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February 23, 2015

Travel Day

We've said our goodbyes to the Seatoun and Wellington and Stone Street Studios. Today was an official travel day, but almost everyone relocated up North over the weekend. Rotorua is a lovely city on the edge of a volcanic lake, where wisps of sulfuric steam waft from the earth and the air is redolent with the smell of rotten eggs (you grow to depend on it, I've found). I arrived last night. There was a notice in my hotel to make sure I closed all the windows, lest my room be overtaken by lake flies. I somehow missed the bathroom window, and so awoke this morning to find the floor and counter black with flies who'd come to roost. They were all dead.

I watched In The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness, Mami Sunada's documentary about Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Bryce recommended it the other day. There was a Ghibli retrospective going on when I first got to Wellington back in November, and although I only caught two movies (the astonishing The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya and the classic My Neighbor Totoro), it was the perfect mindset in which to begin pre-production. That seems like ages ago now.

Today, under gray skies and gentle rain, we scouted our locations for the week ahead. We'll be shooting deep in logging territory, down roads we've explored many times since our first scout last July. It's strange to be there now, seeing the production signs and orange cones and trucks full of gear that were just on the lot in Wellington on Friday, now parked out in the middle of the woods. Construction on the [reacted] is coming along beautifully. If only the weather stays inclement through Thursday, only for the sun to finally break at dawn on Friday, we'll be in wonderful shape.

This evening we had a Maori blessing, to kick off our month of shooting here. We had one in Wellington too, and it's a beautiful ritual, a welcome acknowledgement of the culture we're participating in down here and, inadvertent or not, a reminder that we're all trying to make something really special.

Posted by David Lowery at February 23, 2015 1:44 AM