Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct was transformed into a dream-like representation of Victorian London at Auckland Museum for the Mr Pip world premiere last week.
The screening of the film, based on the award-winning book of the same name by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones, was also an opportunity to showcase Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, where some filming took place in 2011.
As well as scenes in Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, filming also took place around the Waitaki district for about a week in August, 2011.
At the time, absolute secrecy was required to preserve the imagery of the film for its audience, so media were forbidden from photographing the cast and set.
Campbell Park Estate also features in the film.
Whitestone Civic Trust heritage co-ordinator Faye Ormandy said the international exposure should be valuable for the district.
“People are really talking it up,” Mrs Ormandy said.
She said it was hard to really know the kickback the exposure could have for Oamaru, until the film hit cinemas around the world.
She said the precinct looked “stunning” in the film, transformed into a dream-like representation of Victorian London.
“I think it looks fantastic… People in New Zealand will certainly know where it was filmed,” she said.
“I can imagine that if this film does what we hope it does, it will be superb for Oamaru.”
If visitors were attracted to Oamaru by the film, it would add to the tourism starting to be generated by other international films, such as the Hobbit, and exposure from Seven Sharp.
“Whilst the story is a grim story, I just hope that Oamaru shines through,” she said.
Mother Nature was not kind during the filming two years ago, with the cast and crew being hit with snow.
“The weather was not kind,” she said.
Mrs Ormandy said Oscar-winning costumer Ngila Dickson’s Victorian work for the film was stunning.
“The colours and vibrancy of that against the cream of the buildings and palms trees – it’s just amazing,” she said.
By Rebecca Ryan