Shoot­ing Christchurch

Christchurch film­maker Shaun Garea and award-winning artist Keith Mo­rant hope to put Christchurch on the in­ter­na­tional film­mak­ingmap­writes VICKI AN­DER­SON.

The Press - - Entertainment -

Lyt­tel­ton-based film-maker Shaun Garea has a dream. He would like in­ter­na­tional film projects to be en­ticed to New Zealand, not only by our stun­ning scenery as seen in Lord of the Rings, but by the rich tal­ent pool we have to of­fer in ev­ery facet of the in­dus­try.

With Es­trata Pro­duc­tions, Garea is cur­rently shoot­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion of sev­eral scenes taken from a fea­ture script with the aim of en­tic­ing and en­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ment into the fea­ture.

Called A Dream of Dark Colours, it is based on the novel The Trial by Czech au­thor Franz Kafka.

‘‘I’ve had in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore – my pre­vi­ous short work, My Beau­ti­ful World, trav­elled around the world and got great re­views and was even sup­ported by United States mu­sic la­bel Ipecac Record­ings and Faith No More’s Mike Pat­ton,’’ Garea says. ‘‘It all got me think­ing that we need to show more of what we can do here. Every­one knows we have great nat­u­ral re­sources – scenery etc – but they don’t know that we also have world-class tal­ented per­son­nel here, too.

‘‘It is based on a lit­er­ary clas­sic that is re­garded by many as one of the most im­por­tant nov­els of mod­ern times. This is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to show­case the skills of lo­cal tal­ent and crew.’’

Co-pro­ducer is in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed artist Keith Mo­rant, who re­cently re­ceived the Pres­i­dent of the Re­publics medal in South­ern Italy and who had a pres­ence at the Venice Bi­en­nale cour­tesy of Man­hat­tan Arts In­ter­na­tional.

‘‘There will be an en­tire exhibit of Mo­rant’s work based around Kafka’s work and The Trial at Bryce Art Gallery in Au­gust, which will also fea­ture scenes from the film and a live per­for­mance of vi­ola which has been com­posed for the film by hon­oured artist of the Ukraine, Ana­toly Zilin­sky.’’

Af­ter the show Mo­rant is tak­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion with him to Van­cou­ver, Man­hat­tan and Fer­rara hop­ing to ‘‘cre­ate a bit of a buzz’’.

Lo­cal ac­tors who have do­nated their time for the project in­clude Charles Grubb (as Joseph K), Jan­ina Matthew­son (Leni), Jill Roberts (usher’s wife), Grant Edgar (mag­is­trate) and ac­tor and per­former Stig El­dred, US-born but now liv­ing in Sum­ner, whose film and tele­vi­sion cred­its in­clude Dick Tracey, CSI Mi­ami, Her­cules, Xena and more.

Garea hopes A Dream of Dark Colours and its pro­duc­tion ‘‘raises the bar’’ for in­de­pen­dent film shot in New Zealand.

‘‘We’re hop­ing that this film will show New Zealand in a so­phis­ti­cated and in­tel­lec­tual way. We have great ar­chi­tec­ture here as well as great scenery. Christchurch is like one big Hol­ly­wood back-drop with 60s and 70s-style build­ings in the same street,’’ Garea says.

‘‘So far we’ve been shoot­ing at the Time­ball in Lyt­tel­ton, at God­ley Head thanks to DOC and in Thomp­son Gar­dens in Gov­er­nors Bay. We have just fin­ished shoot­ing to­day at the old flour mill in Ad­ding­ton. We trav­elled around the South Is­land looking for suit­able spots and dis­cov­ered that we had it all right here in Christchurch all along.’’

He and the crew of vol­un­teers were par­tic­u­larly de­lighted to be al­lowed ac­cess to the Cathe­dral of the Blessed Sacra­ment (Christchurch Basil­ica) on Bar­ba­does St.

‘‘It was sim­ply in­spir­ing to shoot there – the colours and lights were so bright and lovely. It is world-class and a place of great beauty and aes­thet­ics.’’

Fel­low Cantabri­ans are so pas­sion­ate about the project that every­one from cos­tume de­sign­ers to makeup artists and ac­tors have do­nated their time.

‘‘I think they can see that this is some­thing our in­dus­try needs – we need to at­tract at­ten­tion to our­selves and show that we have a lot to of­fer over­seas film-mak­ers,’’ Garea says. ‘‘Or else every­one in the in­dus­try just has to sit around wait­ing for Peter Jack­son to start film­ing The Hob­bit to get work.’’

Film­ing con­tin­ues un­til July 18 and Garea is keen that any­one who has skills they think could be use­ful or who wishes to help in any way con­tact the pair through the web­sites listed be­low. ‘‘There are a lot of tal­ented peo­ple in Christchurch and the world needs to know it. If we work to­gether and help each other out I’m sure we can achieve a lot for the in­dus­try.’’

Mo­rant’s ex­hi­bi­tion and a pre­sen­ta­tion of Garea’s film project will be on show at Bryce Gallery on Au­gust 18. For more in­for­ma­tion go to shaungarea.com and kei­th­morant.com

Dark colours: Film-maker Shaun Garea pic­tured on set.

Stig El­dred: Has do­nated his time and skills to the project.

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