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Libertine puts first feature into development

The first company supported under the NZFC’s Business Development Scheme, Libertine Pictures, has announced the first project it hopes to put into production.

Libertine will develop the feature travelling under the working title Urban Mermaids. The film is inspired by Auckland water ballet group Wet Hot Beauties. One of the group’s creators, Pip Hall, has been commissioned to write the screenplay.

The Beauties, who sometimes travel under the name Wet Hot Bitches, offer saucy seaside entertainment of a style popularised in film by American choreographer Busby Berkeley.

Libertine’s Head of Development, Emily Anderton, a panel member at Script to Screen’s Writer’s Room earlier this week, brought the project to the company after working with Hall on a separate project.

The WHB group comes together during the summer months to rehearse and perform , most recently in Auckland at Pt Chevalier, Takapuna and Mission Bay beaches. Libertine’s Richard Fletcher explained that, given the material, production would have to take place in the summer months – hopefully next year – or risk a lot of unhappy performers.

Wet Hot Beauties

Wet Hot Beauties
Photo Roy Emerson

Richard Fletcher said that the project was not one that the company would be seeking partners for on its trip to Cannes later this month. Libertine will be hoping to advance discussions on other projects in France and, after that, in London.

Libertine has been up and running for just over six months now, and expects to pick up the pace on announcing projects as the year progresses.

The company’s Creative Director Neil Cross is now back from an extended stint getting the first season of his Crossbones out of Puerto Rico and on to screens (it starts its US run at the end of the month). The Mama, Spooks and Doctor Who writer, who also created Luther, will advance a number of film and TV projects for Libertine in the coming months.

Libertine recently closed the doors on its Big Break call, which netted 225 submissions – a lot more than Liberitne guessed it might receive. Fletcher expected the company would be going back to those who submitted in mid-June once it’s had time to give everything a decent amount of consideration.

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