Film-maker tries to suppress images

Christchurch Press, 31 August 2000

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The company behind the Lord of the Rings movie is flexing its legal muscle to try to stop the public getting images of the film's sets and characters.

Film publicist Claire Raskind yesterday said the film production company, Three Foot Six, claimed copyright on pictures taken by The Press of a Lord of the Rings film set in Mid-Canterbury.

Photographs of the stunning set of Edoras, the capital city of Rohan in Tolkien's Middle Earth, appeared in The Press on August 23.

Shots of the extensive site rising above the Rangitata River were taken from public land.

Photographs appearing in The Press can be bought by the public for private use as a matter of course. The film- maker has also moved against Wellington's Evening Post newspaper, which was to sell posters made up of images from the $360 million movie. Under threats of an injunction, the newspaper has withdrawn the posters from sale.

The Press has been warned to expect a lawyer's letter today.

Filming of Lord of the Rings is continuing in Golden Bay, where the weather caused disruptions yesterday.

Scenes were shot yesterday on Mount Olympus, in Kahurangi National Park, but the location changed at short notice to Canaan Downs, the former site of the Gathering dance party, after conditions became unsafe.

Low visibility and rain combined to drive the actors and crew off the 1500m mountain.

Claire Raskind said filming would also take place at a Takaka Hill location.

While the film-maker moves to prevent access to images from the film, the Defence Force has refused The Press' Official Information Act request for information about the army's involvement in the movie. The details sought contained information supplied by the film company "on the basis of confidence", the army said.

The Defence Force has, however, disclosed the army assisted the film company to construct a Waikato road last year and provided up to 250 extras for battle scenes in the central North Island in April and May. The army would also provide extras for battle scenes in the South Island in September. About 110 personnel would be supplied for three weeks.

The support was provided in co-ordination with normal training activities, the Defence Force said. Costs had been shared. The film company paid for transport to film sets, meals, and appropriate allowances.


Caption: PHOTO: DON SCOTT Remote but visible from a public road: Peter Jackson's vision of Edoras overlooks the upper reaches of the Rangitata River. PHOTO: NELSON MAIL Lord of the Rings crew members lead a horse during filming in Canaan Downs on top of the Takaka Hill.

Martin van Beynen, Christchurch Press, 31 August 2000

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