Taste of Hollywood for pupils

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Rolling out the red carpet . . . Pupils attend the premiere screening of the film at the St James Theatre in Gore.

St Mary’s School pupils had a taste of Hollywood stardom at a special premiere screening of their production at Gore’s St James Theatre last Wednesday afternoon.

The school production, Cinderella Rockerfella, had been filmed and produced by an Invercargill film company.

Principal Annie Nelson said it made up for the lack of an audience during the performance.

“We finally got to share our school production. Due to Covid we hadn’t been able to do a live show.

“We decided to film it to make it as good and as memorable as possible. Rather than here’s what we missed because of Covid, here’s what we’ve got because of Covid.”

Pupils were interviewed by staff on their way into the theatre and had their photo taken with an imitation Oscars award on a red carpet, Ms Nelson said.

“We wanted to make it like an Oscars event and so it was just buzzy and exciting and the kids loved it.”

Some of the pupils wore dresses or suits.

“They really bought into the buzz.

“The feeling of success after they’d seen it was amazing. Their sense of excitement and achievement was palpable. To see their faces on the big screen, you can’t buy that.”

School productions were normally just filmed on a teacher’s phone, Ms Nelson said.

A long time was spent looking for a videographer before she found Bryan Campbell from Invercargill.

“The first ever camera that he sold was to Peter Jackson. We were looking for something for the kids to connect with, and there it was.”

“Blessed good fortune is how we found him. The filming was really really well done.”

Although pupils had missed out on performing live, Ms Nelson hoped parents saw the unique opportunity they had instead.

“I think for a parent, that would’ve been hard not to see that production. You don’t want your kids to miss out on anything. But to know that their kids got to experience something that very few children do will have made up for the loss.”

Parents were still able to watch the production from home as copies of the film had been distributed on USB drives, she said.