In the BBC magazine, Megan Lane makes an interesting point.
Is New Zealand itself a character in the many award-winning films that have been shot on location here?
"If a country could be eligible for a best actor award, New Zealand could be in
the running for every gong going, with its contrasting moods showcased most
recently in The Hobbit and Top Of The Lake," she says, and then asks, "Is the scenery more than just a
I certainly agree that there is something more to the spirit of New Zealand than the stunning scenery. Many New Zealanders share the ancient Maori belief that the country itself has spirit and life. Both Maori and pakeha (the more recent settlers) identify with a mountain, a river, a lake, and/or a particular stretch of the coastal sea.
So, should our scenery earn an Oscar?
For versatility, perhaps.
New Zealand can shift from one idea of the land to the other - pastoral to
gothic, cultivated to wild," says Prof Laurence Simmons, head of media, film and
television at the University of Auckland. "It's been used by filmmakers to fit a
variety of global locations and historical periods, from small-town America in
Peter Jackson's The Frighteners to 19th Century Japan, let alone Middle-earth
and the landscape of Avatar."
Many of these films have helped to attract visitors to the country, just as
the New Zealand Film Commission hoped would happen when it first started funding
home-grown features in the 1970s.
In a survey
conducted in the first quarter of 2013, one in 10 international arrivals
said The Hobbit sparked their interest in New Zealand as a destination.
"We estimate that 47,000 visitors a year visit a film location," says
Danielle Genty-Nott of Tourism New Zealand.
And that number is bound to increase. Rumor has it that the eighth Doctor Who season will be filmed in other-worldly New Zealand
(And no, that third picture is not upside-down. It is a reflection in a lake.)