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