New NZ On Air TV funding announced

Taken from Stuff, by Katie Kenny.

After six incredible seasons, Outrageous Fortune has gained funding for one more. A prequel. Local drama has received an $18 million funding boost from NZ On Air to back three new Kiwi series, including West Side Story, a journey into Ted's murky past.

From the Platinum Fund for TV One, Hillary will be a landmark series about lauded beekeeper-turned-adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary. The six-part drama has been created by the experienced writing team of Tom Scott and Greg McGee and is based on the story told be Hillary to Scott for his biography.

Meanwhile, on TV2, Dave and Cara's unconventional love story continues in a second series of Step Dave. Following its successful first season, the lighthearted family drama is back with the trails and triumphs of blended family life.

Read the full article here.

Siobhan Marshall returns to Shorty

Taken from Stuff, by Isobel Allbury.

The wheel of TV fortune has turned full circle for actress Siobhan Marshall. More than 10 years after she first appeared on Shortland Street, the Outrageous Fortune star is back on the soap in a new role as a high-flying doctor.

Clearly it has proven difficult to take Marshall out of the west.

Marshall made a major impact as Pascalle West, the eldest daughter of the iconic westie family in the Kiwi drama Outrageous Fortune. And now she is back in west Auckland at Shortland Street's base in Henderson.

Marshall's 2004 appearance on Shortland Street was brief but she is back to play Dr Ava Eriksson, Ferndale's latest addition and a doctor of appearance medicine. Not only does Ava sport a shorter, more mature hairstyle than Pascalle, she is also different in other ways to Marshall's ditsy Outrageous Fortune character.

"She's quite different," Marshall says. "She's really confident, she's really smart and she's very ambitious... She's definitely not Pascalle so that's good."

Although she may have book smarts, Marshall says her character is not always the most clued up in social situations.

"She's a little bit confusing because she is really smart but in a lot ways she misses the point," Marshall says. "I've played other characters, like Pascalle. She wasn't book smart but she could pick up on what was going on quite well. Whereas this one socially doesn't, which is kind of funny and quite fun... Sometimes she just misses things that are happening around her. She is charming. Well I hope she is, she's supposed to be. I'm trying to be. So she's quite good in certain social situations when she's putting on an act but she misses a few social cues."

Read the full article here.

Twitter’s mixed reaction to Hope & Wire

Taken from NZ Herald.

Viewers have responded with mixed feelings about last night's debut of Hope and Wire, a new three-part drama series based on the aftermath of the Christcurch earthquakes.

Created by veteran director Gaylene Preston, hopes were high that Hope and Wire would do televisual justice to one of the country's worst disasters. Each episode is a feature length, and last night's debut dealt with the shock of the September 4, 2010 event, and the tragedy of February 22, 2011.

Throng reported the first episode drew in 248,440 vieweres, TV3's second most-viewed show of the night, below House Rules with 267,860 viewers.

In a preview for TimeOut, Christchurch-based reporter Kurt Bayer, who reported on the quakes and their aftermath, wrote the first "episode pulls no punches" and was "raw, but done with sensitivity".

Read the full article here.

SPP named co-production partner for BBC drama

Taken from Screen NZ.

South Pacific Pictures is named a co-production partner for BBC Three-commissioned drama Tatau, to be shot later this year.

The full BBC release follows:

BBC Three has commissioned a brand-new 8×45′ drama series, written by Richard Zajdlic and co-produced by Touchpaper TV (makers of Being Human) and South Pacific Pictures in association with BBC America.

Tatau is the first drama series to be commissioned for BBC Three – the winner of the Channel of the Year at last week’s Broadcast Digital Awards – since BAFTA Award-winning serial In the Flesh. It was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama and Zai Bennett, Former Controller, BBC Three.

Ben Stephenson says: “From the makers of Being Human, Tatau is an ambitious new BBC Three drama series that will raise the bar for viewers of the channel who have a real appetite for distinctive stories from all different worlds.”

Kyle Connor and Pete ‘Budgie’ Griffiths are 20-something friends from London travelling the world looking for sun, fun and adventure. They’ve worked hard, saved even harder, and now finally they’re off, eager to soak up as many different cultures and experiences as they possibly can. Kyle even got himself a Maori-style tattoo in London, excited about their eventual destination: the Cook Islands.

Rob Pursey, the executive producer for Touchpaper, adds: “It’s exciting to produce a show that takes the BBC audience to an entirely new location. And it’s even more exciting to explore the ancient myths of a culture that very few of us are familiar with.”

Kyle is unsettled when local people react to his tattoo: it clearly has a significance that he is entirely unaware of. It’s like he’s been marked out for something – but what?

Later, while snorkelling in a lagoon, Kyle finds the body of a local girl, Aumea, tied up underwater – dead. Returning to the lagoon with the police, Kyle finds her corpse has disappeared. Budgie wonders if his best friend is going mad – he’s imagining things. But Kyle knows what he saw. And he’s also beginning to realise that he has a gift – or a curse: the murder he’s witnessed isn’t something that has happened, it’s something that will happen in the future.

Kyle and Budgie find themselves sucked into a desperate race to prevent Aumea’s murder, as Kyle learns that his gifts don’t stop at prophecy… and the full meaning of his tattoo is revealed.

Sam Bickley, Channel Editor, BBC Three, says: “BBC Three has rightfully made a name for itself producing multi-award-winning dramas like In the Flesh, The Fades and Being Human. Tatau very much continues the channel’s tradition for commissioning original, innovative and exciting drama that you would not expect to see anywhere else.”

Tatau is 8×45′ and will be co-produced by Touchpaper TV and South Pacific Pictures in association with BBC America. Touchpaper TV is a Zodiak Media Company.

Richard Zajdlic, creator and writer and Rob Pursey are the executive producers for Touchpaper TV, John Barnett and Chris Bailey for South Pacific in New Zealand and Matthew Read for the BBC.

Filming starts in September 2014 and casting will be announced in due course.

TV Preview: Hope & Wire

Taken from NZ Herald, by Nick Grant.

In Hope and Wire, TV3's new drama about the Christchurch earthquakes and the aftershocks - literal and psychological - that ripple through the community in their wake, Stephen Lovatt plays a lawyer who finds himself on shaky financial ground as a result of the disaster.

The decision to accept the part was a no-brainer, but it wasn't the character that attracted him. "I just wanted to be in it, really," he says. "We need to talk to ourselves nationally about these experiences and television is a good way to do it, especially as a drama."

Plus, the project represented Lovatt's first opportunity in his 28-year-long career to work with writer-director Gaylene Preston, whom he describes as "frustratingly and delightfully creative".

Thanks to Preston's "idiosyncratic presence" and the way she let the actors experiment, and at other times would throw them curve balls that demanded an instant response, "it was an exciting time being on set with her, and a rewarding one. I'd work with her again at the drop of a hat."

Read the full article here.

Robyn Malcolm: Keeping it real estate

Taken from NZ Herald, by Penny Lewis.

Whether it's front-page news or dinner-party chat, real estate is a topic that New Zealanders, and particularly Aucklanders, never seem to tire of. Kiwis can't get enough of the property game. We love hearing about ridiculous prices, shoddy practices and high jinks such as a disgruntled real estate agent allegedly posting pooh in a box to a former colleague.

Our national obsession with real estate inspired the creation of local show Agent Anna, about a wannabe Auckland real estate broker. Star and executive producer Robyn Malcolm has bought and sold a couple of houses in recent years. She has lived on the North Shore and in West Auckland and is now based in edgy city-fringe Kingsland with her sons Charlie, 10, and Pete, 8. Recently she has been commuting to Melbourne, filming the second series of Upper Middle Bogan for the ABC. Despite the show's name, Malcolm is not rehashing Cheryl West in Outrageous Fortune. She plays Julie Wheeler, a drag racer.

Upper Middle Bogan screens on TV One later this year but, ahead of that, New Zealanders can look forward to seeing Malcolm on the small screen when the second series of Agent Anna debuts on TV One early next month.

The first series was her pet project and she plays the titular role of Anna Kingston.

Read the full article here.

Syfy acquires Starz drama Spartacus

Taken from Deadline, by Nellie Andreeva.

Syfy has acquired US basic cable rights to all 39 episodes of Starz's Spartacus. That includes the three seasons of the swords-and-sandals drama as well as the six-part prequel Gods of the Arena. Spartacus will make its Syfy debut in June 26 and will air at 10pm, following original series Defiance and Dominion.

The Spartacus deal comes 16 years after then-5-year-old Sci Fi Channel made its biggest acquisition pact to date, spending $150 million for the exclusive basic cable rights to three other Showtime series, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits and Poltergeist: The Legacy. Stargate and Poltergeist went on to become original series on Sci Fi, which ordered additional seasons - five for Stargate and one for Poltergeist. Stargate became a signature series for Sci Fi, spawning a franchise.

Spartacus, which bought from Starz Worldwide Distribution, joins Syfy's other acquired series including Lost Girl, Bitten, Continuum and the upcoming The Almighty Johnsons (July), Z-Nation (fall) and Olympus (2015).

Read the full article here.

AFK - The Webseries Kickstarter

AFK is a webseries following the adventures of six gamers trapped inside their characters' bodies in the world of an online RPG and features Auckland Actors' Mia Pistorius as character 'Q'.

AFK: Series One would be a 10 part series, with episodes ranging in length between 7-10 minutes. It is obviously an ambitious webseries, but at the trailer shows, the creators have the experience and resources to pull it off. The dream cast and crew who have already put in a great deal of work at no cost are all totally committed to this project and its success.

You can watch the trailer below.

For more information on the project and to donate to the Kickstarter Campaign visit their page.


Lippy Pictures releases Field Punishment No.1 trailer

screening in New Zealand in 2014

The First World War gave rise to New Zealand's first "conscientious objectors", men who stood out against jingoism of the day and declared their opposition to a war fought thousands of miles away and for which New Zealand were conscripted, many against their will.

This is the story of the fourteen of those men who were arrested and shipped off to war, where on the battlefields and military prisons of Britain and France they were stigmatised and tortured in an attempt to break their spirit. New Zealand's most famous conscientious objector Archibald Baxter, father of James K. Baxter, was one of these men.

We follow the conchies' journey from their initial proud stance when first arrested, through their time spent in prisons, punishment camps, an asylum for the insane and at the Front Line in France, until the end of the war heralds their return to New Zealand. But not all fourteen returned home.

starring Fraser Brown, Byron Coll, Colin Moy and Richard Chapman, and featuring Auckland Actors' Damien Avery, Paul Barrett, Daniel Cleary, Paul Glover, Andrew Munro
direction by Peter Burger

to watch the trailer click through to Vimeo on the below link

Field Punishment No.1 Trailer 1080p from Donna Malane on Vimeo.


The Adventures of Suzy Boon

The Adventures of Suzy Boon is a new 6 part web series written by Thomas Sainsbury and Louis Mendiola, and created by Roberto Nascimento.

The show follows the (mis)adventures of our hero, Suzy, who is trying to find where she belongs in this world - and by world she means New Zealand. She is at the last week of her trial period at the Immigration Service of New Zealand and stakes are high - there's a lot to prove if she wants to stay on the job. Thing is, Suzy has a lot on her mind right now. Love, happiness, her own identity; you know, the works.

The series features actor Kura Forrester as the titular Suzy Boon, along with Yvette Parsons, Charles Chan, Liesha Ward-Knox, Genevieve Cohen, Scott Cotter, Andrew Munro, Mick Innes and Thomas Sainsbury.

You can watch the complete series online at The Adventures of Suzy Boon website.
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