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Big year on screen for Miramar’s movie companies

Big year on screen translates into award nominations for Miramar’s movie companies

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel in line for awards

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A big production year for the Wellington-based Miramar movie group has generated a raft of award nominations, technical awards and industry honours as the motion picture awards season ramps up.

Leading the way is the Academy Awards with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earning three nominations in visual effects (Weta Digital), sound mixing (Park Road Post Production) and sound editing.Iron Man 3, which Weta Digital worked on, was also nominated in the visual effects category. The Weta Digital visual effects team of Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds, are nominated for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; and their colleague Guy Williams is part of the team nominated for Iron Man 3.

The sound mixing team of Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson completed the mixing for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at Wellington’s Park Road facility, as did Brent Burge and Chris Ward, who are in the running for the sound editing award. The Academy Awards will be held on March 2 in Los Angeles.

At the Academy ceremony for the prestigious Science and Technology branch on February 15, members of the Weta Digital team will receive technical achievement awards for two innovations. One recognises the work of Martin Hill, Jon Allitt and Nick McKenzie for the creation of digital lighting system which has enhanced the ability of digital artists to quickly see the results of changing lights, materials and set layouts in digital environments. Their Weta Digital colleagues Dr Peter Hillman and Areito Echevarria will also be honoured with technical achievement awards for their work developing deep compositing which has supported advanced compositing workflows across the digital filmmaking industry.

Both The Hobbit and Iron Man 3 are also nominated in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, to be revealed on February 16 in London. The same visual effects team are up for the Special Visual Effects BAFTA. Weta Workshop founder and creative director Richard Taylor is part of the team nominated in the Make-Up and Hair category for their work on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He is nominated with Peter Swords King and Rick Findlater.

Richard Taylor is also nominated for the Costume Designers Guild Awards on February 22, together with Ann Maskrey and Bob Buck, for their work on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. They are short-listed in the Excellence in Fantasy Film category.

Production designer Dan Hennah has been nominated in the Art Directors Guild's Excellence in Production Design Awards, with his work on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earning a nomination in the Fantasy Film category. The awards will be presented on February 8 in Los Angeles.

Weta Digital’s busy 2013 is recognised with a raft of other industry nominations and awards, including nine nominations at the Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards on Feburary 12 with the company’s work onThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earning five nominations, Iron Man 3 picking up three, and Man of Steel one.

Weta Digital is also up for three Annie (animated) Awards on February 1 for its work creating both Gollum and the Goblin King for the previous Hobbit instalment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and animated effects on Man of Steel. (For a full list of nominations please see below).

This follows earlier industry recognition for Weta Digital and two of its luminaries. Peter Jackson, Joe Letteri and Weta Digital were jointly awarded a Vanguard Award recognising achievements in new media and technology, at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Sunday (January 19 US time). The award recognises their collective work and achievements on The Hobbit trilogy and other projects.

“Peter Jackson and Joe Letteri have created some of the most epic visionary fantasies in the history of filmmaking,” said PGA Awards Co-Chairs Lori McCreary and Michael De Luca.

“Through the development of groundbreaking technology and software, Weta Digital has redefined the possibilities for producers to create living, breathing worlds to house even their most fantastic stories.”

Weta Digital General Manager Tom Greally said both the team at Digital and the wider group of companies appreciate the recognition that awards bring.

"These awards and nominations are a testament to the ability and capacity of the team here to deliver world-class work across a range of film projects. For all the nominees and winners it is the ultimate reward for their dedication and effort. It’s fantastic to see the artistic and technical capability here in Wellington recognized on the global stage."

About Weta Digital: Weta Digital is one of the world’s premier visual effects companies. Led by Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri, Weta Digital is known for uncompromising creativity and commitment to developing innovative technology. For more information, visit

About Park Road Post Production: Park Road is a premier post production facility located in Wellington, New Zealand. Developed by filmmakers for filmmakers, Park Road offers a relaxing and inspiring environment for filmmakers to realise their vision. For more information, visit

About Weta Workshop: Weta Workshop is a multi-award winning conceptual design and physical manufacturing facility servicing the world's entertainment and creative industries. For more information,

About Wingnut Films: Wingnut Films is the production company of award-winning film-makers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. The company’s film credits include Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, Braindead,The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, King Kong, The Lovely Bones, Tintin and the documentaries West of Memphis and Forgotten Silver.
All four companies are part of a group of creative companies located in Miramar, Wellington, which also includes Stone Street Studios and Portsmouth Rentals.

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