Stars Come Out For Exhibition Launch

Source: Massey University

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Director Peter Jackson was apologetic about not being able to speak for long at the Benefit Opening of Viggo Mortensen's "For Wellington' photographic exhibition in the University's Museum Building on Friday.

'I have to rush home to try and get this film finished,' he joked to the exuberant crowd, adding: 'I joke, I joke - I finished it a day or two ago, it's fine.'

Dr Jackson, who, along with Fran Walsh, was given an honorary doctorate by the University in 1999, welcomed and thanked the actors, crew and media who had travelled so far to be in Wellington. Those who came to the Museum Building to celebrate with Mr Mortensen included actors Billy Boyd, Elijah Wood, John Rhys-Davies, Sean Astin, Sir Ian McKellen and Liv Tyler, along with composer Howard Shore and producer Barrie Osborne. All later chatted freely with the 600 guests in attendance.

Dr Jackson said fate had dealt him a 'kind hand' when Mr Mortensen arrived as a latecomer on the set.

"I admire the way he embraced this project, its people, the landscape - he prides himself in being a Dane, but I'm sure there's some Kiwi blood in there somewhere.'

This integration into New Zealand was also reflected in his amazing photography.

'Some of the photos are bit blurry though, Viggo, so perhaps you should buy yourself a tripod,' he joked.

Mr Mortensen initially drew huge applause with his accomplished singing of a waiata. He said it was an honour to show his pictures at Massey University 'especially in these halls that have historically been reserved for New Zealand art'.

He thanked Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh for adding their support to the show, and also thanked staff and students at the University for their assistance. The University then presented him with a replica bronze Kiwi from the Museum Building staircase. A gift was also presented to his Perceval Press co-founder Pilar Perez, a key figure in the curating of the "For Wellington' exhibition.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Judith Kinnear said it was a privilege to host the exhibition, to make connections and reach out to the community by sharing both the building and Mr Mortensen's art.

'If our proposed School of Film is achieved, we want it to be the best post graduate programme in the world,' she said.

'The industry has been wonderfully supportive and Viggo himself has said that this is a wonderful location for such a facility. The venture needs to be responsive to industry, and it needs to be truly elite, bringing together the best in the youthful creativity in this wonderful country.'

Earlier, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Heskin had welcomed the 600 guests. He thanked Mr Mortensen for initiating the exhibition and suggesting that proceeds from the Benefit Opening should go towards the proposed School of Film.
Last edited: 29 June 2006 14:14:22
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