Murder on campus: Otago Uni students to feature in Hollywood horror

English actress Imogen Poots will star in a a remake of a 1974 cult horror film Black Christmas,...
English actress Imogen Poots will star in a a remake of a 1974 cult horror film Black Christmas, set to be filmed at locations in Dunedin including amid the Gothic Revival architecture of the University of Otago campus and North Otago. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
The University of Otago and  its students will star in a Hollywood horror film which is set to start filming next week.

Blumhouse Productions has confirmed it will be using Dunedin, North Otago and Otago University as locations in its new film Black Christmas.

It is set on a college campus where a group of female students are targeted by a mysterious killer.

The original movie was filmed in Toronto and the University of Toronto was used as the location for the fictional college setting.

The Otago Daily Times first reported the film was set to be shot in the city, earlier this week.

Candy Cane Productions location manager Phil Turner said Dunedin offered a great range of locations and the crew were loving working in the city.

Where possible local crew had been employed and students from the university's media, film and communications department would intern on the production, Mr Turner said.

On top of that, 75 students had been cast to appear as extras and senior executives from the production company would be presenting public lectures and classroom presentations.

A donation would also be made to a student charity and images from the filming will be released to the university for promotional purposes.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said Dunedin City Council staff had helped attract the production to the city and would continue to support the production company in a operational capacity.

"Dunedin is very pleased to see that productions of this kind are growing in number in and around the area.''

"It confirms that the city is open for business as a destination for film and television projects.''

There were more international and domestic screen production projects which were considering using the city in the next 12 months, Mr Cull said.

University of Otago media film and communications lecturer Dr Olivier Jutel said the department was delighted to support the project.

"We see this as an outstanding opportunity to provide our students with real and applied experiences in the industry,'' Dr Jutel said.

"It's worth making note of this company's fantastic reputation for producing critically acclaimed films that invert the conventions of the horror genre to create politically progressive texts.''

The number of screen productions coming to work in Dunedin and the surrounding region was growing and more than 75 film permits were issued in the city during the past two years.

Film Dunedin coordinator Antony Deaker said the positive impact film making had on the city was wide ranging and diverse.

Artists, tradespeople, extras, interns, transport companies all benefited, Mr Deaker said.

Form March 2018 to March 2019 there were more than 6,409 bed nights connected to the city's film industry, he said.

An independent New Zealand feature film was shot in Dunedin last month and filming for a Nadia Reid music video would take place this weekend.

In July Notable Productions would return to work on the Six60 biopic.

And casting took place earlier this month for another New Zealand feature filming in the city later this year.

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