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Aaron McGrath (Jasper), Levi Miller (Charlie) and Angourie Rice (Eliza) in Jasper Jones. Photographer: David Dare Parker © Bucktin Productions Pty Ltd.

Aaron McGrath (Jasper), Levi Miller (Charlie) and Angourie Rice (Eliza) in Jasper Jones. Photographer: David Dare Parker © Bucktin Productions Pty Ltd.

Jasper Jones opened on 218 screens nationwide in its first weekend of release, with movie-goers showing strong support for the home grown film, joining Lion in the top five.

Critics are having an overwhelming positive response with The Guardian calling it “a charming, genre-traversing film. It’s compelling as a whodunnit, touching as a coming-of-age story, insightful as a picture of race relations and crafty as a drama about secrets, concealing a few of its own for a final, satisfying reveal.”

The film has a strong appeal to both teenage and adult audiences.

Director Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue Dae, Radiance), co-stars Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, The Dressmaker, The Hobbit) and Levi Miller (Pan, Red Dog: True Blue) and Western Australian author of the best-selling novel Craig Silvey talk about transforming the Western Australian town of Pemberton into fictional “Corrigan” and their experience filming in the State’s South West and the warm reception from the local community in this special behind-the-scenes video clip.

During filming, co-star Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine, Muriel’s Wedding) said, “Pemberton could not be a better backdrop, its ideal.  I don’t know how you guys found it, its just perfect.  And everybody has been so supportive and so open and so excited about the fact that a film crew is here.

“We’re blown away to have the experience of telling this story but to be in this beautiful, natural, totally removed place and to just have the experience together has just been amazing.”

Last week’s theatrical release was the culmination of a month long national Q&A tour with key cast and creatives which included three free community screenings in Pemberton.  The production was reunited with the numerous locals who supported the film as support teams, extras and by opening up their homes and businesses.

Pemberton, already a popular tourist destination, will undoubtedly gain more national attention with the success of Jasper Jones.  Australia’s South West has released a brochure so visitors can walk in the footsteps of Charlie and Jasper and learn more about what it was like to have such high calibre film stars in their modest mill town.

The film’s stellar cast also includes Angourie Rice (These Final HoursThe Nice Guys), Dan Wyllie (OffspringMuriel’s Wedding), Matt Nable (Riddick, Son of a Gun) and Aaron McGrath (GLITCH).

Watch the Jasper Jones trailer here.