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Environmental Issues And LOTR Intertwine On Doco

2 November 2005

Environmental Issues And LOTR Intertwine On Doco

The Lord Of The Rings and environmental issues join together in a series of three half-hour documentaries made by Auckland film-maker David

The Middle-earth Connection includes clips from Peter Jackson's movies of The Lord Of The Rings as a frame of reference for environmental issues in 'the home of Middle-earth' - New Zealand.

They are scheduled to be broadcast on TV One at approximately 4.30pm on Saturdays 5, 12 and 19 November (see listings publications for exact times).

"There are clear environmental values in The Lord Of The Rings," says Jacobs. "The books promote what we would these days call sustainability. True to those values, Peter Jackson's movie trilogy doesn't just feature glorious footage of our natural environment. In their narrative and dialogue the movies encourage us to identify with our environment and to care for it."

Jacobs hopes that The Middle-earth Connection will help to encourage a positive relationship with our environment. "I like to make films which connect emotionally with people and explore a way forward out of problems without polarising the issues," he says.

The documentaries were broadcast on BBC World earlier this year with narration by Anita McNaught. They will now be broadcast on TV One with a new narration by Craig Parker, who played Haldir the Elf in The Lord Of The Rings.

The music in the documentaries is by Goldenhorse, Mark Skelding and Dimmer.

1. Caring For The Woods - TV One, Saturday 5 November, 4. 25 pm In The Lord Of The Rings our forests gave virtuoso performances as the woods of Middle-earth. And like the woods of Middle-earth, the forests of New Zealand are not immune from destructive forces. The trees are under attack from a predator just as voracious as Saruman's orcs. Is it really as Treebeard laments - does nobody care for the woods anymore? This first documentary in the series looks at the challenge of sustaining our native forests.

2. Growing Things - - TV One, Saturday 12 November, 4.30pm approx The Lord Of The Rings was a showcase for New Zealand's stunning scenery - not just our mountains and wilderness, but also our rural landscapes which provided the setting for the Shire. Farming is just as vital to New Zealand's wealth as it is to the fictional Shire. With its clean, green Middle-earth image, New Zealand cannot afford to ignore the reality of how farming affects our environment. This second documentary looks at environmental challenges for rural New Zealand.

3. Changing The Future - TV One, Saturday 19 November, 4.30pm approx The Lord Of The Rings revealed the wilderness of New Zealand to movie watchers worldwide. But while our wild places are a big draw for both New Zealanders and a growing number of visitors, most of us actually live in cities. And it is in our cities that most of us put our environment at risk. In this final instalment of the Middle-earth trilogy, the focus is on New Zealand's urban and industrial challenges.

The Middle-earth Connection was written, produced and directed by David Jacobs for Connected Media Trust. It was produced in association with Television New Zealand (TVNZ) and Television for the Environment (TVE). It was made with support from The Body Shop, Ministry for the Environment and NZ On Air.


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