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December 18, 2009

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Make a Kiwi film or try out for gym and fitness reality TV

YOUNG film makers from around the world are entering "Your Big Break" competition to compete for five opportunities to film in New Zealand with Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson.

The competition calls for three-minute screenplays to be submitted by January 15. Details at The short-film competition, titled "100% Pure New Zealand Presents Your Big Break," is sponsored by the New Zealand Tourism Bureau.

Finalists will direct and shoot their short-films on location in New Zealand, with assistance from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy executive producer Barrie Osborne and the world-class post-production facility Park Road Post. Films will be judged by "Rings" director Peter Jackson.

"Your Big Break asks people to capture the essence of 100 percent pure New Zealand and tell the world how they see the youngest country on Earth," says Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton.

"The importance of having two film industry legends involved is immense. Their support will help ensure the project is noticed by the world's film industry, give it international reach and, we hope, result in some great stories."

Osborne, who provides advice during the production period, says he is looking forward to working with young film makers and returning to New Zealand's dramatic landscapes - mountain ranges and lakes of the South Island, fjords and ski fields, and almost sub-tropical areas of the North Island.

"I can tell you New Zealand is an incredible place to shoot in, and anyone who has the opportunity to get their work judged by Peter Jackson has an opportunity of a lifetime," says Osborne.

To enter the first round, aspiring directors must submit a screenplay and supporting content by January 15. The public will be able to vote for the "people's choice" finalist; the other four will be chosen by experts, including Osborne.

Reality gym

The latest Shanghai reality TV show, "The Gym," is open to people aged 20-45 who want to get fit and live healthy. It's produced by House Film and Technogym, a producer of gym equipment.

The humorous and educational show, believed to be China's first fitness and health reality show, will follow six ordinary people over three months as they work out at a luxury gym.

Each will get a personal trainer who will push them to achieve their best.

Every two weeks, the cast will be judged on the effectiveness of their workouts and wellness programs, such as diet. Muscle mass, strength, definition, flexibility and coordination, as well as weight loss (where necessary) will be judged.

The top performer wins a prize; the loser faces a special challenge. The audience will watch everyone sweating it out. In the end, only one will win.

"We want this to be more than just a physical challenge," says Sarah Zhang, director of the 12-episode show. "We want to see the contestants' aspirations and how their lives change over three months of the challenge."

Every week, the new episode will be uploaded by Youku online exclusively to the 340 million-plus Internet users. For more information and casting application, go to The registration deadline is mid-January.


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