Millions line up at Universal Studios in L.A. for a chance to pull back the curtain and see behind the illusions of Hollywood films and television. At the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata, tourists pour into the area for exactly the opposite reason: they want to step into the illusion of a film, walk around and stay there awhile.

Pure magic.

It may be the only location in history where fans can visit a dressed film set before the movie is released. The first of two films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is due to hit theaters almost exactly a year from now but at the smallish village found between Rotorua and Hamilton, the pastoral, fictional Middle-earth is definitely open for business. is pleased to have the opportunity to bring you the first images allowed from the now dormant set. Continue reading “Exclusive photos and impressions from Hobbiton set”

Bruce Hopkins writes: I am just letting you know I have posted to my radio web page the chat I had with photographer Ian Brodie. We talk for 13 minutes, he is such an amazing guy, really enjoy any time I get to talk with or spend in his company. You can check it out here, if that doesn’t work then try this.

Glorfindel writes: National Radio is just running an interview with Ian Brodie in which he talks about Hobbiton. Nothing new but he does confirm that the set will be open when building works begin, although not date on that.

Ian Brodie, founding curator of the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum, is taking up a new position as media and communications manager at the Hobbiton tourist attraction at Matamata, near Hamilton. Meanwhile, a proposed $10 million revamp of the Wanaka museum is on hold indefinitely. Mr Brodie (52) has worked at the museum since it was founded in 1992 by Sir Tim Wallis. More..