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Canterbury Actress With Down Syndrome To Make Debut In New York Cinemas

Amber Ranson and her fellow cast from the short film Peninsula will soon be shining on the silver screens of New York City when the New Zealand production makes its official world premiere at the high-profile Tribeca film festival.

Producer Scott Flyger said the team was “thrilled” that Peninsula on Friday was officially selected in the shorts category of Tribeca’s 20th anniversary festival, which runs from June 9 -20.

“For an independent film of modest means to be selected by one of the world’s top tier festivals is no mean feat,” says Flyger.

The short-film was written by Fiona McKenzie and filmed in Banks Peninsula in 2019, and was set to feature at overseas film festivals last year, which had to be delayed due to Covid.

“Our cast, crew and supporters are very much part of this little film's success and Fiona and myself thank you all,” says Flyger

McKenzie had worked with Amber from Rakaia, south of Christchurch, in acting classes and said she had written the story with Amber in mind.

“Amber’sa strong performer and a strong character. Iknew sh ewas a strong enough person to enter a film set without blanching,” McKenzie said in an interview last year after filming was completed.

“Also, when people see Amber in this film they’ll think it’s a film about Down syndrome, which it’s not. I am so over these things having to be about disability just because people involved are disabled. Can’t we move on?”

Amber’s boisterous persona and sense of humour lit up the movie set and she said the film was “a piece of cake”.

“In one scene my character had to be dancing, so the crew put on Thunderstruck by AC/DC – one of my favourites. I busted the moves out and then off camera the whole crew was dancing with me.”

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