Editorial: Lights, camera ... think before action

For neither the first nor last time, we remind ourselves that Tim Shadbolt's name makes the anagram Mad Bolts Hit.

Many's the conservative Southlander who will conclude that the Invercargill mayor has been struck by another of those inspirational shafts of his, upon news that he is pushing for a James Bond-Jason Bourne styled 3D spy movie to be made locally with Chinese particularly in mind as audiences and collaborators.

How hard could that be? Whoever lost money trying to make a blockbuster film? As so often is the case there's an element of wa-hey ambition behind this notion, though this particular project still seems to be in a stage so preliminary that it may ultimately prove merely fanciful.

The $5 million figure being talked about for this project will be enough to agitate hard-pressed ratepayers curious about their own potential exposure, while at the same time being a mere shoestring stuff in cinematic terms, particularly for an action movie.

Still, the potential to harness talent through the possible co-operative involvement of the Southern Institute of Technology and a tertiary film school from Invercargill's sister city Suqian cannot be automatically discounted as inconsequential. And let's not forget the work of city film-maker Matt Innes, an SIT graduate, stands as testament to the possibility of making impressive films on scant resources.

Shadbolt himself is not merely an advocate for the project, he's involving himself to the extent of proposing a plot outline in which a grandfather being buried in Winton leaves his grandson an ornate box containing gold and a treasure map. Mafia get a tip-off and the result is a race, punctuated by martial arts action. You could call this screamingly cliched amateurish dabbling - or, if you were so inclined, a film envisaged along the genre's classic lines.

We'll see what, if anything, transpires. Imaginative projects are good, provided that the sense of imagination includes what could go wrong as well as right. Ratepayers, in particular, will want to be kept in the light well in advance of any action.

The Southland Times