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Writer in residence links Whitestone Geopark to feature film project

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The first Film Otago Southland Writer in Residence for Oamaru will script Fiona Farrell’s Limestone as a feature film while exploring the cultural bedrock of the Whitestone Geopark.

A film project based on the original 2009 novel - Limestone, by Fiona Farrell, set in Oamaru and Ireland, will see Wellington screenwriter Teresa Bass come to the Waitaki to work on the first full draft of the feature film - Limestone, staying in the Oamaru Public Gardens House from the 25th Feb, until 6th March.

The Film Otago Southland Writers in Residence programme offers support to screenwriters working on promising screen projects set in the Otago/Southland region. Each Writers in Residence itinerary is curated for the individual writer, but may include stays in relevant towns, introductions to local contacts, and research facilitation. The programme was set up with the aim of attracting more film projects to shoot in the region.

While here, Teresa Bass will meet with author, Fiona Farrell, producer Maddy Maxwell and other key Waitaki people. She will visit key local locations including Maori Rock Art sites with local Waitaha people, spend time working on the first draft of the script and focus key attention on one scene that may be the basis of a ‘Proof of Concept’ short film aligned with the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark bid.

Whitestone Geopark general manager Gerard Quinn said he thought the union of the cinematic arts with the story of the region’s first people and their own art had a wonderful synergy.

After earning a BFA in acting and directing from New York University, Teresa worked as a Producing Associate at off-Broadway’s Ars Nova Theater and served as Artistic Director at The Peoples Comedy Theater (The PIT). Teresa relocated from New York City to New Zealand in 2009, where she worked in marketing and communications in the refugee resettlement sector and travelled throughout the Pacific as a Red Cross aid worker. In 2014, she completed her Masters degree in scriptwriting with Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She’s worked in television, radio and film, twice winning the Radio New Zealand New Shorts competition, winning the grand prize of the NYC Midnight International Short Screenplay contest, and being selected for Script to Screen’s Aotearoa Short Film Lab.

Teresa currently has several projects in development, including Limestone, coming on board as scriptwriter in 2018 after meeting Oamaru producer Maddy Maxwell at the International Screenwriters Conference in Dunedin in September 2017.

From Maddy: "When I first read Fiona’s novel (shortlisted for the NZ Post Book Awards) I fell in love with her description of 1970’s Oamaru and the deep connection with limestone. The enthusiasm of both Fiona and Teresa, and now Film Otago Southland and the Waitaki District Council to help move this project forward is very exciting. I am really looking forward to working with as many local people as possible to see this to fruition."

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