Doco to tell the tale of a prince & his principality

Francesca MannMidwest Times
Andy Supanz, Nick Atkins and Ned McNeilage with a giant bust of Prince Leonard Casley. The trio have made a documentary about the Principality of Hutt River and its patriarch.
Camera IconAndy Supanz, Nick Atkins and Ned McNeilage with a giant bust of Prince Leonard Casley. The trio have made a documentary about the Principality of Hutt River and its patriarch. Credit: Francesca Mann

A film will immortalise the late Prince Leonard Casley in a documentary about his “extraordinary life”.

Former Perth resident Ned McNeilage and a two-man film crew from Queensland have been working on the documentary for 21/2 years, travelling to the Principality of Hutt River 12 times to capture the final chapter in Prince Leonard’s story.

The life of the self-proclaimed prince, who seceded from Australia and formed the micro-nation west of Northampton in 1970, was celebrated by family, friends and supporters on Sunday.

The memorial service also marked the final day of filming for Mr McNeilage, Nick Atkins and Andy Supanz.

Mr McNeilage, who is based in Los Angeles, said it was a bittersweet moment.

“I’m so used to seeing Prince Leonard in his chair; it feels quiet here without him,” he said.

“I feel sad that he’s gone but I also feel privileged to have captured a lot of him.

“He’s inspired and touched lots of lives in different ways and he resonates with a lot of people as the farmer that took a stand.

“We’ll look at finishing (the film) now and ... I hope we have a film worthy of the old man.”

Mr McNeilage has lived in the United States for 15 years, primarily working in advertising for big-name brands.

The self-funded film about Prince Leonard — a “passion project” for Mr McNeilage — will be the third documentary the director has released.

Mr McNeilage first came across the remarkable story of Prince Leonard in an article in the British newspaper The Guardian.

“When you live overseas you see things that are taken for granted in your own backyard that are really quite extraordinary,” Mr McNeilage said.

“Everyone here (in Western Australia) knows the story, but this could only happen in one place.”

Although Mr McNeilage isn’t sure where the finished documentary will have its big screen debut, his other films have screened at film festivals and on television in the United States.

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