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‘Royal’ film premiere here

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier

Sally Andrews and Vicki HaughtonBy Cathy Asplin

A film that features hundreds of Waipa residents as extras will have its Waikato premiere in Te Awamutu, before going on national release.

“Her Majesty’ was partly filmed in Cambridge during November 2000 and has been racking up awards at film festivals around the world.

The most recent accolade came at the San Diego Film Festival where lead Sally Andrews won best actress.

In an email from the USA, writer-director Mark Gordon said the award was great timing as Her Majesty is on the brink of both its Canadian and New Zealand releases.

“Her Majesty is a lovely family film for grand-parents and parents to take their children to, for a glimpse back at New Zealand in the 1950’s. I am especially excited at the prospect of its nationwide New Zealand release and it is fitting it should premiere in the Waipa District.”

The film had a short initial test release in Auckland last year, but has taken much longer to come to this part of the country.

That time is getting closer however, with the Waikato gala film premiere set for Te Awamutu’s Regent on January 12.
It will then go on nationwide release around the country from January 20.

For many of the Waipa residents who were extras, it has been a long wait to see themselves on screen. I am sure they will enjoy the finished product and other viewers will have fun spotting people they know on screen.

Te Awamutu BrassI had a wonderful opportunity to be on the set during filming of Her Majesty, to follow extras (especially those from Te Awamutu), including Te Awamutu Brass and my son with his schoolmates.

It is rare to be allowed such open access to all areas of a film set - from makeup and costuming through to talking with the producer Walter Coblenz and director Mark Gordon as they worked.

Many people will be surprised that the film was not actually written or produced by New Zealanders, because it does capture the essence of ‘how we were’ in New Zealand during the 1950’s.

Her Majesty is set in provincial New Zealand on the eve of the Queen’s 1953 tour. It tells the story of Elizabeth Wakefield (13), a girl consumed with a desire to meet her namesake Queen Elizabeth II.

It is fitting that Cambridge was chosen to be Middleton, as it was one of the town’s visited during Queen Elizabeth’s actual tour in 1953 and has retained its special character over the years, with the Town Hall (below) and buildings proving to be ideal backdrops for the royal parade.

Keep an eye on the Courier for further details as they come to hand about the gala premiere of Her Majesty.