup and Gull Rock Beach — even the Plantagenet Hotel gets a mention.

It gives an insight into the filming of Rams, with behind-the-scenes photos and a brief history of Mt Barker.

Photographer Ian Brodie, who created the Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook, was commissioned by production company Screenwest to create the guide, in consultation with the Great Southern Development Commission.

Rams director Jeremy Sims briefs the cast.
Camera IconRams director Jeremy Sims briefs the cast. Credit: Ian Brodie Photo

Mr Brodie spent time with cast and crew during filming, working as an on-set photographer and laying the groundwork for the guide.

“I knew what I had to cover off, which was the views of the Porongurups and the key locations in town which I had to include,” he said.

“Then there were other places, like the Porongurup Shop and Tearooms — I just arrived there and they looked after me with good service and a good place to visit, so I have to put it in there.

“Those places should be proud of where they are and what they offer.”

Mr Brodie said with Mt Barker relatively close to Perth and with a lot to offer, he hoped the guide would put the region on people’s radars.

“WA is a big State and Mt Barker and that region is a little pocket of a whole lot of geographical features in one place,” he said.

“Combine that with friendly locals and good places to visit and it’s wonderful.

“Rams will be shown around the world and film tourism is such an important part of tourism.

“People see these places and say they want to go there, so you put a name to the place and say you can go there and this is what you can do when you get there.”

Filming in the Porongurup Range.
Camera IconFilming in the Porongurup Range. Credit: Ian Brodie Photo

He said it was now up to the local tourism industry to promote and use the guide as a tool.

GSDC chief executive Natasha Monks said feature films such as Rams had the potential to give tourism a shot in the arm.

“National and international promotion is a big benefit of the location guide,” she said.

“It may raise awareness of the Great Southern among other filmmakers and spark interest for future productions.

“Providing a location and production guide is also a great way to give back to the community.

“Film location guides organised by Screenwest give back by promoting our regional profile nationally and internationally but they are also an important statement of respect and gratitude to the community in which the film was made.”

She urged locals to check out the guide and follow up some of the locations themselves.

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