Belle Fitzgerald and Millie Caamano shoot a scene for Phoenix Rising at Elephant Rock, Currumbin.
Belle Fitzgerald and Millie Caamano shoot a scene for Phoenix Rising at Elephant Rock, Currumbin. Blainey Woodham

Movie-making magic on Coast

BRUTAL murders by a cunning online predator have been taking place on the Gold Coast, all in the name of movie-making magic.  

The murder scenes were staged as part of the shoot for the new feature-length thriller Phoenix Rising, with the film following the journey of a young mother who struggles to go on living after the tragic murder of her teenage daughter by a stalker.  

For Gold Coast actress and the writer/producer of Phoenix Rising, Belle Fitzgerald, working on the project had been a particularly cathartic experience.  

Ms Fitzgerald was the victim of a cyber-stalking incident three years ago while working as a nurse at a Gold Coast hospital.  

The nurse-turned-actress believed she was sending pictures to a casting agency and later discovered a person had created a fake internet identity in order to trick her into sending him the images.  

Ms Fitzgerald said she had drawn upon many previous experiences from her time as a children's nurse and other people's experiences when it came to creating the script and sliding into the shoes of the film's tragic main character.  

"After having my own experiences with stalkers I was in a dark place and I drew on that, but it is a fictional story and there are many elements to it," Ms Fitzgerald said.  

"It's my first feature film and I knew what I wanted the filming process to feel like.

"I wanted it to feel like a family and that's exactly what it has been."  

The movie is being produced by Vertical Realm Productions, a production company owned and operated by Ms Fitzgerald and her husband Shannon.  

The charity-minded duo is not only set on achieving cinematic success, but is ensuring that other cyber-stalking victims are given support.  

"In accordance with Vertical Realm's mission statement a portion of profits will be donated to The Carly Ryan Foundation to support and encourage their continued education of children about cyber safety, and ACT for Kids for their continued work supporting and rehabilitating children from abusive situations," Ms Fitzgerald said.  

Filming began in August and the movie is set for release next year.   

"We are looking to screen in cinemas across Australia and then enter it into international film festivals as a step towards gaining international distribution," Ms Fitzgerald said.

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