Old jail sets the scene for silver screen

IT IS a shooting of a different kind that will see George Basha go behind bars at Parramatta jail.

The Guildford resident will soon start filming what is believed to be the first feature film set almost entirely in what was Australia's oldest serving correctional centre.

The jail was shut at the end of last year and is due to become the set for the film, called The Convict, for two weeks during June.

Mr Basha said the majority of the film would be set in the jail as the story aims to share the experiences of being an inmate.

"I wanted to use Parramatta jail as a set because it is one of the oldest jails in the country and to be able to get that on the screen is phenomenal," he said.

"You can just walk through the jail and you can sense the history of the place and it's that feeling that I want to bring into the film.

"A lot of people know Parramatta jail but they have never been inside it.

"It's a chance to show people what it is like inside and so far people seem really interested and the response has been really good."

Mr Basha wrote and starred in the 2009 film The Combination about Lebanese Australians in western Sydney.

He said the budget for his latest creation was small and he would write, direct, produce and act in the film.

Mr Basha is not the first person to use the jail as a set for the silver screen.

The television series Home and Away shot episodes in the jail in January and it has appeared in other shows, including Underbelly.

The jail is expected to be transferred to the state property authority by-mid 2012.

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