Mr Pip the Film to Screen First in New Zealand
Paramount Pictures has confirmed that New Zealand will be the first nation to see Mr Pip, the film, on general release. Mr Pip is set on the island of Bougainville during the vicious civil war that raged there for nine years. The film centres on the last white man on Bougainville, who reopens the local school in the midst of the war and inspires his pupils by reading to them from Great Expectations. The film deals with the impact that his decision, and the ongoing conflict, has on him, on his pupils, and on local community. The film was directed by New Zealander Arthur Anderson, and was shot on location in Bougainville, as well as in Timaru and Oamaru. Mr Pip stars Hugh Laurie, of House fame, as Mr Watts, the white man at the centre of the story. The film is adapted from the book of the same name, written by Wellington author Lloyd Jones. Mister Pip, the novel, won the 2007 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Overall Best Book Award. Lloyd Jones also wrote the film screenplay. New Zealand has a connection to Bougainville that goes well beyond the highly regarded book and making of the film. The New Zealand Government playing a decisive role in the peace agreement that finally ended the bloody conflict. New Zealand also contributed considerably to the highly successful peacekeeping mission that followed. The war was between local secessionists and the Papua New Guinea Government. At least 3,000 Bougainvillians died, though some put the death toll as high as 15,000. Mr Pip opens in New Zealand cinemas on October 3.