Movie on local mining protest draws praise

By Amy McGillivray

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Z-Nail Gang world premiere at Capitol Cinema, Te Puke. Director Anton Steel (left) and producer Kylie DellaBarca Steel
Z-Nail Gang world premiere at Capitol Cinema, Te Puke. Director Anton Steel (left) and producer Kylie DellaBarca Steel

Positive reviews from the family at the centre of a locally produced feature-length movie settled the nerves of the Pukehina-based director and producer after the premiere in Te Puke this week.

The premiere of The Z-Nail Gang, a film about protesters who took on a mining company and won, was held at Te Puke's Capitol Cinema on Thursday night, with about 300 people present.

Among the guests invited to the screening were Mark Tugendhaft and Nedilka Radojkovich, the Coromandel couple who led the protests the movie was based on.

Producer Kylie DellaBarca Steel said she made a beeline for Ms Radojkovich as soon as the movie finished and was pleased to hear the story had bought tears to her eyes at one point.

No other opinion mattered as long as the couple were happy with the depiction of themselves and their children in the film, she said. "It meant quite a lot that they loved the film."

The couple's oldest son was also overwhelmed to see their story on the big screen, she said.

"He said the moment that really hit home that this was his story was when the little guy, Malachi, went and let down the tyres and ate the berries from the blackberry bush."

Director Anton Steel was also relieved to get positive feedback from the family.

"They were really touched. They were amazed by how many of the stories Mark had told me we managed to work into the film," he said.

But the positive feedback was not limited only to the family, Mr Steel said.

"Everyone loved the film, really loved the film. It got a lot of praise, which is good."

Actress Julie Collis, who played the sheriff's wife, was amazed by the response. "This morning I was walking down the street with my [The Z-Nail Gang] T-shirt on and I had people coming up and congratulating me," she said.

Seeing the finished product for the first time was always nerve-wracking but she was impressed by how it all came together.

"The nice thing about this film is that it builds," she said. "You ended up going out on a real high at the end."

Te Puke Economic Development Group managing director Mark Boyle said the feedback he had from locals yesterday was amazing.

"There's nothing but positive feedback." he said. "People thought the storyline was good. They thought the acting was tremendous. They were rapt about seeing local people and local scenery. They are really proud that it was being shown first in Te Puke."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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