Ardent moviegoers, a film is an experience that overtakes the senses and transports one to another world. Settings play a very important role. In that transformative space, the setting becomes a character, breathing and pregnant with a life of its own. Tasmania has come to be associated with such a setting, becoming a chosen destination for many film makers. It eerie, gloomy air and dense wilderness, make for the perfect atmospheric façade for horror and thrillers, case in point, television series including The Kettering Incident and the upcoming The Gloaming and films such as Van Diemen’s Land, The Hunter and The Nightingale. This has given rise to a new genre, the Tassie Noir.
The growing popularity of Tasmania as a filming spot has only seen a rise in the last few years, even adding to its attraction as a tourist spot for fans, who instead of being scarred away are finding their way in. Films shot in Tasmania have gained an altogether distinct flavor unlike any and are easily recognizable, rendering a character to this backdrop.
The Kettering Incident, aired in 2016, was the first to put spotlight on Tasmania. The Mercury newspaper’s entertainment writer, Tim Martain, said the series’ creator Victoria Madden kickstarted the gloomy Tasmanian drama trend. “She has really tapped into that sense of Tassie being somehow dark and threatening in a certain way, and it’s … very gothic in the traditional sense of humanity versus nature, where the environment is this looming, terrifying thing,” Martain said.
Filmmakers, though are in awe of its lush beauty, their artistic eye has captured the lingering innate sadness it expresses. Writer and director of The Nightingale, Jennifer Kent, said she had always felt a connection with the island state. “The Tasmanian landscape is a character in the film. The landscape is so beautiful but the history is so tragic, especially in this period, so the landscape is the framework for this story to play out”.