Sydney-based producer Don Reynolds, who made a raft of New Zealand films in the 1980s, has created Silverscreen Films, a feature film and television production company with Geoff Dixon, a giant of the New Zealand commercials production scene.
Already on the company slate is Spooked, which Reynolds and Dixon hope will go into production in Auckland in May with Geoff Murphy directing. Reynolds produced Murphy's 1980 film Goodbye Pork Pie.
Silverscreen Films is a subsidiary of the commercials production house Silverscreen Productions that Dixon founded in New Zealand nearly 30 years ago later expanding into Australia.
Another Silverscreen offshoot is Oktobor, one of several local special effects and post-production companies that worked on The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors, Die Another Day) and Christine Jeffs (Rain, Ted & Sylvia) have both worked at Silverscreen and currently on the books as a commercials director is Robert Sarkies, director of one of New Zealand's biggest local hits, Scarfies.
Julie Elstone, who has been with Silverscreen for 15 years, will be executive producer of the new venture. Besides developing their own projects, the trio will service international productions - 30% of revenues from the parent company already come from that direction - and in the past week, Dixon has been in the US scouting for business.
"Lord Of The Rings put New Zealand on the map internationally, but we could just as easily fall off it if we don't maintain the high production standards they've set," said Reynolds.
Reynolds is currently producing Peaches, which went into production in Adelaide yesterday with Hugo Weaving and Jacqueline McKenzie in the lead roles and Craig Monahan directing.
Reynolds is also working on River Queen, to be directed by Vincent Ward. Silverscreen Films' television slate includes a series of telemovies based on New Zealand novels, which are being developed in partnership with Vincent Burke/Top Shelf Productions.