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Oddball

Oddball earns local government award

News Article Date: 
Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Oddball-mania that has swept through the city and attracted new visitors to the area has earned Warrnambool City Council a major award.

Council’s efforts surrounding the production, promotion and launch of the film Oddball has scored the city a coveted 2016 LGPro Award for Excellence in the Special Projects Initiative category.

Warrnambool City Council Manager Tourism Services Peter Abbott accepted the award in Melbourne and said that capitalising on the popularity of Oddball had significantly boosted the region’s tourism profile.

“Council seized the opportunity to ensure Warrnambool was central to the story told in the movie,” he said.

“Although Oddball is based on a true Warrnambool story, it could have been adapted to be filmed anywhere.

“While the movie would have proceeded without Council involvement, we identified potential synergies in assisting with the production of the movie and in turn benefitted from Warrnambool featuring heavily in the promotion and story.”

Initiatives such as the Oddball Bed Bank where accommodation providers donated beds to film production crew helped extend their stay in the city and include more real Warrnambool locations in the film.

Many locals were used as extras in the film, while the goodwill and interest Oddball generated in the real Middle Island Maremma Project led to more than $20,000 being raised to fund the purchase and training of two new maremma guardian dogs.

An immediate impact was recorded in tourism activity through the September school holidays. Tourism operators reported excellent figures with people seeing the movie then travelling to Warrnambool.

Visitation to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, where the maremmas are housed when not on Middle Island, increased 48 per cent from the 2014 spring school holidays.

“I’ve spoken to people who have come to Warrnambool specifically to see Middle Island and meet the real life maremmas, people who wouldn’t have come to the city otherwise,” Mr Abbott said.

“The reach of Oddball and as a result, Warrnambool, has been simply outstanding.

“Warrnambool will always be the “home of Oddball” and we are confident this will be an enduring legacy of our willingness to participate in and help facilitate the production of the movie.”

Oddball producer Richard Keddie said it was “an absolutely unique collaboration between Council, the community and the film.”

“I’m really grateful to (Council CEO) Bruce Anson and Peter Abbott for their great support and trust,” he said.

“Warrnambool is easily the best town I’ve ever filmed in. Even the weather was great.

“Over one million people have seen the film now and more are seeing it all the time.”

For more information about the Middle Island Maremma Project, visit www.warrnamboolpenguins.com.au.

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