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Family adventure trilogy filming around Auckland

For Immediate Release:

Family adventure trilogy filming around Auckland

First ‘Treasure Island Kids’ movie on schedule for 2004 release

The second film in Daybreak Pacific’s Treasure Island Kids trilogy started shooting at Bethells Beach and Wenderholm this week.

Written by ex-pat Kiwi Gavin Scott (“Small Soldiers” for Steven Spielberg and “The Borrowers” for Polygram), - who also directed Treasure Island Kids – The Battle of Treasure Island is Daybreak’s first tilt at building a domestic market. Despite being the country’s most prolific filmmakers, the company has thus far concentrated on overseas sales with such kids’ movies as Lost Valley, Kids World and Ozzie.

Producers are Dale Bradley, Grant Bradley and Jozsef Fityus, with Executive Producers Mark Huljich and Steven Paul. Other credits include Production Designer Nigel Evans, Director of Photography Renaud Maire with casting by Lindsay Chag (USA) and Tracy Hampton (NZ).

Treasure Island Kids — The Monster of Treasure Island, directed by Auckland actor and director Michael Hurst (Hercules), follows the first in the trilogy Treasure Island Kids - The Battle of Treasure Island and paves the way for the third film Treasure Island Kids - The Mystery of Treasure Island in the trilogy of high-adventure family fun flicks.

Hurst, who is currently simultaneously directing both the second and third movies in the trilogy, praised the spirit of fun, enthusiasm and co-operation among cast and crew — despite the vagaries of Auckland’s weather which made the west coast location shoots “a challenge” this past week.

The trilogy’s ten-week shooting schedule is due to end mid-January and the producers predict the first of the three feature films will be released here in the middle of next year.

Randy Quaid (National Lampoon American Vacation, Not Another Teen Movie), who stars in The Battle of Treasure Island as a corporate high-flyer-turned evil deluded pirate, said the films harked back to the “good old days” of Hollywood movies.

“They remind me of the adventure books I read as when I was growing up,” said Golden Globe winner, Quaid before leaving Auckland for his home in California last week.

Local audiences will have fun recognising locations like Bethels Beach and Piha, on Auckland’s film-famous west coast, and Wenderholm, north of the city, which stands in for a remote South Pacific island. Interiors are being filmed at Daybreak Pacific Studios in Auckland.

The real fun, however, will be provided by the Boy’s/Girl’s Own-style storylines, a talented young ensemble cast mostly cast from New Zealand and funky sets and props created by production designer Nigel Evans.

Loosely inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Treasure Island Kids is a modern adventure tale that revolves around a summer camp on a remote South Pacific island, where an international group of youngsters unite in their bid to find the island’s fabled hidden treasure.

Charlie, a leader of the kids, is played by talented newcomer Niko Vella, an Auckland secondary school student with a striking on-screen presence.

Miranda, also a brave camper, is played by up and coming English actress, Sasha Tilley.

Auckland actors John Callen and Beth Allen play the camp’s owner, Conrad, and his niece Ellie.

The ensemble of young campers are played by a cast of New Zealander’s aged from seven to 18.

In the first film, Treasure Island Kids - The Battle for Treasure Island, the kids who arrive at the camp find themselves having to fight a band of bloodthirsty pirates led by Captain Flint (Randy Quaid) intent on getting the treasure.

Treasure Island Kids – The Monster of Treasure Island find kids and adults battling to save themselves from a terrifying sea monster — a supposedly extinct prehistoric reptile — and Treasure Island Kids – the Mystery of Treasure Island involves a talking statue which hides an alien reality that is stranger still.

Production Designer, Nigel Evans and the Treasure Island Kids art department gave their imaginations full rein in creating eccentric, Heath Robinson-style sets and props — like a giant tree house and fabulous treasure cave — that add to the films’ sense of fun and graphic adventure.


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