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30 APRIL 2011

Annie Collins on her 30 year career cutting New Zealand films

"Editor Annie Collins has worked with some of New Zealand's most provocative directors, including Barry Barclay (The Neglected Miracle), and Merata Mita (Patu!) over a 30 year editing career. Collins has also edited key feature films, (Scarfies, Out of the Blue) and was part of the editing team on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings.

NZ On Screen's Clare O'Leary visits Collins at her home and Collins reflects on:

Her beginnings in the industry and being convinced by producer Pat Cox to shelve her design training and become an editor.

What she requires of directors ('that they've done their homework!')

Cutting Patu! with Merata Mita: evading the police and becoming conscious of the Springbok Tour Protests' relevance to New Zealand history and realising the (different) echoes it had for Mita as a Māori filmmaker.

Working with director Robert Sarkies on Scarfies and Out of the Blue

The four and a half years she spent working on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the realisation that despite the 'profound experience' of working on such a massive scale project that she needed to get back to New Zealand stories.

Her consciousness of the power of the edit: 'it takes about five seconds for you to destroy somebody in a cut, or edit, on national TV.'

The ethics of story–telling: the need for the people who are involved in a documentary (or a story where the subjects are still alive) to follow 'good process' and the importance of 'clarity of mind and heart.'"

(Clare O'Leary, 12 February 2009, NZ On Screen)

Fig.1 direction and Interview – Clare O'Leary, camera and editing – Leo Guerchmann

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TAGS

1981 Springbok rugby tourAnnie CollinsAotearoa New ZealandAramoana • Barry Barclay • creative practicedesign trainingdocumentaryethics • film directors • film editorfilm industryfilmmaking • Graeme Tuckets • historyLord of the RingsMaoriMerata MitaNew Zealand cinemaNew Zealand filmmaker • New Zealand history • New Zealand on Screen • New Zealand stories • NZ On Screen • Out of the Blue • Pat Cox • Patu!Peter Jacksonpost productionRobert Sarkies • Ruby & Rata • Scarfies • Springbok Tour • storytelling • Ted Coubray • The Neglected Miracle • women in film

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 DECEMBER 2009

'Avatar': James Cameron and Weta Digital

"As he sought collaborators to help him realize his ambitious vision for 'Avatar,' director James Cameron found kindred spirits at Weta Digital, the effects company co–founded by Peter Jackson.

The partnership goes back years, to when Cameron and Jackson met to talk shop after the latter's 'Lord of the Rings' wrapped. Senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri was also at that meeting, and told Cameron about the computer–animation techniques Weta was developing for Jackson's 'King Kong.'

'Jim was interested in what we were doing with 'Kong,' says Letteri, via phone from Weta headquarters in Wellington, New Zealand. 'He knew we were about to embark on something where we had a lead actor who was a digital creation. Plus we were getting into building these big jungles. I think Jim, in the back of his mind, that's the kind of thing he had in his head for 'Avatar.' '

Based upon an original idea that Cameron dreamed up more than a decade ago, 'Avatar,' which opens Friday [December 2009], is set 4.4 light–years away on a moon called Pandora. The moon is home to an alien species known as Na'vi, blue humanoids towering 10 feet. Colonists from Earth can only explore the hostile habitat as avatars –– remote–controlled replicants modelled after the Na'vi.

'The idea is that you're seeing this whole world through new eyes,' explains Letteri, a three–time Oscar–winner. 'It's unfolding before you, the idea that you get to this planet and you think it's this hellhole but as you gradually start to learn what it's all about, you realize that there's this amazing and beautiful but still quite harsh world out there. It seemed like it had all kinds of possibilities.'

Weta was responsible for turning Cameron's sketches of Pandora into 3–D panoramas and also transforming stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana into alien figures convincing enough to carry a love story"

(Lisa Rose/The Star–Ledger, 17 December 2009, NJ.com)

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TAGS

20093DAotearoa New ZealandavatarAvatar filmCGIcomputer-animationdigital • ILM • Industrial Light & Magic • innovationJames Cameron • Joe Letteri • King Kong • Lightstorm Entertainment • Lord of the Rings • Na'vi • Pandora • Peter JacksonRealDRealD 3Dscience-fictionSFXstereoscopictechnologyvisual effectsvisualisationWellington • Weta • Weta Digital

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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