Location, Location: Thirteen Lives wraps shooting on the Gold Coast

Ron Howard’s feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’, based on the Thai caves rescue, was the latest in a string of international projects to shoot on the Gold Coast.

In 2018, Thai families, the government, and a community of farmers and neighbours came together alongside volunteers from around the world in the rescue of 12 young boys and their soccer coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in Thailand. The harrowing 18-day ordeal made headlines around the world. ‘Thirteen Lives’ chronicles their story.

The production set up a handful of locations throughout the region, with the lush sub-tropical surrounds of Mudgeeraba, Numinbah Valley, Canungra and other locations across on the Gold Coast set to feature heavily in the film.

‘Thirteen Lives’ Supervising Location Manager Nick Smith is a proud Gold Coast resident who has worked on ‘The Starter Wife’, ‘Mortified’ and ‘Scooby Doo’, just to name a few. We caught up with Nick and asked him what kind of things have to be taken into consideration when scouting for locations, visual aspects aside.

“Safe and easy access is important. Able to get cast, crew and extras into a location easily and safely, with close parking for film trucks and cars,” he explains.

“Affordability is also important. Productions of all sizes have a location budget they, like any business budgets, need to adhere to. Finally, we need the Location owner to say yes! It is also good if the neighbours and community supports filming.”

Fortunately, the Gold Coast takes great pride in its reputation for world-class filming locations, crew and support, something Nick is incredibly proud of.

“A diverse range of locations, as well as local government and resident support, makes the Gold Coast a wonderful place for film makers,” he tells us.

“The Gold Coast offers cityscapes, beaches, rainforests, bush, jungle, farming, creeks, waterfalls, sugarcane, restaurants, shopping centres and a diverse architectural range of housing and commercial buildings.

“We also receive tremendous assistance from the Mayor, local Councillors, the City of Gold Coast and residents. The industry is so grateful to be able to replicate many parts of the world in this beautiful part of the world.”

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