Film industry readies for bumper 2015

Taken from NZ Herald.

New Zealand's film industry is gearing up for a bumper year as the government's sweeter incentives lures foreign projects and boosts domestic productions, according to New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Dave Gibson.

Cabinet Ministers Steven Joyce and Chris Finlayson last year sweetened New Zealand's film scheme, lifting the incentives paid, as part of a move to put the local industry on a stronger footing and insulate it from lulls between blockbusters. That helped lock in 20th Century Fox to greenlight James Cameron's three Avatar movies to be produced in New Zealand, and Gibson says it's re-injected life into industry that had been in a downturn.

"There was this quite quiet period for a couple of years where the industry really was in a lull, then the government increased the incentives, and straightaway you could see a difference," Gibson told BusinessDesk. "I think it has been pretty close to a perfect result in the short-medium term that we can see. You really couldn't have asked for a better kind of pick up or take up on it.

"I've been in the film business for 35 years," Gibson said. "All I can say is hold onto your hats, because next year is going to be a big one."

Read the full article here.

Blowing It

by Stephen Papps & Stephen Sinclair
11 - 13 December

Mike Fahey, an undercover police officer, penetrates the pub underworld of petrol-heads, perverts and pit-bulls only to lose the plot at the Queens Arms, Panmure, where it's all goin' down.

Sex, drugs and mayhem ensure as Mike goes under, Cheryl goes down, Anal is fingered and Satan the dog gets CPR.

featuring Stephen Papps
direction by Stephen Sinclair

for more information and to book tickets call 09 360 3397

Finalists revealed in NZ Film Awards

Taken from NZ Herald.

This year's Rialto New Zealand Film Awards are shaping up as a heavyweight bout with The Dark Horse and The Dead Lands both leading the nomination list. The Dead Lands has 14 nominations, a narrow lead over The Dark Horse's 13.

Since its inception in 2012 the independent awards - also known as the Moas - has been dominated by one movie.

But 2014's vintage year in local feature production is being reflected throughout the nominations announced today. The Dead Lands star James Rolleston is up for best actor in that movie, as well as being nominated for his supporting role in The Dark Horse.

The Dark Horse, now winning acclaim across the Tasman as it is released in Australia, dominates the actor categories with nominations for leading man Cliff Curtis as well as a supporting actor nomination for newcomer Wayne Hapi.

Other frontrunners include horror-comedy Housebound with 11 nods, Auckland drug drama The Last Saint, with nine and Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's hit vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows with eight. Housebound features both actress categories with Morgana O'Reilly as the lead and Rima Te Waita in her supporting role as her mother.

Read the full article here.

Heavy Metal Horror ‘Deathgasm’ gushes with bodily fluids!

Taken from Bloody Disgusting.

Hailing out of New Zealand, and from the people behind Stake Land, Late Phases, Starry Eyes, The Inkeepers, House of the Devil (MPI / Dark Sky), ABCs of Death and Housebound (Ant Timpson), comes a rockin' new horror comedy that's going to blow your collective minds.

Bloody Disgusting caught an early first look at the sales promo and a clip from Jason Lei Howden's Deathgasm, a heavy metal horror movie that stars Milo Cawthorne, James Blake and Kimberly Crossman.

Starting with the clip, imagine Evil Dead 2, only Ash beats the deadites to death with a giant double-sided dildo before ripping the cord on a chainsaw to deliver a bloody final blow! Yeah, it's that insane. But it's nothing compared to the sales promo, which rains blood to tunes similar to old school Megadeath.

Read the full article here.

Karima Madut gets cred on Shortland Street

Taken from Stuff, by Joanna Mathers.

When Karima Madut arrived in New Zealand, aged eight, she learned English by writing poetry and song lyrics. "I wrote about my life," she says. "I wrote love songs to my primary school crushes."

Fourteen years on and the Kenyan-born Sudanese actor is still writing songs. She's also singing, acting on stage, and poised to become a household name as Clementine on Shortland Street.

As only the second African actor on New Zealand's longest running soap (the first was Zimbabwean Brian Manthenga, who played Dr Xavier Moyo in 2009), Madut has only been on set a few weeks, but she's already made an impact. There are whispers of her character being deepened and broadened to include a back story, complete with on-screen family.

She was asked to audition while in rehearsals for stage psychodrama Belleville, directed by Oliver Driver. "My agent called me two months ago to ask if I was keen to audition for a role. I found out that I had the job within a week."

Read the full article here.

Reviews - Famous Flora

Reviewed by Sharu Delilkan & Tim Booth, Theatre Scenes.

Choosing to stage Elisabeth Easther's premiere about Flora Mackenzie, on of Auckland's most notorious Mesdames, at the White House was a stroke of genius. The venue not only gave the show added dimension, being totally apt, but also acted as an eighth character in the 7-strong cast that entertained us at the opening of Famous Flora last night.

In keeping with Mackenzie's bold historical persona in Auckland, that of a madame supreme who ruled the city's underworld sex scene for thirty years, the choice of venue was reflected on the faces of the audience members as they arrived to see the show. Many of whom made a point of saying out loud at the top of their lungs: "This is the first time I've been here". Which almost seemed to mirror Shakespeare's famous quote "The lady doth protest too much, me think". But I digress.

The story flits between Flora in her heyday of the glamorous and stylish 1940s and the moral panics of the 1970s, resulting in comprehensive insight into her public and private lives all rolled into one. Easther's ability to weave both eras together to form a pretty package is commendable. That being said I think some of the dialogue and build up could do with a little more tightening up as the show's resolution is reached without much warning. Maybe a bit more time spent on the finale would help balance the meticulously crafted build up.

Read the full review here.

Read the Theatreview review here.
Read the NZ Herald review here.

How to Survive in Hollywood

Taken from Metro, by Frances Morton.

Sunshine and bright lights, heatache and hope. It's tough being a Kiwi actor in LA.

On Fountain Avenue in West Hollywood is an elegant 1920s stucco building with a turret and a turquoise swimming pool out back that's become known as the unofficial New Zealand embassy.

It's home to actress Fleur Saville, former home of Rose McIver and Gin Wigmore and emergency housing, support office and function venue for New Zealand actors and filmmakers touching down at LAX on a wave of confidence.

Saville meets me at the door, petite and blonde with those familiar pretty pointy features that always get her on casting lists for an English elf. There's a suitcase in the hallway belonging to an Auckland director, in town briefly and staying on the couch. A life-sized photograph of Humphrey bogart hovers above the stairway.

"Marilyn Monroe supposedly used to write here," says Saville as we step into her office.

"I didn't know Marilyn Monroe wrote," I say. "Exactly," she replies.

Whether it's true or not, it's a great rumour, and the dark-panelled room has a convincing old-Hollywood vibe.

Read the full article here.

Hudson & Halls Live!

by Kip Chapman, Todd Emerson & Sophie Roberts
5 November - 5 Decemeber

And we're live! The oven's caught fire, David is drinking and Peter has bad news. In this immersive new work co-created by Kip Chapman, we meet two of New Zealand's trailblazing TV personalities at a pivotal point in their relationship and up to their eyeballs in cold cheese soup and melting cream castles.

Before Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules there was Hudson & Halls. In the closet with the door wide open, Peter Hudson and David Halls were New Zealand's original great gay love story.

In this new commission from Silo, prepare to be transported to a 1980s television studio for big laughs, rum-fuelled showdowns and very questionable cooking.

featuring Todd Emerson and Chris Parker
direction by Kip Chapman

for more information and to book tickets visit the SIlo Theatre website

Flora’s charm more than a myth

Taken from NZ Herald, by Barney McDonald.

If, in the eyes of conservative society, Flora Mackenzie of Famous Flora's brothel in Auckland could be said to be a latter-day siren, seducing and destroying men and  morals in equal measure, playwright Elisabeth Easther and actor Yvette Parsons could qualify as two of the Greek femme fatale's handmaidens.

It certainly sounds like the pair would like to get inside the infamous madam's head and learn all they can about one of Auckland's true characters, who bucked trends to be a pioneer in a world dominated by men, in particular the sex industry.

She ran a brothel in Ponsonby's Ring Tce during World War II, servicing American servicemen and a who's who of local dignitaries and businessmen. Her exploits often made it into the papers and she was charged with "living off the proceeds of prostitution", but never prosecuted. She was, as we like to say, a colourful character, making her the idea subject for a play.

Read the full article here.

Four directors. Two actors. Two days. One location. Six short films.

Taken from Script to Screen newsletter.

Join directors Alyx Duncan, Han Niu, Jake Mahaffy, James Solomon, writer Lani Feltham and actors Chelsie Preston Crayford and Jeremy Randerson, as they present their collaborative, self-funded, micro-budget short films and discuss the process of making them.

Saturday 15 November, 1pm
Auckland Art Gallery
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