Film about chief will be a 3-D first

Rachael Wilson's film Yakel pips Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, by a fortnight. Photo by Mark Price.
Rachael Wilson's film Yakel pips Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, by a fortnight. Photo by Mark Price.
Lake Hawea film-maker is set to deny Sir Peter Jackson's new 3-D movie The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, a prime place in New Zealand film history.

While the Hobbit premiered in Wellington last night, it won't begin screening in New Zealand cinemas until December 12.

And that will make it the second New Zealand-made 3-D movie to do so.

The first will be Rachael Wilson's film Yakel, A Real Life Story of Survival, which opens in cinemas tomorrow in Dunedin, Auckland and Wanaka.

It tells the story of the last days of Johnson Kowia, the 108-year-old chief of the village of Yakel on the island of Tanna, in Vanuatu, and his fears for the village's future.

Ms Wilson's film premiered in Dunedin two years ago but is only now being released nationwide.

Unlike The Hobbit, Yakel was made on a shoestring budget and its director, Ms Wilson, is now acting as distributor, selling the film wherever possible.

She said the film sold "really well" overseas but she was finding promoting the film in New Zealand this month an uphill battle because of the national media's focus on The Hobbit.

With just three people on the payroll, Ms Wilson considered Yakel to be at the opposite end of the film-making spectrum to The Hobbit.

mark.price@odt.co.nz