A gruelling 120km wheelbarrow race dreamt up as a wager between two mine workers at a Pilbara pub in the 1960s is the inspiration for the latest Pilbara-based feature film, with the search now on for a WA child to play the lead role. The film, Red Rock Run, is set to start production in Karratha in mid-April 2024 and tells the inspiring story of a young girl with dyslexia who embarks on a journey to win her father’s love by participating in a gruelling outback marathon. It draws inspiration from the historic Pilbara wheelbarrow race, the Black Rock Stakes, which started in 1971 and saw teams of 12 competing in a relay-style wheelbarrow race in which 11kg of iron ore would be lugged 120km from Goldsworthy to Finucane Island in Port Hedland. In its latter years, the race was run from Whim Creek to Port Hedland. The event was a significant fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and St John Ambulance, estimated to have raised more than $1 million during its 37 iterations. So far, 550 children have tested for roles in the movie, but the most coveted gig is yet to be cast — playing 10-year-old Lucy — a young girl with dyslexia who dreams of winning her father’s love by winning an ultra-marathon in the outback. This heart-warming family film, set in the late 1970s, is the debut feature for WA writer Meg Shields, who will bring it to the screen with the help of producer Miriam Stein and director Cathy Randall, the duo behind 2008’s Hey Hey it’s Esther Blueburger. A major cast announcement is expected in the coming months. The project has attracted production funding from Screen Australia, Screenwest, Lotterywest, the WA Regional Screen Fund, Spectrum Entertainment and Screen NSW, and will be shot in and around Karratha. The City of Karratha council will also vote next week on providing $100,000 for a corporate sponsorship of the film. In return, the City would receive several benefits, including acknowledgment in the film’s closing credits, branding opportunities in marketing materials, and the opportunity to host the film’s premiere in Karratha. Moreover, the production promises significant economic benefits for the region, with an estimated $3.6 million of the production budget allocated to local businesses. Additionally, the film’s promotional activities are expected to showcase the natural beauty of the Pilbara to a broad audience, potentially increasing awareness and tourism. Interested actors are invited to email their photo and contact details to casting director Anousha Zarkesh at email@example.com.