Film just makes it to island premiere
A mad dash saves the dayNEIL RATLEY
A mad dash across the Tasman Sea and Foveaux Strait saved the day for a Stewart Island film premiere on Thursday night.
A Local's Tail was scheduled for a 7pm screening at the Bunkhouse Theatre, but Melbourne-based director Stig Wemyss was cutting it fine as he boarded a 6.45pm flight in Invercargill bound for Stewart Island.
The red carpet was out and the island's residents were relaxing with a glass of champagne, unaware that the film and its director were still in transit.
It was the final leg of a desperate journey that started in Melbourne on Thursday morning with a stopover in Christchurch. "I wasn't sure if I would make it in time but in the end, the film and I made it in the nick of time," he said.
The original plan was to upload the film - a tale, narrated by an island pooch, about the triumphs and hardships, history and legends of Stewart Island and its community - to the Bunkhouse Theatre's FTP site, Mr Wemyss said.
However, it soon became obvious that it would take too long to upload the movie.
"The upload was very slow and the film would not have been ready to go on the night," he said.
The race to reach Stewart Island had been worth it, Mr Wemyss said.
"I can now enjoy in person the beauty and culture of a place I have been seeing on film and in pictures for the past six months."
One of the film's producers, Peter Davis, said the premiere had been a fantastic success - once the film had arrived.
"There was a time when things looked a bit dicey, but that's show business," he said.
The community response was great, which was a relief after so many residents had shared their lives and those of their ancestors for the project, he said.
Mr Davis said he hoped visitors to Stewart Island would take the opportunity to watch A Local's Tail as it screened during the tourist season.
"It's a film that combines the qualities of a documentary and a feature film, filled with humour and a window into the people of Stewart Island," he said.
A Local's Tail will be shown three times a day at the Bunkhouse Theatre in Oban at 1pm, 4.30pm and 6pm. More details about screening times can be found at the theatre.
- The Southland Times