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New Disney fantasy to come to Henderson

20 October 2005

New Disney fantasy to come to the Henderson Valley Studios

Waitakere has scored another international film coup, with the announcement that Disney Corporation is coming back to the city to film another top children’s fantasy adventure.

Disney and co-producer, Walden Media have announced they will be filming The Bridge to Terabithia., at the Henderson Valley Studios and at various locations. The production will be based at Hobsonville.

“I understand the decision to film here is directly related to the strength of New Zealand special effects,” says Mayor Bob Harvey, who drove the decision to acquire the old Enza cool-stores in Henderson Valley Road and turn them into film studios.

Mr Harvey says the film will be based on the award-winning children's novel by Katherine Patterson. The story follows an 11-year-old boy who befriends a girl who is an outsider and together they build a world with magical creatures, and are changed forever.

Mr Harvey paid tribute to the role Film Auckland played in helping to secure the deal.

Waitakere and Auckland Cities helped create Film Auckland three years ago after Xena, Warrior Princess began winding down.

“People said the film industry would die after Xena but we believed that New Zealand in general and Auckland and Waitakere in particular had talent and other advantages that Hollywood and European producers simply couldn’t ignore.

“Together, we made a DVD about the places and people we offer, around the world. At the same time Waitakere bought the buildings that have become the Henderson Valley Studios – and we have never looked back,” he says.

“A measure of the success of film Auckland is that it is supported by two pro-active councils and partly by the fact that it works in close collaboration with the film industry. We endeavour to work the way film-makers work - and that is attractive,” he says.

Pre-production on Bridge to Terabithia is expected to start within the next few weeks with principal photography starting in late January 2006, for release in 2007

The film will be directed by Gabor Csupo, who created the Rugrats and Wild Thornberrys and worked on early episodes of The Simpsons.

Mr Harvey said he understood that renowned American director Martin Scorsese is also considering coming to New Zealand to make his next film, Silence. This is based on a 16th-century tale about Portuguese missionaries in Japan.

“We will be trying to interest him in using the studios if at all possible,” Mr Harvey says.


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