Black Sheep

BLACK SHEEP was the first feature film I wrote and directed. It was filmed in February / March 2006 and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in the prestigious Midnight Madness section less than six months later.

I’d had the germ of the idea some years before: ‘heh, New Zealand film about killer sheep – that could be fun …’, but it wasn’t until New year 2003 that I sat down and wrote it – hammering out a draft in less than 10 days. I showed it to a few people, saying ‘I won’t tell you what it’s about, just read it.’ The response I got was great. That draft attached producer Philippa Campbell and the support of the New Zealand Film Commission. Richard Taylor at Weta Workshop was also a very early supporter of the film, and his faith in the project and my ability to realise it as well as his commitment to Weta making the effects work was instrumental in getting the film made.

You can see a gallery of Weta Workshop concept art here.

The creatures in the film were designed and executed by Dave Elsey, who had come to New Zealand from the UK, via some time in Australia working on Farscape and Star Wars Episode III – for which he was nominated for an Academy Award (he later won in 2011, with Rick Baker, for The Wolfman).

The film shot for five weeks around Wellington – on the coast north west of the city, in a homestead northeast in the Wairarapa district and in Peter Jackson’s Stone Street Studios. It featured Nathan Meister as ovinophobic hero Henry Oldsworth, Peter Feeney as his brother Angus, Danielle Mason and Oliver Driver as environmental activists Experience and Grant, Tammy Davis as farmhand Tucker and Glenis Levestam as housekeeper Mrs Mac.

You can go here to buy the US DVD of Black Sheep.