An Oscar winner combined with 300 crew, actors and extras transformed the Wakatipu into a mythical Swiss village for a chocolate advert.
Milka’s major 2016 commercial The Strong Man was shot in multiple locations in Queenstown, Arrowtown and Glenorchy in November.
The one-and-a-half minute advert sees a young boy visit a circus in the Swiss Alps.
Auckland production firm Big Pictures Company handled the six-day shoot for the US chocolate brand, founded in Switzerland.
Grant Major, who won an Oscar for his work in The Lord of the Rings, was production designer.
More than 250 locals took part in the Milka shoot as extras.
Big Pictures boss William Grieve says: “Lillaberg, where the scripts are set, is a mythical and timeless Swiss village.
“The art department built foreground exterior elements and these were added to in post-production to more closely resemble the Swiss Alps and architecture.”
Locations included Paradise, Dalefield, private houses in the Arrowtown area and Arrowtown’s Buckingham Street and Arrow Lane.
Interiors were shot on sets constructed in Queenstown.
Grieve says talent from around the globe was involved in the production.
“It was very much an international affair.”
The commercial was conceived by W+K Amsterdam and directed by Vesa Manninen from Hobby Films, Stockholm.
Director of photography was respected German DP Franz Lusting and post-production was by MPC London, supervised by Kiwi Bill McNamara.
Auckland’s Barbara Darragh was costume designer.
Big Pictures provided production support in New Zealand, including casting, locations, engaging crew, and supplying equipment.
It specialises in high-end commercial productions and stills shoots, many of them shot in Queenstown.
In the past year or so alone, it’s managed shoots for ASICS, Canon, Anchor Milk, Vodafone, and Chinese milk producers Mengnio and Yili, all in the resort.
“Queenstown has a deservedly great reputation internationally for the capabilities of its crew, as well as for the diversity of wonderful locations in the region,” Grieve says.