A host of New Zealand cinema heavyweights are about to roll into Queenstown.
Filming’s due to start mid-month on Pulling Up Stumps, a 10-minute comedic drama about two Southern blokes and one interfering rooster.
The short film’s the brainchild of Arrowtown-based writer and director Elinor Teele, based on an event that happened to her grandfather in an Otago woolshed setting, inspired by her father David Teele’s workshop near Arrowtown.
It stars Ian Mune, 82, a renowned actor/director and producer involved in some of New Zealand’s most famous film and TV productions, like Sleeping Dogs, Goodbye Pork Pie and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
He plays a grumpy old man who goes into a converted woolshed to fix his wife’s ageing blender.
There he meets a chatty stranger, played by Mark Mitchison, whose credits include The Luminaries and The Hobbit, and an irksome rooster, Geovarni, which has already starred in another local short film, Maunga Cassino.
Alun Bollinger, cinematographer on Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners, is coming down from the West Coast to step behind the camera, while local legend Brett Mills, owner of Queenstown Camera Company, will be providing equipment for the shoot.
Along with a host of experienced Otago technicians, two Wakatipu High School students, Jack Trounce and Jack Smillie, will be production runners.
Teele: ‘‘I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and expertise of the crew in the Queenstown area.
‘‘Many in our team have worked on prestigious international productions, but they’re still willing to pitch in and support local creatives on a small project.’’
Teele sourced initial funding through a Boosted campaign and seed funding, but it’s also being backed by Mills’ company and corporate sponsors including Avis Queenstown, Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel and Department of Post.
‘‘We could never have arrived at this point without locals,’’ Teele says.
‘‘Arrowtown neighbours are building parts of the set.
‘‘Farming families have been lending us tools and props.
‘‘Otago blokes are making sure we get the details right.
‘‘It’s a story about the passing of old ways, so it feels right that many people who remember Central ‘as it was’ are now part of the film.’’
Pulling Up Stumps is being co-produced by Emma Martini, of Christchurch’s FrameUpMedia, and Tauranga-based writer and producer Phillida Perry, of Daughter.
Perry says they’d like to submit the film to NZ and international film festivals towards the end of autumn — if it’s accepted, ‘‘we’ll have the chance to show it to local audiences within festival line-ups’’.