Italian director Marco Gianstefani, who was denied entry into New Zealand to finish his documentary about Karamea, is crowdfunding to get the film finished.

Gianstefani, from Milan, spent two months in Karamea in April/May 2014 filming the township and its people - particularly those involved in the Living in Peace Project, founded by local man Paul Murray.

Italian director denied entry to finish Karamea documentary

He planned to return last month to gather more footage and complete the film, but was red flagged by Immigration New Zealand because he hadn't purchased a return ticket.


When he arrived in Auckland (from Perth), he was sidelined and questioned for about five hours.

Gianstefani mistakenly told Immigration New Zealand he planned to work in New Zealand as a WWOOFer (Willing Worker on Organic Farms) and was consequently deported.

He is currently in Melbourne, trying to gain entry into New Zealand.

"The Visa application is going ahead, my lawyer thinks that this (sic) are final waiting days, we will probably have a response by the end of this week," Gianstefani said.

His lawyer told him his chance of getting back into New Zealand was 50/50.

KARAMEA - Is this the end of the road? from Marco Gianstefani on Vimeo.

The struggle to get back to Karamea was partly the reason for the decision to crowdfund, he said.

"At first we were planning to run a crowdfunding campaign just for music score and postproduction."

However, waiting two months for a Visa in Melbourne was an unexpected cost, which meant funding was now needed to finance the second trip to Karamea, he said.

Also, if he were denied entry into New Zealand, he would have to hire someone to shoot the rest of the film.

In total, he planned to raise US$12,000.

The crowdfunding campaign was launched a week ago using the platform Indiegogo and spreading the word via Karamea - The Movie's official Facebook page. He'd raised 15 per cent so far and it was "going good", he said.

Most of the money had been raised in Italy, but people in New Zealand were now able to contribute.

"I'm super keen to come back and finish the movie, we had a lot of compliments and 'good job' comments about the trailer, both from the industry and [prospective] audience."

His determination to finish the film, which he'd been working on for nearly two years, was the reason he hadn't returned to Italy, he said.

"I just believe too much in this thing, there's no way I will not find a solution to complete the way I will give it up."

- Westport News