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Can NZ Movies Cut It In An International Market?

Media Release - Awa Press

15 July 2005

Can More New Zealand Movies Cut It In An International Market?

At What Price?

Debate raged about the quarter-million dollar cost of this year’s New Zealand contingent to the Cannes Film Festival.

Now comes the inside story of Cannes from the person who knows more about it than anyone else – top New Zealand film marketer, Lindsay Shelton (The Selling of New Zealand Movies, Awa Press, release date 20 July).

For 25 years, Shelton travelled to Cannes to sell New Zealand movies to international distributors on behalf of the Film Commission, handling feature films by Peter Jackson, Roger Donaldson, Jane Campion, Vincent Ward, Lee Tamahori, Gaylene Preston and numerous other directors, famous and unknown. His sales of Peter Jackson’s first movie, Bad Taste, in 1988 launched the director on his path to becoming one of the most influential directors in Hollywood.

Today the question looms larger than ever before: Does New Zealand need to spend increasingly large sums going to Cannes and other overseas film festivals and markets? What’s the return on the investment – to the industry and the country?

And, above all, do New Zealand movies have what it takes to succeed internationally?

The Selling of New Zealand Movies is a unique account of New Zealand’s bold forays into the international marketplace.

Famous Guardian (and now Evening Standard) film critic Derek Malcolm calls the book ‘eye-popping reading’. Academy Award-winning American producer Donna Gigliotti (Shakespeare in Love) says, ‘I loved this behind-the scenes story – fascinating and enlightening.’

Scott Meek, executive producer of Prick Up Your Ears and Sid and Nancy, found it compulsive reading: ‘Should you be interested in film, culture, self-expression, insane enthusiasm or any notion of national identity not defined by Hollywood, this is the book for you.’

Lindsay Shelton was also founder of the Wellington Film Festival, and in this capacity, and as long-time president of the Wellington Film Society, was engaged in some of the notorious censorship battles of the 1970s and ’80s.


The Selling of New Zealand Movies will be launched at 5pm on July 20 at the Embassy Theatre, Wellington, during the International Film Festival.

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