TV shoots tonic for film crews



Queenstown’s film community is gearing up for a busy February/March with two TV series being shot simultaneously in the region.

First, the second series of TV crime thriller One Lane Bridge will again be shot around Queenstown, starting mid-February and going for 10 weeks.

Secondly, it was confirmed last week production of New Zealand romantic comedy, Under the Vines, co-commissioned by TVNZ, will start early February.

This will be set in Cromwell/Clyde, but it’s likely Queenstown-based personnel and equipment will be employed.

One Lane Bridge executive producer, Queenstowner Philip Smith, says in an ideal world one shoot would follow the other.

‘‘Just sheer circumstance led both productions into the same sort of shooting timeframe, it’s just one of those things.

‘‘That’s a slightly negative comment on a majorly positive situation.

‘‘It’s incredible having two shows being shot in the district that both have major international partners — they take the district to the world.

‘‘The great thing is it totally stimulates the domestic film economy.’’

Smith’s already pledged to involve more locals in his second series.

Local film industry veteran Brett Mills says having both shoots at once ‘‘means that everyone gets a suck of the sav’’.

‘‘The separation of Clyde/Cromwell and Queenstown is quite good as well, so they’re not shooting in each other’s territory, I guess.’’

He’s got no doubt Under the Vines will lean on local crew, especially given it stars Kiwi-born Aussie actress Rebecca Gibney, who’ll also be one of three executive producers.

Gibney and her husband Richard Bell lived in Queenstown for a time when the second season of their drama series, Wanted, was being shot.

‘‘I remember Richard talking effusively about the Queenstown crew, and her too,’’ Mills says.

‘‘He was saying the crew were inclusive, they were kind, they were helpful and when you’re stuck at 3000 feet and it snows, they knew exactly what to do.’’

Local Monarch Model Management owner Tracie Patel says having the shoots double up, along with rumours of two more coming up in Dunedin, possibly overlapping, ‘‘means it’s giving opportunities, not only to the people who regularly get the work when it comes, but allowing some new blood in’’.

One Lane Bridge and Under the Vines aren’t high-budget jobs, ‘‘but they’re high-quality, so we’ll take it’’.