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Film calls for 200 locals to be extras

Libby Hunsdale, Poppy lead actor with writer/director Linda Niccol. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ALEYNA MARTINEZ
[email protected]

Masterton’s popular burn out car, Agro YX, will be cast in a new feature film being shot at the Motorplex on Manaia Road in Masterton this weekend, and the producers are also looking for up to 200 people to appeart on camera.

POPPY is a Kiwi film, written and directed by Linda Niccol, co-writer of the popular Second-Hand Wedding, and produced by Robin Laing, a founding member and president of Women in Film and Television, an organisation that seeks to support women in the film industry.

The film is about an irrepressible young woman with Down syndrome who refuses to be defined by her disability. She wants to become an apprentice motor mechanic, so she enlists the help of an ex-school friend Luke, who needs his car repaired in time to enter the annual burnout competitions.

Cue the Masterton Motorplex – set up in 2018, the intention was to get burnouts off the street.

“Everyone complains about having nowhere to do it, so Motorplex gave us this area to make a burnout competition,” event manager Brett Kenny said.

On Saturday and Sunday the POPPY production want Wairarapa people to come to the Motorplex to participate in the filming.

“POPPY are seeking a 150 to 200 turnout each day,” Laing said. “In addition, we are seeking a core group with some acting experience who are definitely available for both Saturday and Sunday, who will be more in the foreground of our shots.

“We have already locally cast a number of ‘featured extras’ to play certain burnout characters – announcer, judges, marshals, scrutineers, scorers etc.”

The film is funded by the New Zealand Film Commission, with funding from their 125 Fund in commemoration of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, NZ on Air and TVNZ who will ultimately screen the television premiere.

“We first visited the site on a research trip and were impressed by the facility and the burnout pad that has been built there,” Laing said.

Track manager Bob Wilton showed Laing and Niccol around.

“He also introduced us to the Rapanats who set up the pad and are working with us to deliver a burnout event for the purposes of filming,” Laing said.

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