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Three world film premiers coming to Christchurch

14 July 2017

Christchurch is hosting three world premieres as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival including a psychological thriller shot in Banks Peninsula and the Catlins.

Human Traces is set in the Subantarctic islands in a fictional location based loosely on Campbell Island – 750 kilometres south of New Zealand.

It will be the centrepiece presentation of the festival’s Christchurch programme, which runs from 3 to 20 August.

YMCA documentary One Island of Good and water documentary Seven Rivers Walking – Haere Mārire will also premiere at the Isaac Theatre Royal.

Human Traces stars Sophie Henderson and Mark Mitchinson as a husband-and-wife scientist team sent to rid a Subantarctic island of pests.

When a mysterious young man (played by Vinnie Bennett, who attended Aranui High School's drama academy) arrives at the remote research station, secrets threaten the couple’s relationship.

Human Traces director and writer Nic Gorman says when he was researching the geography of Campbell Island, the upper slopes reminded him of Banks Peninsula, with its tussock spurs, volcanic rocks and sharp outcrops.

The film was shot over 25 days in Banks Peninsula and the Catlins.

“We amalgamated [Banks Peninsula] with the rugged and dramatic coastline of the Catlins to create our island on the screen,” Gorman says.

The production of the film involved a large contingent of Cantabrians.

Gorman was raised in Christchurch, about half the film crew were from the city and cinematographer John Chrisstoffels has been teaching filmmaking at the University of Canterbury for about 25 years.

The full festival programme for Christchurch is available online.

Check out some other films shot in our region:

  • Historic buildings at Ferrymead Heritage Park feature in The Stolen, a colonial drama filmed in Christchurch in 2016. The film crew also visited Ashley Gorge, Little River, Birdling's Flat, Arthur's Pass and Waikuku Beach.
  • The Changeover is set in post-earthquake Christchurch and filming locations included an empty site in the CBD, the residential red zone and a 1950s architectural home. It is due to hit Kiwi cinemas in September 2017.
  • Flock Hill, an area of unique rock formations near Arthur’s Pass, was the setting for the climactic great battle for Narnia in Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.
  • Mount Sunday in Hakatere Conservation Park provided the scenery for Edoras, the capital of Rohan, in The Lord of the Rings. Visitors can park their vehicles on Hakatere Potts Rd and walk to the site – though nothing remains of the epic set.
  • Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park provided a spectacular backdrop to aerial filming in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Lake Pukaki was chosen as the location for ‘Laketown’ in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
  • Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park featured prominently in 2000 survival thriller Vertical Limit. The blockbuster by Kiwi-born director Martin Campbell was about a climbing drama on K2.
  • Filming locations for Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson’s 1994 film about the Parker-Hulme murder, included Victoria Park, The Isaac Theatre Royal, The Sign of the Kiwi and an Ilam homestead.
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