Director puts his focus on ballet company

TOM HUNT
Last updated 10:27 08/06/2013
Toa Fraser
Fairfax NZ
PREMIERE: Toa Fraser filmed Giselle last year and is not adding the finishing touches to the film.

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HIS films have debuted at some of the world's biggest festivals, but Toa Fraser has never had a world premiere in New Zealand - until now.

The director of No 2 and Dean Spanley has turned his eye on the Royal New Zealand Ballet's production, Giselle, to create a cinematic piece that lies somewhere between documentary and film.

His closest reference is Martin Scorsese's take on The Band's last gig, The Last Waltz. "I liked the structure of that, wherein it made a record of the concert, shot in a very cinematic way."

The 200-year-old story of Giselle - described as a tragic tale of disguise, revelation, love, and jealousy - also came in to play in Fraser's movie, to which he was still adding final touches this week.

Shot in New Zealand, New York and Shanghai, China, the movie version of Giselle will have its world premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland. Shortly after, it will screen as part of the Wellington leg of the festival. Exact dates will be confirmed later this month, but the film festival starts in Auckland on July 18, then in Wellington on July 26.

It will be Fraser's first world premiere in New Zealand. No 2 premiered at Sundance and Dean Spanley at Toronto.

"It's really important to me and I'm really grateful of the fact we have managed to get it in New Zealand."

Fraser, who said he was not a particular ballet fan, was initially approached by producer Matthew Metcalfe to work on the ballet company's production of Cinderella. "I thought about that and I wasn't really inspired by Cinderella."

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