Parts of downtown Queenstown will be transformed into a movie set this week for director Jane Campion’s latest project.
Campion and co-director Garth Davis are moving their multi-million dollar production of mini-series Top of the Lake to the resort CBD from Thursday.
Campion, nominated for an Academy Award for her acclaimed film The Piano, and Davis have already completed six weeks of shooting out by Moke Lake and surrounding areas.
In a statement, Queenstown Lakes District Council’s Film Queenstown boss Kevin Jennings says filming will take place on Lower Beach Street and Coronation Drive for 10 days. The Ballarat Street Car Park will be used as a base for large vehicles, affecting park availiability.
“Parking capacity will be reduced while the shoot takes place,” Jennings says.
“People are advised to use the Boundary Street Car Park instead, which will be available to Ballarat Street car park leaseholders at no cost during this ten-day period.”
Mountain Scene has also seen a notice to downtown business owners from Top of the Lake location manager David Walker, saying scenes will also be filmed at Alpine Supermarket and Henry’s Bottle Store on Shotover Street from 7am till noon on Thursday.
About 25 crew will be involved in that segment.
Walker warns business owners they’ll be taking about 16 parking spaces for technical trucks in the Athol Street car park.
“We’ll have somebody securing parks on Athol and Shotover Streets from 7pm on Wednesday before our vehicles arrive approximately 10pm.
“Finally, thank you, we are always aware of the temporary disruptive nature of our work, and are always extremely grateful to property and business owners alike who tolerate our activity and support the NZ and local film industry.”
Jennings says the shoot is a great opportunity for Queenstown.
“We’ve had quite a few large-scale productions over the years but Top of the Lake is using Queenstown as Queenstown rather than as a double for somewhere else.
“It’s great exposure for the town.”
Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden adds: “Not only is the decision to set this production in the Wakatipu great for our profile but it’s also providing a welcome boost to our economy at what can sometimes be a quieter time of year.
“We’re very pleased to have them here and I hope everyone will be accommodating while they’re filming.”
Jennings says Top of the Lake is just one production in what’s turning into a mini boom for the local film industry.
“The entire industry is pumping,” he says.
“In the six weeks that this television programme has been shooting we’ve also had a music video, stills shoots, TV commercials, and two feature films in Otago and Southland. There are also two short films in pre-production.”
Philippa Campbell, the New Zealand producer of Top of the Lake says the decision to film here has proved to be a good one.
“We’re very grateful for the support Top of the Lake has received from the Queenstown community and, as we approach the halfway mark of the shoot, the impact of the unique beauty of the area and all the adventures it offers, are constant reminders of why Queenstown is such a magnetic destination for filmmakers from around the world.”
Top of the Lake from See-Saw Films is being co-produced by UKTV in New Zealand and Australia, BBC Two in the UK and Sundance Channel in the United States.