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Historic Local Feature for Film Festival

A gloriously re-tinted early New Zealand feature film, The Bush Cinderella, will screen in the Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin Film Festivals this July.

The Bush Cinderella was the fourth feature film produced by pioneer film maker Rudall Hayward. Released in 1928, its mix of melodrama and high comedy was a runaway success with local audiences and it remains one of the great achievements of the early screen era in New Zealand.

The screenings in the Film Festival are the premier event in this year's 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.

This year is the centenary of Rudall Hayward's birth and the Bush Cinderella screenings are an acknowledgement of his great contribution to New Zealand film. Born in England in 1900, Rudall Hayward's family emigrated to New Zealand in 1905. He made his first film in the early 20's and continued working in the film industry for over 50 years until his death in 1974.

The Bush Cinderella is the story of Mary, an orphan girl who unwittingly becomes heiress to a fortune. When her Great Uncle enlists the help of his evil secretary to track her down, the plot turns to kidnapping, poison and murder. With time ticking away and only Cinderella's 'Prince' Lieutenant Neal Harrison and Sammy the lovesick farmhand to save her, will The Bush Cinderella make it in time ..?

On it's release The Auckland Sun heralded The Bush Cinderella as 'the most outstanding, in originality and theme and merit of production of any film yet produced in New Zealand' and commented that 'it shows the film industry in the Dominion, which is practically centered on the efforts of one man (Hayward) emerging from its days of infancy ... high class'

Shot in a variety of Auckland inner city and bush locations some of the films most exciting sequences reveal fascinating glimpses of late 20's Auckland. Racing against the clock the films hero must attempt a gallant rescue on board a cargo boat moored in Waitemata Harbour. A desperate drive down Queen St leads to the Admiralty Steps and a dramatic shipboard showdown. Takapuna Beach and other Auckland city street scenes including the Parnell Shops are also shown.

Described as 'the Brightest Star in Southern Skies', Dale Austen winner of the 1927 Miss New Zealand contest played 'the Bush Cinderella'. Austen had just returned from six months work experience in the stock company at MGM studios in Hollywood when filming began. Cecil Scott, 'a talented and handsome leading man' plays the Naval Lieutenant with whom 'Cinderella' falls in love. With some inspired clowning by a lovesick farmhand and an archetypal dastardly villain, The Bush Cinderella is rich in classic screen characters.

Rudall Haywards most widely known feature film is Rewi's Last Stand of 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.

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 which was released in 1972. Ramai remains an authority on Haywards' life and work, and was recently present at a special presentation in Helensville to celebrate the restoration of a rare 1927 poster for The Te Kooti Trail.

The Bush Cinderella was re-tinted earlier this year to match the original nitrate copy. Wellington composer Dorothy Buchanan was commissioned by the Film Archive with funding support by Creative New Zealand to produce an original score. This will be performed live by a chamber ensemble of piano, cello and clarinet at both screenings.

The Bank of New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Archive are pleased to present 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 New Zealand Film Archive's presentation at the 1999 Film Festival South was an enormous success and the Archive is confident The Bush Cinderella will attract equal attention in this years Festival.

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

Tickets available from Film Festival box-offices

For more information contact Mark Williams phone: 04 384 7647

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