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And the Oscar goes to … John Gilbert

We celebrated Porirua style with Oscar winner John Gilbert on Friday (2 June) at Pātaka.

Mr Gilbert will be talking about his award-winning film editing work with Mayor Mike Tana and a group of invited guests.

Mr Gilbert is one of the international film industry’s most respected editors and has received numerous awards and nominations, including the 2017 Oscar for Best Achievement in Film Editing and a BAFTA award for Best Editing working on Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. He has reunited with Mr Gibson to work on the upcoming historical drama The Professor and the Madman.

Mayor Mike Tana, who will present Mr Gilbert with a Mayoral Certificate on Friday, says his achievements are remarkable. “What he demonstrates is that it is possible to be a world leader in your field, all the way from Porirua. He is an inspiration, especially to young people who may be dreaming big and wondering how they can achieve those dreams."

Mr Gilbert started out working on documentaries in New Zealand before moving into film and television commercials. He twice won New Zealand’s best editor award, and his work on Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners led to being asked to edit the first Lord of the Rings films.

He has also worked with new filmmakers in New Zealand, executive producing six short films for the New Zealand Film Commission. The resulting short films were variously selected for the Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Clermont Ferrand and New York Film Festivals. 
And he has been in demand internationally, working with high profile directors such as Roger Donaldson, with whom he collaborated three times, editing The November ManThe Bank Job and The World's Fastest Indian. Further credits include Bridge to TerabithiaChasing MavericksBandslam, and Killer Elite.

Mr Gilbert grew up and went to primary school in Pukerua Bay, before moving to Wellington. Although his work has taken him much further afield and he spends a lot his time overseas, he and his family have chosen Porirua as their base, having lived here since 2010. His favourite spot in the city is his home right on Pāuatahanui Inlet.

Mr Gilbert didn’t set out to work in the film industry. “I did history at university, and there was a weekend University Extension Course I did for six weeks one summer on film making. I always loved films, but never thought I could have a career in film. I took a holiday job at the National Film Unit and never went back to University.”

His advice for young people looking to get into a career in film? “Watch lots of films and think about what makes them work. Then find the best people working in film near you and pester them for work, even if it means working for nothing. Work hard and make yourself indispensable.”

Later this year there will be a screening of the movie Hackshaw Ridge for young people interested in a career in film, with details to be announced on our Facebook page.

Porirua has a history of producing leading lights in the film industry, notably Sir Peter Jackson, who was raised in Pukerua Bay and launched his career filming Bad Taste almost entirely on location here. His Lord of the Rings trilogy won 17 Academy Awards, with 11 awards – including best Director for the third movie The Return of the King.

30 May 2017