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 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 15:47 GMT
Rings director snubs 'bureaucrats'
Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson criticised NZ film chiefs
Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson banned two New Zealand film executives from the country's première of The Two Towers, claiming they were "self-serving bureaucrats".

The ban came after Jackson blamed the New Zealand government for letting a local film production company close down with four of its movies still in post-production.

The company, Kahukura, folded in March despite the government and the New Zealand Film Commission being told it was in financial difficulties.

In response, Jackson, who is on the best director shortlist for the Golden Globes, "uninvited" the commission's chief executive Ruth Harley and chairman Barrie Everard to the première.

"This is a night which celebrates the achievement of New Zealand talent behind and in front of the camera," Jackson told reporters.
Wellington skyline
Wellington will host the world premiere of the third film

"In a year when film crews and suppliers of the independent film industry have been abused and vilified by these self-serving bureaucrats, it would be totally inappropriate."

Jackson has long been a critic of the government-backed commission, which funds films made in New Zealand.

He has not received any support from it since his 1994 murder thriller Heavenly Creatures.

The commission did give the company funds in March, but ten days later Kahukura folded and the commission refused to release any more money to make sure its films were completed.

Barrie Everard said the director was using his "considerable prestige" to try and force the commission into a "gross misuse of public funds".

King's NZ debut

Jackson also used the première to announce that the third film in the trilogy, The Return Of The King, will make its debut in Wellington in December 2003.

Stars Elijah Woods, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd also received loud applause at the event, according to city newspaper The Dominion Post.

The Two Towers has already featured in the American Film Institute's top 10 of 2002 - seen as a reliable indicator of possible Oscar success - while it is up for two Golden Globe awards.

Worldwide Jackson's movie is being shown on more than 10,000 screens - 6,500 of them in the US.

Cinemas in the UK are advising the public that, even with extra performances of The Two Towers on their programme, many of the screenings ahead of Christmas are sold out.

It is up against the season's two biggest blockbusters so far, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the James Bond adventure Die Another Day.


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