Tag Archives: Variety Magazine

Warner’s Meg Helps Launch Kumeu Film Studio

Warner’s Meg Helps Launch Kumeu Film Studio

New Zealand’s newest production facility, the Kumeu Film Studio is to launch thanks to a three-way partnership built around the China-Hollywood co-produced, action-adventure film Meg, according to an exclusive story in Variety. The studio facility…

Sundance Grand Jury Winner Stars Melanie Lynskey

Sundance Grand Jury Winner Stars Melanie Lynskey

The presciently titled I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, starring New Plymouth-born actor Melanie Lynskey, pulled off a surprise victory at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Awards ceremony taking the grand…

NZ & Canada Sign Co-Production Treaty

NZ & Canada Sign Co-Production Treaty

New Zealand and Canada have “signed a co-production treaty that will allow enhanced film and TV industry cooperation between the two English-speaking territories,” writes Patrick Frater for Variety. “The treaty was signed…

Sam Neill to Play Texan Patriarch in TV’s The Son

Sam Neill to Play Texan Patriarch in TV’s The Son

New Zealand actor Sam Neill will star in the AMC television network drama The Son, playing the patriarch of a Texas family in a multigenerational story of the clan’s rise and fall. Production on the…

David Farrier’s Doco Tickled a Hit with Critics

David Farrier’s Doco Tickled a Hit with Critics

New investigative documentary, the “engrossing” Tickled, co-directed by New Zealanders David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, has received rave reviews from critics and punters after its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s…

New Zealand’s Post-Hobbit World

New Zealand’s Post-Hobbit World

Even after the end of Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of The Rings’ movies, the New Zealand film and TV business is thriving and “turning the land that once served as Middle-Earth into a host of…

Cliff Curtis on Returning to New Zealand to Produce

Cliff Curtis on Returning to New Zealand to Produce

New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis says that returning to New Zealand to tell local stories keeps him sane. “It sort of grounds me and gives me a sense of purpose,” said Curtis. His next project alongside…

Banshee’ Releases Final  Season Trailer

Banshee’ Releases Final Season Trailer

The trailer for the fourth and final season of small-town crime drama Banshee has been released. January 29 has been set as the show’s premiere date. New Zealand actor Antony Starr is starring as Lucas…

American Cinematheque to Honour Cliff Curtis

American Cinematheque to Honour Cliff Curtis

New Zealander Cliff Curtis, 47, who portrayed speed chess genius Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse, will be honoured by the American Cinematheque at a ceremony on 11 October at the Aero Theatre in…

Anna Paquin to Star Alongside Forest Whitaker

Anna Paquin to Star Alongside Forest Whitaker

Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Anna Paquin has been cast in a new role opposite Forest Whitaker in the epic television miniseries, Roots, which is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel as well…

Born to Dance at TIFF

Born to Dance at TIFF

“Auckland, New Zealand may seem a world away from the heart of hip-hop culture in the US, but the local dance crews featured in Born to Dance totally own it”, writes Justin Lowe for

Richard Taylor to Help Bring Monkey King to US

Richard Taylor to Help Bring Monkey King to US

Special effects maestro New Zealander Richard Taylor will direct the design of characters in the upcoming American film version of The Monkey King, a Chinese blockbuster. “There has been a rush to bring Western-originated movies to…

Jake Mahaffy’s Rare and Valuable New Film Lauded

Jake Mahaffy’s Rare and Valuable New Film Lauded

Jake Mahaffy’s evocation of a borderline unbearable true-life tragedy, Free In Deed is a bracing, bruising corrective to the “faith-based filmmaking” movement, according to Indiewire. The New Zealand-raised director’s third film, set in and…

On the True Detective Set With DOP Nigel Bluck

On the True Detective Set With DOP Nigel Bluck

Recently rated by Variety magazine as one of 10 cinematographers to watch, New Zealander Nigel Bluck, 43, has been working as director of photography on the second season of popular…

Niki Caro’s Latest Feature Hits the Ground Running

Niki Caro’s Latest Feature Hits the Ground Running

New Zealander Niki Caro is the director of McFarland, USA, a Disney film based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a predominantly Mexican-American high school starring Kevin Costner. McFarland,…

Jemaine Clement Stars as Israeli Fixer Opposite Sam Rockwell

Jemaine Clement Stars as Israeli Fixer Opposite Sam Rockwell

The Utah filmmakers who begat Napoleon Dynamite made a triumphant return to the Sundance Film Festival with New Zealand actor Jemaine Clement playing opposite American funnyman Sam Rockwell in Don Verdean, a movie about…

Melanie Lysnkey’s Togetherness Performance a Stand-Out

Melanie Lysnkey’s Togetherness Performance a Stand-Out

It’s hard to pinpoint what is brilliant about new comedy series Togetherness, but a good place to start is its casting of Melanie Lynskey, according to Salon television critic Sonia Saraiya. “Lynskey is a New…

Brazilian Filmmaker David Schurmann Heads Back to NZ

Brazilian Filmmaker David Schurmann Heads Back to NZ

New Zealand Film and Television School graduate, Brazilian film director David Schurmann, is shooting Little Secret, inspired by the life of his adopted sister Kat Schurmann, and written by Marcos Bernstein, scribe of Walter…

Roger Donaldson Remembers New Zealand Beginnings

Roger Donaldson Remembers New Zealand Beginnings

Before he became one of Hollywood’s most dependable big-movie helmers with hits for stars such as Eastwood, Pacino, Cruise, Costner, Hopkins, Statham, Brosnan, Roger Donaldson, 69, literally helped invent the film industry in New…

NZ-China Sign World-First TV Co-Production Agreement

NZ-China Sign World-First TV Co-Production Agreement

The New Zealand and China governments have signed what’s said to be a world first television industry co-production agreement, which is in addition to a feature film treaty signed in 2010 and is the…

‘What We Do In the Shadows’ Wins Hawaii Audience Prize

‘What We Do In the Shadows’ Wins Hawaii Audience Prize

“What We Do In the Shadows,” Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s New Zealand-made documentary-style comedy about three flatmates who happen to be vampires won the audience award for best narrative feature at the Hawaii International…

Weta’s Richard Taylor Takes on Thunderbirds Challenge

Weta’s Richard Taylor Takes on Thunderbirds Challenge

The idea to adapt half-century-old television series Thunderbirds began 12 years ago when New Zealander Richard Taylor an Oscar-winning visual effects, makeup and costumes wizard, went to the UK to ask for creator Gerry…

Andrew McCarten’s Stephen Hawking Biopic a Comprehendible Hit

Andrew McCarten’s Stephen Hawking Biopic a Comprehendible Hit

New Zealand screenwriter Anthony McCarten’s latest The Theory of Everything, which hits American cinemas on November 7, is “a sensitively directed inspirational biopic centred around the great British physicist Stephen Hawking and his mind-over-body…

Black Ranger Power Given to Local Actor James Davies

Black Ranger Power Given to Local Actor James Davies

New Zealand actor James Davies will co-star as Black Ranger (pictured, far left) in Power Rangers Dino Charge, with the television show confirmed to return to the country for filming of the latest series. Davies…

Star of Petals on the Wind Captivating

Star of Petals on the Wind Captivating

Star of television’s steamy Petals on the Wind, New Zealand actor Rose McIver, who plays Cathy Sheffield, “emerges as a captivating and surprisingly shrewd leading lady”, Variety reviewer Geoff Berkshire writes. “ up 10…

Darby’s Sexy Leg Confuses Variety

Darby’s Sexy Leg Confuses Variety

Rhys Darby’s new eight-episode mockumentary Short Poppies is being praised for its “whimsical and winsome” charms ahead of its debut on American screens on Netflix. The LA Times’ Robert Lloyd describes the series as…

Tinkerbell Now Brain-Eating Med Student in Zombie Series

Tinkerbell Now Brain-Eating Med Student in Zombie Series

Star of American series Once Upon A Time New Zealander Rose McIver, who played Tinkerbell in the show, has been cast in the lead role of medical student Liv in zombie crime fighter pilot,…

Shrewdly Cast Star of Free Ride Conveys Breezy Believability

Shrewdly Cast Star of Free Ride Conveys Breezy Believability

New Zealand actress Anna Paquin is “shrewdly cast” in Shana Betz’s feature debut, Free Ride. Set in 1977, Paquin plays Christina, a single mother escaping an abusive relationship and starting a new life in…

Campion to Preside over Cannes Jury

Campion to Preside over Cannes Jury

New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion will preside over the jury of the 67th Cannes Film Festival, succeeding last year’s president Steven Spielberg. This year’s festival takes place 14-25 May. Campion is the only female director…

Compelling Drama Fantasy Blend to Air in US

Compelling Drama Fantasy Blend to Air in US

New Zealand television series The Almighty Johnsons has been bought by American cable channel Syfy, marking the first time a wholly New Zealand-made television drama has aired in the United States. The NBCU cabler has…

South Africa and NZ Join Film Forces

South Africa and NZ Join Film Forces

Executives from the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) have been meeting with producers at the Durban FilmMart (DFM) to research potential development and co-production opportunities. Representatives from the NZFC and the National Film &…

Top of the Lake Receives Eight Emmy Nods

Top of the Lake Receives Eight Emmy Nods

New Zealand director Jane Campion mini-series Top of the Lake has received eight Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Miniseries of Movie, Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries and Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries. The New Zealand-shot…

New Zealander Directs “Engrossing” Documentary

New Zealander Directs “Engrossing” Documentary

New Zealand documentary film maker Sally Rowe is continuing to make an impression with her documentary A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt. The film is an “engrossing full-length documentary” that…

Jane Campion, ‘Child of Cannes’, Announces Festival Winners

Jane Campion, ‘Child of Cannes’, Announces Festival Winners

NZ Film Director Jane Campion headed up the Short Film and Cinefoundation Jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Campion and her jurors awarded the Best Short Film Palme d’or to Safe, directed by…

Class Written All Over It

Class Written All Over It

“New product from Bright Star director Jane Campion is always welcome,” the Guardian says about the New Zealander’s six-part television series, Top of the Lake, which is showing in the Berlinale Special section at…

Call It an Evocative Scowl

Call It an Evocative Scowl

Joe Dredd, played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban, 40, “is meant to be the most fearsome judge – but we don’t get to see many more of his kind around,” USA Today’s Claudia Puig writes…

Short Sequence, Sharp Response

Short Sequence, Sharp Response

A 10-minute sequence from Peter Jackson’s forthcoming two-part Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit has been shown to conference goers at the annual CinemaCon in Las Vegas. The conference featured a presentation from…

Talented Teen Enchants

Talented Teen Enchants

Director Pietra Brettkelly’s documentary Maori Boy Genius, which premiered at this month’s Berlinale, tracks 16-year-old Tuhoe prodigy Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti as he attends summer school at Yale and applies to study there full-time. “Ngaa carries…

Auckland’s Movie Coup

Auckland’s Movie Coup

Filming begins in Auckland on Hollywood blockbuster, WWII political-thriller Emperor this month at Henderson’s Auckland Film Studios. Lost heartthrob Matthew Fox, 45, stars. Inspired by true events, Emperor is an epic story of love and understanding set amidst the uncertainties…

Capital Hobbit Premiere

Capital Hobbit Premiere

Wellington will be the site of the world premiere for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in November 2012. “I think Warner Bros. in particular were blown away by Return…

On a Whizz-Bang Thrill Ride

On a Whizz-Bang Thrill Ride

The Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg motion-capture animation The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn opens in Europe on 22 October before hitting American cinemas ahead of Christmas. “Clearly rejuvenated by his…

Back to the Big Screen

Back to the Big Screen

New Zealand actress Anna Paquin is to star alongside Ryan Phillipe in independent comedy Straight A’s which is set in Louisiana. Phillippe portrays a man who’s been in and out of rehab for 1…

Mister Pip Makes Big Screen

Mister Pip Makes Big Screen

New Zealander Andrew Adamson will direct the film adaptation of Wellington author Lloyd Jones’ award-winning book Mister Pip, with Hugh Laurie, of television drama House to star. Adamson, who’ll direct the project from a…

Children Rule On Big Screen

Children Rule On Big Screen

Children’s television series, The Tribe, which was first produced in New Zealand, is being developed into a film in the United States. According to Variety, “Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop has already agreed to tackle…

Tamahori’s double

Tamahori’s double

Director Lee Tamahori’s latest film The Devil’s Double, a story about the body double for Saddam Hussein’s eldest son, will premiere at next year’s Sundance Film Festival. Tamahori, 6, best known for the 1994…

In the whanau

In the whanau

Producers of smash hit film Boy Ainsley Gardiner and Cliff Curtis took the independent producers of the year kudo at the New Zealand’s Screen Production and Development Agency conference in November. The cousins…

Recalling Rousseau

Recalling Rousseau

New Zealand-made documentary This Way of Life is a “gloriously photographed film” — “a story of a Maori family catapulted beyond mere portraiture and into a realm of metaphysics, melancholia and cosmic doubt”, writes…

Wartimes’ yarns touching

Wartimes’ yarns touching

The Gaylene Preston-directed film Home by Christmas is a “touching memoir” based on interviews which Preston “conducted with her now-deceased father” and “not only re-creates those conversations and their evocation of wartime yarns, but…

Kong is Back

Kong is Back

The King Kong attraction at Hollywood park, the first theme park attraction that Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-based f/x shop Weta Digital has created, reopens on July 1 after a devastating fire two years ago….

Like it or loathe it

Like it or loathe it

Wellington Airport-owned land on the hills of Miramar Peninsula could soon sport a Hollywood-style sign with the word ‘Wellywood’ erected in 3.5m high letters, that is, if it isn’t in violation of Hollywood’s trademark….

Way of life applauded

Way of life applauded

Hawkes Bay couple Tom and Barbara Burstyn’s documentary This Way of Life about a Maori family living a subsistence lifestyle has screened at the Berlin Film Festival to full houses and a Jury…

Return to self

Return to self

Flight of the Conchords duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement have ended their HBO series after two seasons. On their website, the pair said: “We’re very proud of the two seasons we made, and…

This way through love

This way through love

“The Topps defy logic,” writes Variety in a review of The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls — winners of the audience award for best documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival. “‘On paper,’ says their…

Production lift-off

Production lift-off

The New Zealand film industry is booming with “local helmers poised to soar again”. Whale Rider director Niki Caro’s The Vintners Luck, in which she reteams with her young Whale Rider star Keisha Castle-Hughes,…

Truly Awesome Victory

Truly Awesome Victory

Lower Hutt-raised Hollywood starlet Anna Paquin, 26, has won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama, awarded for her performance as Sookie Starkhouse in HBO’s vampire series True Blood, beating A-list…

Edwardian assortment

Edwardian assortment

Sam Neill stars in Toa Fraser’s second feature Dean Spanley which Variety reviews, describing the film as “immaculately cast”. “Based on an obscure novel by late Anglo-Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany, Alan Sharp’s screenplay…