It is not often Papua New Guinea gets an opportunity to showcase to the world some of its many positive and diverse aspects.
Recently, the world has only been fed a constant stream of negative and image-tarnishing news stories that have done little to enhance the reputation of the country – or its people. But just as the television series from the 1990s and early 2000s, Xena and Hercules and The Lord of the Ring movie trilogy, did for New Zealand’s reputation as one of the best movie-making locations on the planet, a motion picture shot in Papua New Guinea (PNG) could do wonders for our image.
In terms of landscape and scenery, PNG offers vistas that rival the best in the world but, sadly, little is known let alone seen of this beautiful country.
Former world kickboxing champion Stanley “Headhunter” Nandex in tandem with noted action stars Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Michael Jai White and Cynthia Rothrock are about to embark on a movie project entitled The B Team.
While the name sounds like a take-off of the famous A Team, fans of the action and martial arts genre the world over will get a chance to see some famous and familiar names going about their work in a locale that does not get nearly enough exposure – Papua New Guinea.
Filming is tentatively scheduled for May and the actors, once they complete other movie-making commitments, will spend up to six weeks in three locations around the country. The flora and fauna of East New Britain, New Ireland and Southern Highlands will be used to provide the backdrop for an action movie that will be filmed by Michigan-based Gorilla Pictures.
With quickly advancing media and communications technology reducing the world to a mere global village, there are fewer and fewer places on the map that deliver an experience that is out of the ordinary. Top movie directors, producers and writers are constantly untouched areas in the world to supply the setting for their productions while thinking up plots, scenes and stories that keep viewers enthralled and engaged.
Recently, director James Cameron of Terminator, Titanic and Avatar fame was in the country using PNG’s unique deep sea geography off the coastal shelf of Jacquinot Bay in East New Britain’s Pomio district to test a submersible he designed for use in an upcoming movie.
Only one other Hollywood production of note has taken place in PNG; Robinson Crusoe (1997) filmed in Madang province and starring former James Bond star and Hollywood A-lister Pierce Brosnan.
Nandex, ever the optimist and always one to promote his country, has not missed a beat saying this is a great opportunity for PNG to earn a spot in the movie world as a place that can be used for projects of every type.
All he needs is for the people, the government and sponsors to take “ownership” and make it happen.
The Erave man said he was aware that film-making was a business fraught with risks. However, the fact that three leading martial exponents and action stars had all but signed up for a project that is to be shot exclusively in PNG is encouraging.
“We have invited the government to support the project because we believe it offers us a rare chance to market and promote the country and people to the world,” Nandex said.
Right now, it is unclear on how the government and those companies who have voiced their support for the project will come in.
Nandex is set to meet Prime Minister Peter O’Neill today to discuss ways in which the government can come in to shore up support for the project.
The budget for the movie is K8 million and Nandex said the film’s overseas backers were willing to invest 50% of the cost upfront but wanted a guarantee that an on-shore sponsor would also foot some of the bill.
Nandex also mentioned that the current perception of PNG was that it was a country plagued by natural disasters and prone to tragedies with shipping accidents, air plane crashes and high crime rate making many potential investors nervous and unwilling to enter the fray. Nevertheless, he said PNG had the potential to be a country with good credentials in this industry but needed state and corporate support.
I appeal to the people of PNG to take ownership of this because it will be a breakthrough for us. All the money in production costs will be spent in the country and I think that is a good thing.
Via – The National
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