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Celebrating success: 'The Power of the Dog'

An Oscar-winning success story, The Power of the Dog was written, directed and produced by one of New Zealand’s most notable directors, Jane Campion. 

The psychological drama was adapted from the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Filming utilised Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland as a production base facilitated by Screen Auckland.  

Go behind the scenes of 'The Power of the Dog' in Auckland

Filming for many of the interior sequences took place at Auckland’s leading film studios operated by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, with a strong local crew and supporting cast working on the outstanding production. 

It was an enormous pleasure to be working in my homeland with so many extraordinary Kiwi colleagues and particularly heart-warming to hear my lead actors’ comment that they had never seen sets so well made or dressed with such incredible detail.

Jane Campion 

The critically acclaimed psychological drama featured a stellar cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Frances Conroy, Keith Carradine and rising local star Thomasin McKenzie. To bring this enthralling tale to life, filming for many of the interior sequences took place on a sound stage in Penrose, with a strong local crew and supporting cast working on the visually stunning and emotionally resonant production.  

Director Jane Campion says, "Working with the enthusiasm and love of this crew and cast and Thomas Savage’s masterful novel was a lifetime thrill and I’m very grateful to the New Zealand Film Commission and the country for their support."

The film's success was undeniable, as it garnered a staggering 12 Academy Award nominations, with Jane Campion securing the coveted Best Director award. Her victory made her only the third female director to achieve this honour in the history of the prestigious awards ceremony.  Such recognition is a testament to the brilliance of Campion's direction and the remarkable talent of the New Zealand film industry. 

The world premiere of The Power of the Dog took place at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in September 2021, where it received critical acclaim and generated significant buzz in the film community. Following its successful festival run, the movie received a limited theatrical release, captivating audiences in cinemas before becoming available to a global audience on Netflix in December 2021. 

Behind the scenes, a highly skilled and accomplished local crew played a vital role in making The Power of the Dog a cinematic masterpiece. 

Award-winning professionals based in Auckland included Co-producer Chloe Smith (known for her work on The Piano, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Black Christmas), Production Designer Grant Major (renowned for his contributions to An Angel at my Table and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), Costume Designer Kirsty Cameron (noted for Slow West and Whale Rider), and Hair and Makeup Designer Noriko Watanabe (famous for her work on The Piano and Top of the Lake: China Girl). 

Their collective expertise and dedication were instrumental in creating the film's authentic and visually compelling world. 

Made in Auckland

Auckland’s crew, talent and production base facilities enabled the production to film in New Zealand and make use of the incredible South Island landscapes which stand in for Montana.  

  • 27 South Island shoot days and 23 Auckland shoot days
  • 25 key studio sets built
  • 27 New Zealand cast members
  • 248 Auckland crew members, including key heads of department 
Producer Jane Campion on location
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