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An international showreel that’s truly epic

We are proud to be the backdrop for some of the world’s most epic cinema. Our local crew have their names etched on the history books and award trophies of many a blockbuster. Content producers are spoilt for choice when it comes to locations to film in New Zealand and Canterbury. Check out some of these films and TV commercials that showcase the crew capabilities, intriguing locations and outstanding scenery in the Southern Alps, Canterbury and West Coast regions.

Mulan (2019)

Director: Niki Caro,
Walt Disney Studios 

A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. The film is a live-action feature film based on Disney's 'Mulan' (1998).

Mackenzie Basin has had a reputation for staging battle sequences in the ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films and also in the remake of ‘Mulan’(1998). It's an unbelievably expansive place for large action sequences or wildlife chases that can be filmed on a terrain suggestive of grasslands.

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Only Cloud Knows (2019)

Director: Feng Xiaogang
Emperor Motion Pictures

A is a middle-aged Chinese man living in New Zealand. He has been suffering from sorrow and loneliness ever since the death of his beloved wife. Unable to overcome his grief, he decides to retrace the journey he shared with his wife and fulfill a dream that she never had the chance to fulfill. 

Some of the filming locations included the unique coastlines of Kaikoura and the alpine environment of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook.

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Screen Canterbury Aoraki Snow Capped

Letter for the King (2019)

Director: Alex Holms
Film Wave & Netflix

Tiuri, a teenage squire, answers a call for help that sends him on a perilous mission across the three kingdoms to deliver a secret letter to the King.

The film was shot on Braemar Station with a back drop comprising of Aoraki Mount Cook and the majestic blue waters of Lake Pukaki.  

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The Luminaries (2019)

Director: Claire McCarthy
BBC 

‘The Luminaries’, starring Eva Green, tells an epic story of love, murder and revenge, as men and women travelled across the world to make their fortunes. This 19th century tale of adventure and mystery unfolds in the boom years of the 1860s gold rush. 

The story of West Coast’s history is revealed.  The West Coast is also the actual location of the shoot.

Screen Canterbury Lake Pukaki

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Director: Ava DuVernay
Walt Disney Studios

This epic adventure takes us through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides. Here we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel while being guided by one’s own light.

The stunning blue waters of Lake Pukaki were transformed into the utopian planet Uriel in Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’.

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Screen Canterbury The Stolen Charlotte Corktown

The Stolen (2017)

Director: Niall Johnson
Cork Films

The movie tells the story of a woman who must find her kidnapped son, navigating a world she doesn't know while being on the edge of danger with every heartbeat.

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.

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Human Traces (2017)

Director: Nic Gorman
Producer: Nadia Maxwell

When a mysterious young man arrives on a remote Sub-antarctic research station, secrets threaten the relationship of a married couple trying to return the island’s ecosystem to its natural state.

Human Traces is set in a fictional location based loosely on Campbell Island – 750 kms south of New Zealand, and was shot amongst the tussock spurs, volcanic rocks and sharp outcrops of Banks Peninsula and at the Catlins.

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Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express (2016)

Kenneth Branagh
Twentieth Century Fox

When a murder occurs on the train on which he's travelling, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case.

Plates were taken of the Tranz Alpine’s grand location to double for the Swiss Alps. This passenger train is said to be one of the greatest train journeys of the world and runs from the Canterbury to the West Coast. New Zealand was chosen for the crew’s ingenuity, together with the right terrain and weather conditions.

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The Canterbury Plains

Sun Set Song (2016)

Director: Terence Davies
Hurricane Films

The tale of a daughter of a Scottish farmer, who comes of age in the early 1900s. A beautiful depiction of a period of a young Scottish woman’s life covering her high hopes and dreams situated within the trauma of war.

Shot in the Canterbury plains which was the perfect setting to double as the Scottish Highlands.

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Z for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah (2016)

Director: Craig Zobel
Lionsgate 

Port Levy on Banks Peninsula is where an old farmhouse became the refuge of a young woman played by Margot Robbie, who thinks she may be the last person alive.

The sunny hills and valleys of the peninsula look tranquil in the film and the fictional disaster that destroyed that world seems like a work of art. 

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The Changeover (2016)

Director: Miranda Harcourt
Firefly Productions 

A young girl is drawn into a supernatural battle with an ancient spirit who threatens her family.

‘The Changeover’ is set in post-earthquake Christchurch and filming locations included an empty site in the Central Business District, the residential red zone and a 1950s architectural home.

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Screen Canterbury Mt Sunday

Slow West (2015)

Director: John Maclean
See-Saw Films 

A young Scottish man travels across America in pursuit of the woman he loves, attracting the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide.

'Slow West' follows a 16-year-old boy on a journey across 19th Century frontier America in search of the woman he loves, while being accompanied by a mysterious traveller called Silas.

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Screen Canterbury Sunday Press Fence

Sunday (2014)

Director: Michelle Joy
Fighting Chance Films

The story, set one year after the Christchurch earthquakes, follows a couple who are having a child but are no longer together. They spend the next 24 hours discovering whether or not they can rebuild their relationship and have a future together as a family. 

Christchurch at that time, ravaged by a recent quake, provided the perfect back drop for a crumbling relationship.

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The Hobbit (2012)

Director: Peter Jackson
WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM

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’.

The stunning Lake Pukaki was chosen as the location for Laketown in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’. Braemar Station at Lake Pukaki was used in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ to portray epic scenic shots, the Warg chase and the approach to Rivendell.

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Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005)

Director: Andrew Adamson
Walt Disney Pictures

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’.

High in the Southern Alps of the South Island is an area of tortured rocks and dramatic valleys known as Flock Hill. It was here that director Adamson created the scenes for the great battle of Beruna.

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‘The Lord of the Rings’ films (2001, 2002, 2003)

Director: Peter Jackson
New Line Cinema, WingNut Films

Mount Sunday in Hakatere Conservation Park provided the scenery for Edoras, the capital of Rohan, in the ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films. 

Twizel's alpine magic was captured on-film in both ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ and the ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Part of the Warg chase was filmed here besides the largest battle scene that has been depicted on celluloid, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

This stunning location in Canterbury is the backdrop for Edoras, the capital of Rohan. You can easily picture where the Edoras set was on top of Mount Sunday in the ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.

Mt. Gunn on the West Coast was one of the stunning locations where the beacons were lit between Gondor and Rohan in the ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy.

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Vertical Limit (2000)

Director: Martin Campbell
Colombia Pictures

A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world's biggest mountains.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park featured prominently in this film which is about a climbing drama on K2.

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Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Director: Peter Jackson
Wingnut Films

Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Filming locations for ‘Heavenly Creatures’ included Victoria Park, The Isaac Theatre Royal, The Sign of the Kiwi and an Ilam homestead.

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And the list goes on...

  • Bride Flight, Director Ben Sombogaart, Samsa Film
  • Dororo, Director Akihiko Shiota, Nature Spirit Film Productions
  • Meet Me in Miami, Director Eric Hannah, Palm Tree Productions Ltd
  • Perfect Strangers, Director Gaylene Preston, Gaylene Preston Productions
  • Kaitangata Twitch, Director Yvonne Mackay, Production Shed TV
  • Das Paradies am Ende der Welt, Director Thomas Hezel, General Film
  • Honeymoon in New Zealand, Polyphon Films Germany
  • Over the Rainbow, MBC Korea
  • Hope and Wire, Director Gaylene Preston, Gaylene Preston Productions
  • The Frighteners, Director Peter Jackson, Anglia Television

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Bree Loverich
Screen CanterburyNZ Manager
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