Hopes for 'Hobbit' work in Wakatipu

Southern film chief Kevin Jennings has high hopes many scenes for The Hobbit movies will be filmed in the Wakatipu next year.

"We sincerely hope to see as much as possible of The Hobbit filmed in the area," Mr Jennings, the manager of Film Otago Southland, said yesterday.

His comment followed the announcement on Sunday The Hobbit would begin filming in February 2011 after it was finally approved by film-studio directors.

Mr Jennings said Film Otago Southland played a support role in looking for locations to shoot major films.

"For a film of this size, the calibre of people who are location-scouting will be very high.

"We will act as a support role if they need assistance," he said.

Mr Jennings could not confirm whether location investigations for the production had already begun in the Wakatipu area.

"I would imagine some scouting across the world has already started but a lot of the scouting bodies will have familiarity from the Lord of the Rings trilogy," Mr Jennings said.

Some scenes from the Oscar-winning trilogy were filmed in Wakatipu locations.

Warner Bros has announced Lord of the Rings director Sir Peter Jackson will produce the two-part 3D prequel.

Production of the two films is expected to take place back to back.

Last month, production of The Hobbit appeared in jeopardy when Sir Peter warned production could be moved from its location in New Zealand over a pay dispute with actors' unions.


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