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Anna Wilding: response to Monday’s Vintner’s Luck story

Anna Wilding responds to the article Vintner’s Luck caught in a Buddhist scrap.

I write in response to your article to clear some matters up. Firstly I do stick by my initial release and my rights to send it as a person with close ties to the Buddhist community and someone who made a respected Buddhist film and has gone through many Buddhist protocols in the making of it.

I do not mean or intend to adopt a holier than though attitude at all. I am a very humble person, who works without NZ Film government backing.

Through his conversation with me, I know the Secretary of the Buddhist Trust was concerned and told me they were indeed unaware of the Vintner’s Luck release and denied to me “inviting” the film, or that it was part of the Dalai Lama’s scheduled as stated and intonated in the Vinter’s Luck release.

As far as my understanding goes it is against Buddhist protocol for the monks or Trusts to promote films directly so Caro’s release was immediately deeply alarming to me and somewhat out of place. I have no ill will, however, I would have thought it better the focus be on the Dalai Lama’s visit, not on a distracting press release promoting Niki Caro’s The Vintner’s Luck.

Rialto Cinemas also denies sending out the release to me and Manager Kathryn Bennet contacted me and stated it was from the “filmmaker, and Vintner’s Luck”. The Dalai Lama Trust have been fully aware of my press release for three days and did know I was sending it out. At the end of the day I can but hope that Caro has a better understanding of of Buddhist protocol in such matters.

The editor is also quite correct about the initial release, in the fact it did point to “this site was set up to support and promote the film The Vintner’s Luck.” I also noted at least one online posting which directly stated the event was part of the Dalai Lama’s itinerary. Out of respect to the Buddhist community, and having experienced their dealings first hand, my concerns were legitimate. I have no doubt that people did enjoy hearing the monk speak at the event. Monks often speak in the community and at events.

To address your two other points. Firstly in regards to the complaint I laid against the editor of The Press in 2004. This was not without considerable weight behind it. What the outcome does not tell you is the fact that my complaint lay directly with the fact that The Press did not give decent airings or fairness to the riders and other matters on Lord of the Rings, the findings of the AHA in Los Angeles, nor allow me to respond to their first report on me on the matters.

Since that time they have given some play to Buddha Wild and called me a “multi talented filmmaker”.

On the matter of Lord of the Rings. Unknown to many except those executives in the loop I worked for over a year on cleaning up messes on Lord of The Rings to ensure that animals and riders were getting fair treatment, as many came to me with complaints. Hundreds.

It was hard deep, investigative, exhausting work. I brought in and worked with the American Humane Association. All three LOTR films were cited as “questionable in the treatment of horses”. You may see this on their official website, LOTR: FOTR, LOTR: TT and LOTR: ROTK. New Line, who I was in contact with often from the start, and whom I had a prior relationship with, thanked me for my humanitarian work on all three films. I remain in contact with Mark Ordesky at times.

I ask only for some fairness and understanding from the NZ media, the right to voice for the goodness and better in the world. I wish the NZ Film industry the best of luck. The Dalai Lama’s visit is not an industry matter, per se, but this matter did raise questions of ethics in the film business, but I didn’t bring those into it, until this industry publication.