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A fictional documentary made for television about New Zealand film pioneer Colin McKenzie.

Peter Jackson tells the tale of visiting family friend, Hannah McKenzie, in his home town of Pukerua Bay. In Hannah’s shed sits a trunk of old film; “My pulse quickened. That told me that, whatever these were, they were not home movies”, recalls Jackson. Jackson took these precious nitrate films to Jonathan Morris at The Film Archive for preservation. What was revealed was an extraordinary collection of shorts, features, experimental, newsreels - “you name it, McKenzie did it.”

Leonard Maltin and Harvey Weinstein agree, this discovery puts McKenzie up there among the pantheon. “He really deserves a place among the luminaries of cinema”.
The drama proceeds with more startling discoveries. Colin McKenzie built his own steam- powered camera; filmed Richard Pearse’s first flight and made New Zealand’s first feature film Salome, high above the Lewis Pass in a hand-built city.

Morris, Botes and Jackson set out to find that city and the lost footage of Salome, buried by McKenzie after the death of his beloved lead actress. They succeed and pass the incomplete feature onto Pacific Film’s John O’Shea, who finishes the film in the style he thinks McKenzie would have wanted.

The NZ Film Commision’s Lindsay Shelton introduces the premiere of Salome to a packed Embassy theatre.

“This film documents the extraordinary life of Colin McKenzie, pioneer NZ filmmaker. It also follows the equally fascinating contemporary story of how the work of this forgotten genius was brought to light.

“Festival/Awards: 1996 - Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Hofer Filmtage, London BFI Film Festival, Los Angeles International Film Festival.” - New Zealand Film Commission;; 13/03/2014. 

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Year 1995

Reference number F25075

Source Moving Image Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Television

Duration 0:53:00

Production company Wingnut films

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Credits Director: Costa Botes Director: Peter Jackson Producer: Sue Rogers Executive Producer: Peter Jackson Executive Producer: Jamie Selkirk Director of Photography: Alun Bollinger Director of Photography: Gerry Vasbenter Writer: Peter Jackson Writer: Costa Botes Editor: Eric de Beus Editor: Michael Horton Music: Dave Donaldson Music: Steve Roche Music: Janet Roddick Cast: Johnny Morris 1st Assistant Director: Marty Walsh 2nd Assistant Director: Bryce Campbell Archive Film Restoration: Brian Scadden Archive Film Restoration: Geoff Rogers Archive Stills Restoration: Chris Coad Assistant Editor: Josie McClutchie Digital Enhancement: Matt Aitken Digital Enhancement: Frank Wegerhoff Funding: New Zealand Film Commission Genealogical Research: Liz Mullane Narrator: Jeffrey Thomas Production Designer: Jan Haynes Script Consultant: Frances Walsh Series Executive Producer: Caterina De Nave Sound Assistant: Brad Selkirk Sound Operator: Ken Saville;

Related Link

New Zealand Film Commission