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Throwback Thursday! What was being shot in NZ ten years ago

10 Apr 2019 11:00 AM | Amber Wakefield (Administrator)

We look at what was being made in NZ ten years ago – and wow! Was that REALLY ten years ago??!!

2009 – The inauguration of Barack Obama, David Bain found not guilty at his re-trail, Michael Jackson dies, and David Tua makes his comeback. The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance recommends the 8 regional bodies merge into the ‘Supercity’, LadyHawke wins pretty much everything she is nominated for at the Music Awards, the French beat the AB’s at rugby, India wins the test series, and John Key sits in the Beehive. 

It was a big year for film in NZ too, with a mix of co-productions, horrors and comedies being released in the year.

Biggest film of the year – Avatar - in fact the biggest grossing film of all time – no contest. 2.8 billion to date. Damn. It won the best Cinematography Oscar for DP Mauro Fiore,  had Richard Bluck as 2ndunit DP with Dean McCarroll in the Camera Department. Richard did another 2ndUnit DP credit on a film that year (Dean McC also in the camera crew) – Peter Jacksons ‘The Lovely Bones’ lensed by the late great Andrew Lesney.

Photo: Richard Bluck

Another Aussie DP shot a NZ film in 2009 - Steve Arnold, who shot Paul Middleditches’ NZ/German Co-pro ‘Separation City’ in Wellington. 

The Windy City had a busy year – ‘Last of the Living’ Logan McMillan’s Comedy Zombie Romp, which was DP Kirk Pflaum’s first feature, was shot there as was (partially)  ‘District 9’. Although principal photography  was in 2007/08,  D9 saw the light of day in 2009. Neill Blomkamp’s excellent action film was shot in both NZ and South Africa, by Canadian Trent Opaloch, with Simon Raby as 2ndunit Director and DOP (with Richard Bluck operating).

Another DP/Director credit in 2009 went to Thomas Burstyn, who’s doco-feature  ‘This Way of Life’, a very personal film, about a rural family in Ruahine, did very well on the festival circuit, being  nominated for best Cinematography at Cameraimage, and winning a prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Photo: Thomas Burstyn

Another festival hit, was ‘The Strength of Water’ - Armagan Ballantyne’s film set in the Hokianga. Shot by Oscar nominated Polish DP Bogumil Godfrejow, the film also counted Kirsten Green, Grant Mckinnon and Rob Marsh amongst the crew.

2009 also saw ‘Until Proven Innocent’, Peter Burgers TV Drama about a man wrongly convicted, which was shot by David Paul, and at, that year’s Film and TV Awards – Rewa Harre won for his work on ‘Apron Strings’.

Meanwhile,  from the NZers Overseas, Dale Mcready was shooting the English TV series ‘Merlin’ and ‘Demons’, Marc Swadel was 2ndUnit Director/DP on Warp Films ‘All Tomorrows Parties’ doco-feature, and  Stuart Dryburgh was shooting  Amelia Earhart biopic ‘Amelia’.

And, finally rounding off the year – ‘Under the Mountain’.

Released in December, Jonathan Kings creepy remake of the 80’s classic TVNZ series, was shot by Richard Bluck, with Murray Milne handling  the underwater shots. 

2009 – such a busy year for NZ film and NZ cinematographers.

~ By Marc Swadel


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