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"Hobbit" Director to Help Local Filmmakers

PRESS RELEASE – Thursday, 22nd October 2009


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Guillermo Del Toro

Oscar-winner Guillermo Del Toro may be a big guy in Hollywood circles but the director of The Hobbit is only too happy to help some of the local film industry’s “little guys”. He has pledged his name and support to a Q&A fundraising event for Wellington producer Bonnie Slater and director Sam Kelly’s first feature film, One for the Road. Billed as New Zealand’s first musical drama, it’s slated to shoot early next year and follows the fortunes of a struggling, small town band.

“We're thrilled to have Guillermo’s support,” Slater says. “He has not done any event of this kind in New Zealand before and it’s a coup to have attracted him to headline our fundraiser and help promote our cause. “I would have asked Guillermo to help make the film, but I know he’s overworked with projects abroad and, of course, that little low-budget film he’s shooting here soon called The Hobbit!”

“I’ve been pretty busy with various projects,” Del Toro acknowledges, “but talent lies in your choices. And I believe in Bonnie so I’m happy to help her where I can.”

Director Jonathan King, whose second feature, Under the Mountain, opens in NZ on December 10, will host An Evening With Guillermo Del Toro at the Paramount Theatre on November 11. “Jonathan is a talented director in his own right and we’re privileged to have him on board to facilitate the discussion,” Slater says. Audience members can submit questions for the Q&A format when booking tickets and also ask questions of Guillermo on the night.

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Sam Kelly, the 2008 Spada New Film-maker of the Year, will direct One for the Road; and Angela Littlejohn (Separation City) and Kerry Robins (Second Hand Wedding) will exec produce. The film stars Cohen Holloway, who was awarded Best Actor at this year’s Qantas Film & TV Awards for his portrayal of David Dougherty in the telefeature Until Proven Innocent and next will be seen in Taika Waititi’s new film, Boy.

One for the Road is based on the successful stage musical It’s A Whanau Thing, by Jamie McCaskill and Kelly Kilgour. “It’s very much art imitating life, life imitating art,” Slater says. “The actors in the stage production continue to play on as the band Smokey Feel in the real world and will continue to do so in the world of the film. And they’re awesome.”

While the fundraiser is designed to offer the production extra cash, investors will still be needed “to hit the right notes,” Slater says. “We’ve raised about a third of the budget through private investment and grants. Hopefully anyone wishing to talk further to us about it will be able to touch base with us at the fundraiser.” Anyone unable to attend the fundraiser but wishes to express an interest, can contact Bonnie Slater at producer@paradise.net.nz .

Tickets to An Evening with Guillermo Del Toro are now on sale through the Paramount Theatre in Courtenay Place.


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