Press Release – New Zealand Film Commission
General Film Corporation of Auckland announced today that production is underway in New Zealand for Beyond the Edge, a 3D feature film about Sir Edmund Hillary’s monumental and historical ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953 – an event that stunned the world and defined a nation.
One of the greatest adventure stories of all time will come to life on the big screen and be ‘re-lived’ as never seen before using original colour footage and photographs from the time as well as dramatic re-creations of the assault. The film that will document the epic journey of a young Ed Hillary – a man from modest beginnings who overcame his own demons and battled nature’s raw cruelty to conquer the highest peak in the world.
The film is to be produced by Matthew Metcalfe, (DEAN SPANLEY; LOVE BIRDS) and is written and directed by Leanne Pooley (THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS; SHACKLETON’S CAPTAIN)
BEYOND THE EDGE’s main focus will be the climb itself. While the world acknowledges that Sir Ed and Tenzing Norgay “knocked the bastard off”, few people really know the details of just how they managed it, or understand the relatively primitive tools (by today’s standards), they had available to achieve success. They carried the hopes and dreams of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the people of the Himalaya and the entire British Empire on their shoulders. As theworld slowly recovered from the horrors of the second world war their efforts allowed people everywhere to believe a new age was dawning.
Producer Matthew Metcalfe said “It is an honour to produce a film about one of New Zealand’s greatest heroes and bring this epic tale to the big screen together with a team of talented world-class filmmakers and technicians, for an audience to enjoy in cinematic 3D. It will be breath-taking.”
Director Leanne Pooley said, “BEYOND THE EDGE is a gift for a filmmaker. Like the conquest of Everest itself, BEYOND THE EDGE will be a film that pounds a stake in the ground establishing once and for all that Sir Edmund Hillary’s triumph on top of the world wasn’t just a huge accomplishment, but an epic story that helped to define a nation. It is my goal to take every Kiwi on a journey up the mountain on an adventure that will remind them of what it is that makes us who we are.”
BEYOND THE EDGE has the blessing of the Hillary family with Sir Ed’s son Peter commenting this week from Nepal “At last a chance to tell Ed Hillary’s Mt Everest story! I am delighted that this story is finally coming to New Zealand screens and lookforward to my family and I joining the filmmakers at the premiere.”
The Royal Geographical Society in London (whose expedition the 1953 assault on Everest was part of) is supplying access to both photographs and original materials from this historic event.
Casting is about to begin with accomplished casting director Liz Mullane (the LORD OF THE RINGS films and THE HOBBIT) leading the search to find a New Zealand actor ready to take on the demanding role of playing (arguably) our nation’s greatest icon, Sir Edmund Hillary. Getting Ed’s distinctive look, personality and imposing physicality right is paramount in the filmmakers minds so working with someone with Liz Mullane’s experience is a key part of bringing this amazing story to the big screen.
The Production Designer is Grant Major (EMPEROR), an Academy Award® winner for his work on LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING.
Post Production of the 3D film will be handled by New Zealand’s first Digital Post Production facility, Auckland based Digital Post.
The New Zealand Film Commission has invested in the production in association with NZ On Air’s Platinum Fund, Digifilm, TVNZ and Rialto Distribution. The project is being made with the assistance of the New Zealand government’s Screen Production Incentive Fund (with finance by ANZ).
Rialto Distribution will release BEYOND THE EDGE in New Zealand and Australia in 2013. Kelly Rogers, CEO of Rialto Distribution commented that he is “excited to be teaming up with again with Director Leanne Pooley and for the first time with Producer Matthew Metcalfe, and is very proud to be involved in a film of such an iconic figurehead.”
International sales will be handled by UK-based Altitude Film Sales. The project has already generated excitement and interest from around the world.
About Matthew Metcalfe (Producer)
Matthew Metcalfe is one of New Zealand’s most internationally successful producers whose films have been nominated for thirty New Zealand Film Awards with thirteen wins, while also being long-listed for two BAFTA awards and nominated for a London Critics Circle Award. Films Matthew has produced or executive produced have shown in the Cannes, Toronto and London film festivals, as well as numerous others around the world. His work includes feature films such as DEAN SPANLEY (starring Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill), NEMESIS GAME (starring Ian McShane) and LOVE BIRDS (starring Rhys Darby and Sally Hawkins) – films which have sold internationally to companies such as Lions Gate, Icon, Paramount and Miramax. TV shows Matthew has produced include prime time productions such as AIR FORCE, SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE, VIETNAM – MY FATHERS WAR and the hit German TV drama series – EMILIE RICHARDS.
About Leanne Pooley (Writer/Director)
Leanne Pooley is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished filmmakers having produced and or directed more than 30 documentaries. She has worked for most of the world’s major broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV in England, PBS and Discovery in America as well as TV3 and TVNZ in New Zealand. Her films have screened in more than 80 countries and have won numerous awards. Her feature documentary TOPP TWINS – UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS is the most successful documentary in New Zealand history, taking nearly $2 million at the NZ box office and winning 21 international awards including the coveted audience prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2011 Leanne’s work was recognised by the New Zealand Arts Foundation and she was made a New Zealand Arts Laureate.
Rialto Distribution is a leading New Zealand and Australian independent distribution company.
Formed in 2001 Rialto has contributed more than $60m to the local Aus and NZ box office with home-grown hits TOPP TWIINS $2m box and SCARFIES $1.3m in NZ as well as the highly successful MILLENIUM TRILOGY which has grossed over $15m in the territory.
Rialto is owned by Kelly Rogers, David Ross and Reading International
Altitude Film Entertainment is a new UK-based vertically integrated film company launched in May and focusing on production, financing and international sales with a strong commercial outlook. Altitude has been set up by Will Clarke, founder of leading UK independent producer and distributor Optimum Releasing (now Studio Canal), with Andy Mayson as joint CEO and Mike Runagall as Managing Director of international sales company, Altitude Film Sales. The partnership that Altitude has with filmmaker James Watkins (Eden Lake and The Woman in Black) exemplifies the Altitude vision to develop creative and supportive partnerships with filmmakers whose films can succeed in the international marketplace.
The first creative partnerships announced by Altitude are with filmmakers James Watkins (The Woman in Black, Eden Lake) and Simon Duric to make The Loch, andwith producer/actor Jason Maza (The Knot, Fish Tank, Welcome to the Punch) and director/actor Nick Nivern (Terry, The Sweeney) to make The Hooligan Factory; producer Gregor Cameron (Goin’ Down to South Park, Top Buzzer, Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show) and Owen Harris (Holy Flying Circus) to make Kill Your Friends; and Ben Craig (Modern Times) and writer Matt Charman (A Night at the Dogs) to make Mythica.
About The New Zealand Film Commission
The New Zealand Film Commission was established in 1978 by an Act of the New Zealand Parliament In the 34 years since the NZFC was established, more than 200 feature films have been made in New Zealand, more than 150 of them with NZFC finance. In the preceding 30 years, fewer than 20 feature films were made in NZ.
The NZFC has the statutory responsibility to encourage, participate and assist in the making, promotion, distribution and exhibition of films made in New Zealand by New Zealanders on New Zealand subjects. We provide financial assistance only to films with significant New Zealand content as defined in the Act; this definition includes official co-productions. The NZFC’s investments in feature film productions include WHALE RIDER, BOY, THE WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN, THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS and BILLY T: TE MOVIE. http://www.nzfilm.co.nz/