Nelson is just days away from a glitzy red-carpet event with the hotly anticipated first screening of Kiwi Flyer - The Movie at the Theatre Royal. Anna Pearson goes behind the scenes in the lead-up to the premier.
The dress code is black tie, red carpet will be rolled out at the Theatre Royal door, and guests and other Nelsonians are invited to watch the stars arrive.
Vince Martin, Tandi Wright, Dai Henwood and Kiwi Flyer's young stars Edward Hall and Tikirau Hathaway are coming to Nelson, as well as other well-known New Zealand personalities.
The premier screening on Tuesday is invite-only, but Nelsonians are invited to a public event organised by the Nelson Trolley Club in Trafalgar St on Monday.
Nelson Central School children will showcase mini soap-box trolleys made from empty 1kg laundry boxes, and the five finalists of a Nelson Trolley Club movie competition judged by Kiwi Flyer director Tony Simpson will be screened.
Nelson Trolley Club president Tim Bayley said Nelson city Mayor Aldo Miccio, councillor Pete Rainey and councillor Ali Boswijk had been given kitsets to make their own mini trolleys to race against the children.
"We gave Aldo one with a little Lego driver that looks like a mayor with a briefcase,” he said.
Mr Bayley said Mr Miccio was primed to make a major announcement concerning Nelson and its trolley-derby status.
"We're basically going to declare Nelson the trolley capital of New Zealand and challenge the rest of the country to come here. We've got this new race that we'll tell people about on Monday. Two other clubs have formed in the last few months, one in Whanganui and one in Auckland. We're helping them out, getting them set up. We'll be able to go to each other's events. We're starting a franchise," he said.
Mr Bayley said he had seen the Kiwi Flyer trailer, "and it all looks good".
"I think it's going to show up Nelson in a wonderful light.
"They were here filming last year in August and the weather was spectacular. If they had come this year, it just would have been a disaster," he said.
Kiwi Flyer, starring more than 30 Nelsonians alongside Wright, Martin, Henwood, Hall and Hathaway, will be widely released by Rialto in cinemas throughout the country, including Nelson's State Cinema, on September 27.
The feel-good, family film is about a young boy who sets out to win the local trolley derby in memory of his father.
He learns about life along the way, confronting cheating Australian opponents, dodgy loan sharks and a mother who has banned him from racing.
The film's $1.1 million budget includes funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ on Air, the Nelson City Council and a top-up from Nelson investor group Venture Accelerator Ltd.
Helpers on the film included Nelson Intermediate School, the Nelson Trolley Derby Club, the hot rod club, Scouts, and Stoke vehicle restoration business owner Gordon Dacombe, of Autofocus in Stoke, and Steve Lovell, from Advanced Composite Engineering, who created the movie's special racing trolleys.
Mr Dacombe is on holiday in the United Kingdom, but fellow trolley enthusiast and Autofocus colleague Trevor Carston said he would “definitely” be at the premier in his colleague's absence.
Mr Carston owns the trolley that inspired the film, based on what happened in 1970 at the long-running Nelson Trolley Derby event.
NAC, a flash new aerodynamic trolley raced by Darryl Taylor, blitzed the field, leaving behind the classic wooden trolleys with their pram wheels and rope steering.
Mr Carston said the original trolley might be rolled out for the premier, alongside the two "hero" trolleys made for the film - the Aussie Flash for the baddies and the Kiwi Flyer for the Kiwi lads.
He said he had been getting them ready for the premier, making sure they're "all clean and tidy" for an appearance outside the Theatre Royal on Tuesday night.
Mr Carston said Mr Dacombe had all the ideas for the trolleys and built the basic frames, and "being in the workshop I was lucky enough to get to do a few finishing jobs".
He said Mr Dacombe was disappointed to miss the big event, but he had been planning a trip to Britain for two months.
"He was pretty disappointed that it [the premier] was on right while he was away. His grandchildren were in the movie, too, as stunt drivers and things like that. They will be getting pretty excited. You've got to get flashed up. I'm not used to that, but we're looking forward to all that side of it. The pressure is building, you might say. I think it's going to be great," he said.
"I have had the opportunity to see the movie, but I said, ‘No, I want to see it in the premier'. I want to see it on the big screen. I have seen little snippets and it's fantastic - particularly for Nelsonians, because you can recognise areas where they filmed."
Mr Simpson said the premier would have “the whole nine yards”, including red carpet, lights, photographers and a pipe band for when people arrived. Lyttelton band The Eastern would play in the theatre after the screening.
The premiere received sponsorship from the city council-funded Nelson events marketing and development programme.
“I think we have got everything in place for the big night. It's just a matter of shaking off the suit. I will be wearing my black tie."
Monday night's event in upper Trafalgar St kicks off at 5.30pm.
The invite-only premier is 7.30pm on Tuesday, but Nelsonians are invited to come out in force from 6.30pm to see the stars arrive.
Keep an eye on the Nelson Mail for coverage after Monday night and Tuesday's premier.
Nellywood, see page 13-14.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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