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Vikings Eyeing New Zealand

IMMEDIATE RELEASE16 AUGUST 2002


Vikings Eyeing New Zealand

The prospect of a major feature film “The Last Viking” being filmed in New Zealand has emerged as a result of New Zealand film producer Samuel Miller attracting representatives of a Danish production company to Christchurch.

“We’re introducing Viking Productions of Copenhagen to the merits of filming this US$100m feature at least part in New Zealand and in utilising local production expertise,” Samuel Miller said at a Christchurch function to launch a new grouping of filmmakers called New Zealand Film Synergy.

Mr Miller’s production company Samuel Miller Films Ltd attracted the attention of Viking Productions from attending the international film festival at Cannes, France.

“With the ‘Lord of the Rings’ being such a stunning success there has been a huge lift in interest in New Zealand as a location and in using New Zealand expertise.”

“We decided to bring together film makers, associations interested in presenting projects and people from the financial community to see if they could pool their capabilities in our industry.”

“From this we anticipate that the prospects of co-producing both features and television shows with Northern Hemisphere companies are strongly enhanced. Everyone is very interested to see what we can do to attract major productions.”

Uffe Ziemelis of Viking Productions said “The Last Viking” involves the Scandinavian star Sven-Ole Thorsen, who has written the screenplay for the film with Cornelius O’Neil.

He was acclaimed for his role in “The Gladiator”. Mr Ziemelis says the feature would require a work-force of 500 and would involve major battle scenes involving up to ten full-scale Viking ships.

“It is a great adventure story and will be a high quality production.”

Mr Miller’s company’s currently has under development a potential series based on film industry celebrities flyfishing on location accompanied by high-profile New Zealand fishing guides.

The pilot for the series will star the New Zealand actress and producer Anna Wilding, who is president of Carpe Diem Films LLC.

Anna is about to start filming the feature film “The Dream” in Los Angeles.

Film Synergy also included screenwriters from New Zealand and the United States. The celebrated Austrian screenwriter Thomas Frank, who has written six feature films for German and Austrian television, said he is developing a screenplay that he hopes will be filmed in New Zealand. A thriller set in the 1930s, it is approaching storyboard stage.

Betsy Kawamura, president of the Emerging World Film Forum in Japan introduced her organization intentions to foster excellence in film-making by developing the necessary business infrastructure with industry professionals from both mature and emerging markets.

“We are hoping that we will be able to gather the required financial and administrative assistance from film related and non-film related industries, private individuals and governments with the vision to see how film can be a positive force for good around the globe.”

Warren Head, of Head Consultants Ltd, said that the film industry in New Zealand has obvious capacity to generate both significant foreign exchange for New Zealand, and employment growth in the regions.”

Many regions have had recent experience with the film industry coming to town and there is no doubt that it is a wonderful stimulant for the local economy. It is vital that the industry now develops an organised base to attract large productions on a regular basis. We must also be proactive and harness private capital needed to provide the sparkplug that ignites the opportunity for co-productions with overseas ventures.”

For Further Information Please Contact:Mr Samuel MillerSamuel Miller Films LtdTel (03) 377 1061Fax (03) 377 1935.Or Mr Warren Head,Head Consultants LtdTel (03) 3650344Fax (03) 3654-255


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