A still from the ‘Mortal Engines’ movie. Three of the engines in a row, the middle engine has the Union Jack on the front.

From set design, costumes, VFX and post-production, the Universal Pictures and MRC film draws on exceptional talent from across the Wellington region.

In fact, the movie was the first feature film directed by Wellington local Christian Rivers, filmed and produced almost all along a single street in the seaside suburb of Miramar.

For Christian, Wellington’s depth of talent made the process of making ‘Mortal Engines’ in New Zealand’s capital an enjoyable one.

“I’ve known all these crews [in Wellington] as they have come together over the years. It’s just a hotbed of creative and technical talent, and I can’t imagine going anywhere else,” he says.

It wasn’t just Wellington’s film-making talent that the production made the most of. Its musicians were also involved with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra recording the score.

“The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is a world-class orchestra, so it was great to be able to score here even though our composer, Junkie XL, is based in LA.

“He came down with his team and we got to score the film with some of the best musicians in the world,” says Christian.

He says Wellington attracts a lot of imaginative people, sometimes just for a film project, though many choose to stay.

“Wellington just draws so much creativity. It draws a lot of creative artistic people and technical people who want to innovate.

“I could mention anyone that works for Wētā Workshop or someone like Gino Acevedo or Joe Letteri, people who are the best in the world at what they do. They come here, they find a home here in the creative film industry and they never leave — I guess I’m just one of those people,” says Christian.

“This film is a testament to Wellington’s ability to make incredible productions and innovate as we go. We are very lucky to be surrounded by these people and businesses every day.”

Screen Wellington

Local talent

Of the 926 crew working on ‘Mortal Engines’, 98% were New Zealanders and 72% of speaking roles went to local talent.

It was filmed on 67 different sets across various facilities and external locations. Each week, 6,150 hours of hard work were collectively used on costume creation.

Local caterers fed up to 700 people each day, sometimes in many locations. Almost 2,250 kilograms of coffee kept the ‘Mortal Engines’ crew caffeinated during their shoots.

Screen Wellington’s Katie Frost says ‘Mortal Engines’ is evidence the entire film-making process can be done in Wellington, making for an easy, collaborative, and streamlined process.

“We have diverse locations all within a short distance, the talent, facilities and infrastructure, and a great lifestyle that makes filming here easier and enjoyable.”