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New Zealand Crowded With Filmmakers – NYTimes.com

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Gandalf approaching Minas Tirith in the film T...WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Don’t misunderstand: New Zealand’s independent film community is enormously grateful for Peter Jackson, whose blockbuster “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, among other things, gave Kiwi directors a jolt of confidence.

“We saw one of our own kind do it,” said Robert Sarkies, a Wellington-based screenwriter and director. “For a remote country that lacks industry and has a feeling of cultural insecurity, what Peter Jackson achieved is pretty huge.”

Still, some film people here worry that Mr. Jackson’s rise has come at a price. The New Zealand government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Mr. Jackson’s mainstream movies and even rewritten labor laws to accommodate his Hollywood partners. What about other homegrown directors, particularly those interested in artier cinema? Is enough being done to make their careers sprout?

“The government has shown generosity toward these big films while smaller ones are left to struggle,” said Mr. Sarkies, whose movies include “Two Little Boys,” a comedy starring Bret McKenzie. “The fact is, government funding for smaller New Zealand films hasn’t even remained the same; it has gotten smaller and smaller.”

via New Zealand Crowded With Filmmakers – NYTimes.com.

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Hobbit tourism scatters more of Tolkien’s magic across New Zealand | World news | The Observer

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

This time last year, New Zealand was under the spell of the Rugby World Cup, with host nation enthusiasm going a long way to realising the organisers’ vision of a “stadium of four million”. In 2012, the big event features hairy feet of a different sort, with the New Zealand-made film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opening with a world premiere in Wellington, the home town of director Sir Peter Jackson, in six weeks.

A decade after Jackson’s three-film adaptation of JRR Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings emerged to critical and popular acclaim, the countdown to The Hobbit – in its film form, also a trilogy – began last week in earnest. In earnest and in fact: Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown unveiled a giant clock, complete with an image of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, counting down the minutes to the 28 November premiere.

The clock sits atop the Embassy Theatre, the handsome 1920s cinema that will host the screening. A bevy of international stars, led, it’s safe to predict, by Freeman, will return to Wellington to walk the red carpet down Courtenay Place. The last time the 500m carpet was unrolled, for the world premiere of The Return of the King in 2003, about 120,000 people came to watch the procession. Organisers expect a similar turnout this time. “It will be a real carnival atmosphere,” promises Wade-Brown.

There is nothing subtle about efforts to piggyback. The national tourism slogan “100% Pure New Zealand” has become “100% Middle-earth“, while in the days leading up to the premiere Wellington will be “renamed”, Wade-Brown announced last week, as “Middle of Middle-earth”.

It would all no doubt bewilder Tolkien, who conjured up his Middle-earth from Oxfordshire in the 1930s, and never travelled as far as New Zealand.

via Hobbit tourism scatters more of Tolkien’s magic across New Zealand | World news | The Observer.

Wellington Airport named one of world’s scariest landings | NATIONAL News

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

An aerial photo of the Wellington Internationa...

A British travel journalist has named Wellington Airport in a list of the 15 scariest airport landings.

The article published in The Telegraph said conditions in the capital are exceptionally difficult due to the short runway, a tricky approach through hilly landscape, and frighteningly strong crosswinds.

It said that combination of factors can make for “a terrifyingly turbulent landing”.

via Wellington Airport named one of world’s scariest landings | NATIONAL News.

Strange Random Landing Quote:

“There is a story that when incoming jets throttle back for the approach to Belfast’s Aldergrove Airport, the pilots tell their passengers to put their watches back to local time – 1690” – Russell Miller

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