Quake series to be filmed in Chch

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 18:27 11/09/2012
Gaylene Preston
EMMA BEER
QUAKE SERIES: Hope and Wire will be directed by New Zealand film and television maker Gaylene Preston.

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A six-part drama set in Christchurch in the aftermath of the earthquakes will be funded by NZ On Air.

The fictional television show, to be called Hope and Wire, will begin after the September 4, 2010, quake.

Pre-production will begin on the show at the end of the year, with the film crew based at  the Film Department of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury.

A spokeswoman said it was too early to comment on specific story lines, but the show would feature a "mix of strong characters; families that fly apart, others that come together", and would aim to portray "the best and the worst of what happens when a city literally loses its heart".

NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson said the show was "an incredibly important project".

"It is set around the most significant event in New Zealand's recent history and we are pleased to commit this investment to telling a version of Christchurch's story," she said.

Hope and Wire will be directed by New Zealand film and television maker Gaylene Preston, who co-wrote the show with Dave Armstrong.  It will be produced by Chris Hampson, and the executive producer is Sue Rogers.

"It would be hard to find a family in Aotearoa New Zealand that has not been affected in some way by the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Canterbury," Preston said.

"My formative years at the Ilam School of Fine Arts give me many fond memories of a city that exists now only in memory."

Preston first had the idea for a TV series about Christchurch post-quake in April 2011, and pitched it to TV3 in October 2011.

She said part of her inspiration were profiles published in The Press which connected with her interest in earthquake survivor stories and empathy with the survivors.

The series is a memorial to her long-time friend Graeme Tetley who was in Lyttleton on Feb 22, 2011 and survived the quake but died a few weeks later of a heart attack.

The series is likely to screen on TV3 in 2013.

MediaWorks TV head of drama and comedy Rachel Jean said TV3 was proud to be broadcasting the first drama series based on the experiences of Christchurch people.

"With major television and radio offices in Christchurch, MediaWorks is very much a part of the Canterbury region and it is just so important to us to tell, and keep telling, the stories of the quake and its aftermath," she said.

"In the hands of Gaylene Preston, one of our foremost directors, Hope and Wire will be one of those television series that define a moment in our national history."

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- The Press

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