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Director Toa Fraser taking Giselle from stage to screen

Published: 7:44PM Friday November 30, 2012 Source: ONE News

Award-winning film director Toa Fraser is taking on a new project, turning his lens on the Royal New Zealand Ballet and their latest production, Giselle.

The project is a change from his earlier work, such as No. 2, which Fraser also wrote.

He told ONE News entertainment reporter Joanna Hunkin he was trying to capture the essence of what the ballet company were doing on stage.

"There's no dialogue - beginning to end it's very much inspired by what the Royal New Zealand Ballet are doing on stage - the music and the movement and the emotion on stage does all the story telling for you," Fraser said.

He said this film was a big change from his previous, scripted, projects.

"I come from a writing background so it's been very releasing to say I'm not going to write stuff, I'm just going to respond to what's in front of me," Fraser said.

"I actually don't know what it is. It's going to be good though."

For the ballet community, it is a chance to show the reality of their world, away from the cliches of Hollywood dance movies.

"Athleticism, the drama, the power, the beauty," said Ethan Stiefel, Royal New Zealand Ballet's artistic director.

"But (you) also get a sense of the rigour involved and the intensity. Not only on stage but behind the scenes," he said.

The film is also an opportunity to reach new audiences.

"This may be seen by more people than the Royal New Zealand Ballet's ever been able to share its performances with," Stiefel said.

Fraser is filming the ballet's performances of Giselle this week, before heading to China and New York next year.

The final film will feature a score recorded by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. It is already confirmed for international release.