Queenstown cameraman Ben Ruffell (right) knows a good story when he sees one.
When he read American journalist Eric Arnold’s comical novel about winemaking in Marlborough, he saw an opportunity to turn it into a great Kiwi feature film.
He’s recently bought the film rights for First Big Crush: The Down and Dirty on Making Great Wine Down Under, which he plans to shoot in Gibbston and around Queenstown.
“The reason it’s such a good story is because it’s real – it’s about real New Zealanders, real characters and I thought it would translate well to the screen,” Ruffell says. “The vineyard [Arnold] worked in was in Marlborough.
“But I know this region really well and think it’s really beautiful. I know I can make it look amazing.”
The 33-year-old, who’s previously shot and produced snowboarding films 3 Degrees and Special Needs, will be the director of photography for the film.
He’s gathering a “core team” to work on the project and is looking for a screenplay writer, a producer and director – cast and budget details are still some time away.
“There’s so much talent in the Queenstown film industry and I want to use that.”