Hands up who’s heard of the Yowie? For most Australians under 35; a bulbous bug-eyed chocolate-koala-thing might spring to mind. But in Aboriginal folklore, the Yowie or ‘Jingra’ is a terrifying, yeti-esque brute of the bush, roaming its vast, harsh abode amidst the seemingly infinite stretches of soil & scrub…
Rest assured horror fans! You’ll be comforted to know it was the latter filmmaker Dane Millerd sank his teeth into with ‘There’s Something In The Pilliga’.
Check out his rough ‘n’ ready, creep-tastic trailer:
Millerd’s debut feature follows a footloose & fancy free foursome who become stranded in the Pilliga forest and pursued by the menacing Yowie.
Though a near completely unexplored mythos in the realm of features (save Travis Bain’s ‘Throwback’, which is stylistically polar opposite to the POV found-footage nature of ‘Pilliga’), Millerd drew from real-life testimonials & eyewitness accounts from visitors of the Pilliga forest in Western NSW, which proved to be a well of untapped horror gold when it came to material for the screenplay.
The film was shot sub $100,000 on the Canon 5D with principal photpgraphy wrapped up in under 2 weeks, thanks to a solid crew of 33. Aesthetic-wise, Pilliga gives a gigantic dip-o-the-lid to 80’s ozlpoiotation flicks in the vain of ‘Mad Max 2’ & ‘Razorback’ – from the ocker dialogue & dust caked locale to the very title of a Slim Dusty song.
Millerd exhibits an inclusive approach to directing, declaring that it’s as much his freaky baby as it is for the crew. ‘It’s as close to birth as a male will ever come, that’s how good it feels, frightening but exciting’.
Hear more about Dane & gang’s fun in the forest in part 2 of his interview with Any Camera Will Do:
Millerd’s journalism background made him aware that ‘you want to create something that gets people talking, or has a controversial nature’, & it did just that for the film’s premiere at the renowned independent ‘Monster Fest’ film festival in 2014.
Since hitting the festival circuit, ‘There’s Something In The Pilliga’ has garnered a worldwide DVD, online & theatrical release with US distributor Black Wolf Media, and with Monster Pictures spearheading the Australia & New Zealand release.
Undoubtedly, a howling success.