MAKING OF LOTR & FIGWIT Films:  2004 New Zealand International Film Festival
Festival Dates:   Auckland: July 9 – 25    Wellington: July 16 – August 1

Wellington filmmaker Costa Botes, a long-time associate of Peter Jackson and his conspirator on “Forgotten Silver, assembled a small team in July 1999, three months before cameras rolled on principal photography for LOTR, to shoot and compile a behind-the-scenes video record. By the time the production of the trilogy finally ended late in 2003, they had over 800 hours of footage. In the first of the three documentary features to be cut from this material, there’s a much fuller and more playful appreciation of activity behind the scenes than you might have seen on the more formal guided tours provided by the excellent DVD extras.


The future, when everyone would be famous for 15 minutes is far behind us: now all it takes is three seconds, which is how long Wellington actor and musician Bret McKenzie appeared as an extra in “The Fellowship of the Ring.” A glimpse of his elvish pout during the Council of Elrond scene enflamed the imaginations of Israeli woman, Iris Hadad, and English woman, Sherry de Andres. They met on internet message boards (where else?), coined the name ‘Figwit’, an acronym of ‘Frodo is Great…Who is That!!?’, and created the website Peter Jackson and the LOTR producers have taken a suitably indulgent view of the elf-hijack and this amusing magazine-style documentary culminates in the spectacle of McKenzie undergoing Figwit make-up once again for his one-line part in “The Return of the King.”

Film info:  Venue details, dates and session times are available in the festival brochure and on-line.

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