The winners of last month’s Hobbit Fan Contest that got to go to New Zealand and watch an in-progress cut of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” and experience the beautiful scenes of the north and south islands and the hospitality of Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand, won their spots by producing short films.

As reports from the experience suggest, there was a great bonding of the 75 winners and their guests during the week-long tour of Middle-earth. These bonds are on display in a “thank you” video that the group organized to give to Peter Jackson and all the many folks who helped make the trip amazing. There is even a nod to TheOneRing.net which honestly touches us.

Turns out that crew can make a pretty great video with parts from all around the world. Their sincerity and appreciation really comes through and will make all fans proud. Enjoy! #HobbitFanContest

QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND — The Hobbit Fan Contest winners and attending media are here in Queenstown and things have been a little busy. It’s a balance of gathering vs. sitting on a computer and typing (although in the incredible Hotel St. Moritz that is pretty sweet) and I am erring on the side of gathering today. So, no great big post but trust me when I say the photos collected from here can make a grown man cry, even if that grown man is me. Something about here touches me emotionally.

In a quick recap we visited Beorn’s realm yesterday, had a scavenger hunt, traveled to get here, had a jeep excursion to the freezing cold, breathtaking top of the world and then flung ourselves off bridges towards freezing water.

But, for now, I wanted to share a video that Tourism New Zealand put together of the fans in Hobbiton and Rotorua from Day 2 of this event. It really captures some of the genuine emotions people felt at the Hobbiton Movie Set. So, enjoy! Oh and you can watch fans watch the new trailer than you can see too in a couple of days.

Fireworks2HOBBITON — A visit to Hobbiton Movie Set for winners of the Hobbit Fan Contest had, all-in-all, a pretty amazing day — and then they saw the trailer.

For readers who don’t know, the shooting set for exteriors of the Shire in Hobbit trilogy is preserved for visitors on the farm where it was originally used for the “Lord of the Rings,” films. It provides a fully immersive environment that fans worldwide agree is singularly special and it runs tours daily.

So besIt also didn’t hurt that actors Jed Brophy, John Callen, Mark Hadlow and Stephen Hunter surprised visitors at a feast inside the full-service eatery on site: The Green Dragon. Nor did the flowing drink, the plentiful food, the expertly guided tours, but what else can be done to delight 150 of the most die-hard fans in the world?

Have Peter Jackson, by way of recorded video, introduce the just-finished, and last, trailer for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” It brought the house down.

DwarvesIn the very Hobbity party tent behind The Green Dragon all the gathered fans and media were clearly and repeatedly instructed to turn off our cameras so it was obvious something different was happening. Even the most honored guests, the actors were placed in the front but looking forward with the audience.

Matthew Dravitzki, an Associate Producer on the trilogy and a key figure behind Jackson’s team who usually escapes the spotlight, spoke to the fans and introduced the video. He also required that we viewers not share the details, especially the specifics, so you will not read them here. But I think its okay if I say, it’s serious as a heart attack, gloomy as a storm front and as epic as battle of five armies.

And wow, do my fingers itch to type more.

Afterwards the groups of fans, split up for logistical purposes and took the new (to me) night tour around the set. Under the party tree the groups gathered to finally end a pretty amazing day. In fact, it may be difficult to match during the rest of the trip. To say fans were ecstatic is no exaggeration. There were, at several points, tears of joy and disbelief.

GondolaThe day started in the rain at the Skyline Rotorua. Fans and reporters were generously offered the opportunity to enjoy various activities that included wine tasting, a zip line, a luge and a skyswing. Then it was off to the movie set for a day that was absolutely packed.

TORn interviewed the four actors together in a group with hilarious results. We will post it at a later date, depending on how quickly we get the video and quickly I can possibly post it but it’s great fan service from four classy New Zealand gentlemen.

The owner of the sheep and cattle farm the set sits on and his son who run it, Ian and Russel Alaexander, were on hand for interviews as well. TORn didn’t catch up with them, but plenty of media outlets did. In the late afternoon, in the guise of introducing The Green Dragon, fans were led into the room where the actors and executives were enjoying dinner and where media was stationed to grab reactions. As anticipated, tears where shed, hugs were shared and memories were made. Staff working on the event expressed a lot of tender emotions while watching fans enjoy the surprise so much.

I was pleased to have time to mix and mingle with fans — and I met a lot of them and enjoyed it every time. Before long it was trailer time. Despite this group’s appointment this week to screen the actual film with director Peter Jackson, the trailer announcement was greeted with great excitement.

Dravitzki promised a triple showing and delivered. All three times fans hushed each other at the start, not wanting to miss any dialog.

Then it was outdoors for the night tour when fireworks were triggered. Then, off to buses and tomorrow, Queenstown.

Peter-Jackson-Doctor-Who Sources close to the production of The Hobbit inform us that the Kiwi-based actors of The Hobbit films will be flown to Los Angeles where the very final premiere for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will be held.

It seems that John Callen (who plays Oin) wasn’t told of this plan before the announcement of the London World Premiere — hence his distress that we publicised earlier today. Continue reading “Kiwi dwarves set to attend final Hobbit premiere in Los Angeles”

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Fantasy-Con’s official mascot!
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These dwarves aren’t afraid of Smaug!

The first annual FantasyCon was an amazing weekend! Tens of thousands of fans from around the country and many actors from around the world traveled to beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah for an engagingly fun weekend of group panels, signings, photo ops and fireside chats. Here is a recap of some of the fun from several TheOneRing.net staff members who made the journey there.

Elijah Wood Hosts Kickoff Party

Starting off the week was an amazing dance night hosted by Frodo himself DJ ElWood!

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Elijah Wood is on the right in the center of the stage. Frodo has some groovy tunes!
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Official Fantasy-Con photographers got better shots than we did 😉

Middle-earth Kick-Off!

To start FantasyCon with a celebrity blast, an all-star group of Tolkien guests took the stage including:

  • Sean Astin (Samwise)
  • Adam Brown (Ori)
  • Billy Boyd (Pippin)
  • Jed Brophy (Nori)
  • John Callen (Óin)
  • Peter Hambleton (Glóin)
  • William Kircher (Bifur)
  • Sylvester McCoy (Radagast)
  • Graham McTavish (Dwalin)
  • Mark Ordesky (Executive Producer LOTR)
  • John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)
  • Ken Stott (Balin)
  • author Doug Adams (‘The Music of The Lord of the Rings’)
  • artist Donato Giancola
  • Badali Jewelry
  • …and the staff of TheOneRing.net!

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Continue reading “FantasyCon 2014 Full Recap!”

Fili barrelThe Official Day 1 of FantasyCon was yesterday, July 3 and was filled with cosplay, LARPing, music and heraldry. A few awesome Middle-earth costumers visited our booth, and we even had a Dwarf in a Barrel. The barrel and the 4 Hobbits standee proved to be quite popular with those holding a camera, especially the children.

At 11am TheOneRing.net hosted their first panel at the convention with the Preview of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies to an enthusiastic crowd. We fully expect that the trailer will be out by the time San Diego Comic Con rolls around in a few weeks, at which point our Preview panel will be dramatically updated.

Near the end of the day, the entirety of the Tolkien programming track was introduced on stage at the Middle-earth kickoff party. Artists, musicians, writers and TheOneRing.net staff on hand, plus an Avalanche of Dwarves, as John Rhys-Davies put it, a Wizard and a pair of Hobbits converged on the Main Ballroom stage to thunderous applause. Moments later, the entire room went silent, you could almost hear a pin drop, along with one wee Hobbit singing his heart out.

During the panel, numerous questions were asked of many Dwarves, Hobbits and a Wizard, but none were handled with quite so much originality as the one about the Dwarven prosthetics.

The day ended with the Red Party, a less bloody affair than the Red Wedding. Costumed denizens of Westeros and many other realms all danced the night away.