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Major NZ Film Legacy to be deposited

The New Zealand Film Archive is pleased to announce it will shortly receive a major collection of films made by one of this country's most important film makers Rudall Hayward, including work completed over a 36 year period with his wife Ramai Hayward.

The collection is being deposited by Rudall's widow Ramai who worked for over thirty years with Rudall as an actor, scriptwriter and editor. This year is the centenary of Rudall Hayward's birth and Ramai has chosen to deposit the films with the Archive on what would have been Rudall's 100th birthday, July the 4th.

A restored print of Hayward's 1928 feature The Bush Cinderella screens this July in the Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin Film Festivals. The Festival screenings are the premier event in the Bank of New Zealand Travelling Film Show which has been touring film screenings from the collection of the New Zealand Film Archive around the country.

Rudall Hayward's most widely known feature film is Rewi's Last Stand (1940) which was a sound remake of his earlier silent version made in 1925. Other early Hayward works include My Lady of the Cave, The Te Kooti Trail, A Takapuna Scandal and a number of two-reel community comedies, of which only three survive.

The Hayward name has been synonymous with New Zealand film since the early 20th century. Born in England in 1900, Rudall Hayward emigrated with his family to New Zealand in 1905. In the 1910s Rudalls father and uncle went into the motion picture business, at one time owning more than thirty cinemas throughout the country. Rudall made his first film in the early 20s and continued working in the film industry for over 50 years until his death in 1974, making his career one of the longest of anyone in motion pictures in the world.

Hayward's first film, a two reel comedy The Bloke from Freemans Bay, was made in 1923. On opening night Rudall called the police and fire department and reported a riot at the theatre. The resulting notoriety catapaulted the film to capacity houses in Queen St.

When sound came into motion pictures in the late 1920s Hayward constructed his own sound camera and optical sound system over a two year period, using it to film George Bernard Shaw's visit to New Zealand and over a decades worth of newsreel and feature films.

The Film Festival screenings of The Bush Cinderella are further acknowledgement of Rudall Hayward's great contribution to New Zealand film. Released in 1928, The Bush Cinderella was the fourth feature film produced by Hayward. With a mix of melodrama and high comedy, it was a runaway success with local audiences and it remains one of the great achievements of the early screen era in New Zealand.

The film combines all the drama of a Hollywood feature with homegrown locations and stars, including Miss New Zealand 1927 Dale Austen, just returned from three months in Hollywood and walk-on parts in several MGM films. The Bush Cinderella screenings will feature a gloriously re-tinted print and the rare spectacle of live chamber ensemble accompaniment.

Hayward met his second wife, Ramai, during the re-make of Rewi's Last Stand, and they went on to make numerous films together, the last of which was To Love A Maori (1972). She is credited as New Zealand's first female cinematographer.

The Haywards worked as film makers in New Zealand, Britain, Australia, USA and China. Ramai scripted the documentaries she and her husband filmed in China in 1957, the first english language documentaries made there since the beginning of Communist rule in 1949. They later returned to New Zealand where Ramai made several educational films and documentaries. Ramai is currently writing Rudall Hayward's biography and was recently at a special presentation in Helensville to celebrate the restoration of a rare 1927 poster for The Te Kooti Trail.

Jane Paul of the New Zealand Film Archive says "The Hayward collection will be amongst the most important collections of films ever deposited with the Archive. The Haywards were true pioneers of film in this country". The Archive is very excited about this significant new collection. While the exact number of films is unknown the Archive understands that there is enough material to fill a van, and the possibility of discovering previously unseen footage.

Bank of New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Archive are pleased to present the Film Festival screenings of The Bush Cinderella as the showpiece of the nationwide Travelling Film Show. Bank of New Zealand are the Principal Sponsor of the Travelling Film Show 2000, a fitting sequel to their sponsorship of the nationwide Last Film Search project.

The Bush Cinderella screens at the following venues, dates and times;

Auckland, Civic Theatre, Tuesday July 11th at 6.15pm Wellington, Embassy Theatre, Tuesday July 18th at 6.30pm Dunedin, Regent Theatre, Sunday July 30th at 3.30pm

For more information contact Mark Williams phone: 04 384 7647

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