Resort takes centre stage as mini-series films in town

Top of the Lake director of photography Adam Arkapaw and film crew work on set with "Tui", played...
Top of the Lake director of photography Adam Arkapaw and film crew work on set with "Tui", played by Jacqueline Joe. Photo supplied.

"Great exposure" for Queenstown is on the way as Jane Campion and Garth Davis move the filming of their mini-series Top of the Lake to the resort's CBD this week.

The multimillion-dollar production has completed six weeks of shooting around the Wakatipu and is about to move into town for its next phase.

Top of the Lake New Zealand producer Philippa Campbell said the decision to film in Queenstown had been a good one.

"We're very grateful for the support Top of the Lake has received from the Queenstown community and, as we approach the halfway mark of the shoot, the impact of the unique beauty of the area and all the adventures it offers are constant reminders of why Queenstown is such a magnetic destination for film-makers from around the world."

Film Queenstown manager Kevin Jennings said the shoot was a great opportunity for Queenstown.

"We've had quite a few large-scale productions over the years but Top of the Lake is using Queenstown as Queenstown rather than as a double for somewhere else.

"It's great exposure for the town."

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Vanessa van Uden said not only was the mini-series "great for our profile", it was also providing a welcome boost for the economy in a traditionally quiet time of year.

The production will be filming in lower Beach St and Coronation Dr for 10 days from tomorrow.

The Ballarat St car park will be used as a base for large vehicles, which will affect the availability of parking.

"Parking capacity will be reduced while the shoot takes place," Mr Jennings said.

"People are advised to use the Boundary St car park instead, which will be available to Ballarat St car park leaseholders at no cost during this 10-day period."

Mr Jennings said Top of the Lake was just one production in what was turning into a "mini-boom" for the local film industry.

"The entire industry is pumping.

"In the six weeks that this television programme has been shooting, we've also had a music video, stills shoots, TV commercials, and two feature films in Otago and Southland.

"There are also two short films in pre-production.

"It's great to see the support all the projects are getting from the wider community."

Top of the Lake, from See-Saw Films, is being co-produced by UKTV in New Zealand and Australia, BBC Two in the United Kingdom and Sundance Channel in the United States.

Top of the Lake has also lodged resource consent to undertake temporary filming in reserve land at Kelvin Heights Peninsula, within a pine-tree plantation.

The proposal involves the construction and use of a pre-fabricated log cabin, which would be transported to and constructed within the site, with a 12m crane used to lift pieces into position and later remove them.

Vehicles, including camera, lighting, art department and grip trucks, would be located near the Kelvin Heights Golf Course Rd, while make-up, wardrobe and catering trucks would be among vehicles parked at the southern end of the pine plantation.

A marquee would also be erected as a base for the film crew.

The application sought consent between April 2 and May 4 inclusive, with filming to be carried out between April 25 and April 27, 24 hours a day.

"During the proposed days of filming there will be approximately 70 production crew and actors on site.

"Filming will be required 24 hours a day for the three proposed days of filming.

"The proposed film set will be protected by 24-hour-a-day security."

The application said the proposal would result in potential adverse visual effect, but these were considered "less than minor".


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