In the News: Film Interest Expressed - Otago Daily Times

From our Kiwi pal, Susan...

Film interest expressed
By Kerry Williamson
Otago Daily Times - March 8, 2000

Queenstown at night
At least two further American film companies are looking at filming in Queenstown.

Queenstown Winter Marketing Group chairwoman Vicki Bretherton yesterday said she had fielded two inquiries since returning from a Film New Zealand promotion in Los Angeles late last month.

Film companies from Seattle and New York were interested in filming in and around Queenstown, inquiries that stemmed from Film Location 2000, held in Los Angeles between February 25-27.

Ms Bretherton, who manages Queenstown's Millenium Hotel, attended the promotion with Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky and Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.

While few details were available, she said the Seattle-based company was interested in filming a feature, while the New York company was involved in something "more substantial".

"It is still early days at this stage but there certainly is interest there," said Ms Bretherton.

"I have had two expressions of interest and I've only been back a couple of days. They were only inquiries, but they do show there is an interest."

She said New Zealand's profile as a location for film shoots was increasing overseas. Queenstown was also highly regarded, she said.

Wellington director Peter Jackson's film version of Lord Of The Rings was "doing wonders" for both New Zealand and Queenstown.

"Lord Of The Rings has created an awareness about our country and our region more than anything else has before," she said.

"People talk about The Piano and Once Were Warriors, but this is far bigger than both of those, it will give New Zealand far greater exposure. A lot of focus and attention is being given to this movie and we will feel the benefits of that."

Ms Bretherton said six minutes of the film had been shown at a cocktail function at the New Zealand consul-general's residence, hosted by Ambassador Jim Bolger.

Those who had seen it had been blown away, she said.

"It is going to be amazing. The technology that we witnessed and the clips that we saw were incredible, it certainly surprised everyone," she said.

Queenstown-Lakes District Council's new film friendly policy was well received at both the function and the expo, said Ms Bretherton.

Queenstown Mayor Warren Cooper sent a letter with the group outlining the council's plans to attract further film companies to the resort, a move that was well received in the United States.

Film New Zealand spokeswoman Jane Gilbert yesterday said she had fielded numerous inquiries about shooting here in New Zealand. She said it was unlikely Queenstown would miss out on future film productions.

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