New Zealand Offers Competition for Filmmakers

New Zealand, as a destination, is offering aspiring film-makers the chance to get their work in front of Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson.

The short film competition, "100% Pure New Zealand Presents Your Big Break"—launched in Wellington earlier this week—will give the top five entrants time working with the Academy Award-winning team responsible for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Your Big Break finalists will shoot and direct their own short films on location in New Zealand, with the assistance of The Lord of the Rings executive producer Barrie Osborne and world class post-production facility Park Road Post, in Wellington.

Peter Jackson will view and judge the completed films, and the winning film will be shown on US television.
"Your Big Break is asking people to capture the essence of 100% Pure New Zealand and tell the world their story of how they see the youngest country on earth," Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said, adding that the support of Jackson and Osborne "will help ensure the project is noticed by the world’s film industry, give it international reach and, we hope, result in some great stories."

Barrie Osborne, who will be on hand to provide advice during the production period, says he is excited by the prospect of working with young film-makers and returning to New Zealand’s incredibly varied landscapes.

"It’s got awe-inspiring beauty—all the way from the mountain ranges and lakes of the South Island, to the fiords and the ski fields, to the almost sub-tropical areas of the North Island," Osborne said. "As producer of The Lord of the Rings, I can tell you New Zealand is an incredible place to shoot in - and anyone who has the opportunity to get their work judged by Peter Jackson has an opportunity of a lifetime."

A dedicated website offers advice and insights from Peter Jackson and Barrie Osborne, the competition brief and information on the timeline for production. Submissions and voting will open on December 9. The closing date for submissions is January 15, 2010.

To enter the first round of the competition, aspiring directors must submit a screenplay and any supporting content they think will help their selection for the New Zealand shoot. The screenplay must be for a three-minute short film that captures the spirit of New Zealand.

Members of the public can vote for the "People’s Choice" finalist—and four further finalists will be chosen by an expert panel including Barrie Osborne.