NZ shines via Emperor at Toronto Film Fest
Emperor, a major Hollywood movie filmed in New Zealand, is to take centre stage at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival next month.
Directed by Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Emperor will have its world premiere at TIFF, which is regarded as one of the most influential international screen events and a launching pad for the Oscar season.
With the exception of two days in Japan, the entire film was shot at 32 locations in Auckland and locations in Wellington and Hamilton as well as at the Auckland Film Studios.
Film New Zealand, along with the regional film offices in Auckland, Wellington and Otago-Southland showcased New Zealand to international producers Gary Foster, Yoko Narahashi and Eugene Nomura and director Peter Webber in 2011.
Film New Zealand CEO Gisella Carr says there is intense international competition in attracting film productions, and Emperor is the perfect example of how New Zealand is able to transform great locations and local screen talent into wonderful international films.
The film is set in American-occupied Japan in the perilous and unpredictable days just after Emperor Hirohito’s World War II surrender. Matthew Fox (World War Z, Alex Cross), Academy Award® winner Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln, Hope Springs) and newcomer Eriko Hatsune star in this gripping tale of love and honour forged between fierce enemies of war.
“It was crucial the locations could depict post-war Japan, in particular Wellington’s Massey University became General MacArthur’s Tokyo headquarters, while Auckland’s former Southdown Freezing Works became bombed post-war Tokyo. Equally important was the reputation of our talented and creative New Zealand crews, who were key to the producers choosing New Zealand. We pride ourselves on being a centre of excellence with talented people and wonderful scenery. The overall package is a winning formula.”
New Zealand’s own Academy Award winning production designer Grant Major, costume designer Ngila Dickson, and Oscar nominated cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh were instrumental in encouraging the producers to film in New Zealand.
The production shot for 40 days in New Zealand with at least three hundred New Zealanders involved. New Zealanders made up more than half the 45 cast and extras. Emperor is a co-production between Fellers Film and Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment.