Quirky independent feature shoots in Christchurch
August 15, 2008
Quirky independent feature film to be shot in Christchurch
An indie feature film is in pre-production in Christchurch with shooting scheduled to start in December.
Called The Holy Roller, the $100k low budget film is a religious-themed comedy drama in the vein of Sister Act, Vicar of Dibley etc but with a Kiwi flavour. The film has already gained international interest and is booked for a rough cut screening to potential distributors in Los Angeles in July.
Casting is taking place in Christchurch this week, with around 25 actors trying out for the main six roles. Production will involve a crew of around 50 plus extras for crowd scenes.
Screenwriter and actor Angus Benfield said the film explores the range of complications associated with people encountering God, church, faith and deception. The plot centres around Luke, a struggling pastor who is faced with his own hypocrisy and the unlikely places true faith can be found.
Christchurch-based Benfield (33) has been in the screen industry since he was 14 years old.
“This particular film was inspired by my own journey when I pulled out of acting in a high profile TV show in Australia to pursue a role as a preacher,” Benfield says.
“After a long, winding road, I realised my true calling was acting. From that came script writing and a bit of producing and directing. It’s taken me years to write this but as you can imagine I am pretty stoked that it’s finally about to be made."
As well as acting on the small screen, Benfield’s experience in the industry includes short films, TV pilots, feature film Wait up Harriet (2006), some producing (Meet Me in Miami) and his day job is in film distribution.
The Holy Roller will be directed by the experienced and award-winning Patrick Gillies, who was recently selected by Martin Campbell as one of New Zealand’s top up and coming film makers, having shown films at Cannes and won independent film awards.
The Holy Roller has picked up a Los Angeles-based producer, Mark Freiburger, who recently shot a film with Will Patton (Armageddon). Freiburger has come on board to help negotiate US distribution.
The film will be shot on the new Red camera in ultra high definition.
Shooting is due to start in December with a rough cut booked for screening to potential distributors in Los Angeles next July.
The film is expected to be available to New Zealand audiences late next year.