Trans-tasman showdown starts today

Positive and perky Amazing Race hopefuls Emily and Jono Trenberth may seem like sweeties at first but underneath lies a fierce competitive streak which they hoped to use to their advantage.

This year’s Amazing Race pits New Zealand against Australia in a trans-Tasman showdown.

The teams are out to win but this time they also carry their nation’s pride on their shoulders.

Teams follow clues in a race around the world, crossing ten countries. The winner of the series is the first team to finish the final leg and collect the grand prize of $250,000.

The Christchurch duo were nicknamed the ‘Von Trapps’ during filming because of a habit of breaking out into song and dance at odd times.


Beyonce & Jay Z ‘joined by lawyers on tour’



Cirque du Soleil arrives in Auckland

The Cirque du Soleil has arrived in Auckland for its Totem show – illustrating the evolutionary progress of human species through athleticism, comedy and beauty.

The trademark blue-and-yellow big top tent, sitting more than 2600 people, was raised today at Alexandra Park. It stands 19 metres high and is 51 metres in diameter.


New X Factor NZ bags 800k taxpayer funding

The glitz, glamour, music and dramatic pauses of The X Factor New Zealand will return to local screens next year.

NZ on Air announced today it would provide funding of up to $800,000 for 32 episodes of a new season.

A MediaWorks spokesman said auditions for the new season would take place this year.

It has not yet been confirmed whether any of last season’s judges (Melanie Blatt, Daniel Bedingfield, Ruby Frost and Stan Walker) will return for the new season.

MediaWorks TV programming director Mark Caulton said it was fantastic to bring X Factor NZ back to TV3.

“The first series was a huge success, and Jackie a deserving winner,” Caulton said. “It’s also rewarding to see the ongoing success of other contestants like Benny Tipene. The X Factor was the biggest pop-culture show of 2013 and with the next season we can expect it to be bigger and better.”

In 2013, Sony Music signed the top four The X Factor NZ contestants, Thomas, Whenua Patuwai, Tipene and Moorhouse. Thomas won the grand-final decider, which was watched by a cumulative audience of 1,326,000 on July 22.

An estimated 553,976 votes were cast to decide the winner.

The season’s three finalists – Thomas, Tipene and Patuwai – also held the top three positions on the NZTop 40 the week immediately after the final. It was the first time the X Factor format had produced the top three singles in anywhere in the world.

Sony Music New Zealand managing director Kim Boshier said the format, launched by Simon Cowell’s production company in the UK in 2004, was “not only an extraordinary TV show but also an incredible format for discovering new talent”.

The X Factor NZ is a SYCO-owned format, and will be co-produced by MediaWorks and FremantleMedia Australia.
NZ on Air is a minority funder of the show.

NZ On Air has also announced $165,000 in funding towards the staging of the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, which will screen live on FOUR this year.

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– Stuff


Katy Perry eats out of Kiwi director’s hands

Asking Katy Perry to eat a giant slice of watermelon on camera was never on Joel Kefali’s to-do list.

But that’s where the Kiwi music video director found himself during the shoot for Perry’s new song, This Is How We Do, with the results described as “bright, colourful and simply cray-cray”.

Since being released on Friday, the video from Perry’s new album PRISM, which she will tour here in December, has more than 7.8 million views on YouTube.

In it, as described by Rolling Stone, she “enters a hyper- stylised, pastel-soaked pleasure dome,” populated by animated tacos, twerking ice-creams and pop-art inspired designs.

“I didn’t put her through her paces too hard,” jokes Kefali, who graduated from Auckland’s Unitec in 2005 with a design degree in fine art and animation.

He has found his work in increasing demand in the United States since directing Lorde’s Royals last year, which has had 315 million YouTube hits.

“There were definitely a lot of cold calls from labels and artists and complimentary emails after that,” Kefali, 30, said from his Auckland home yesterday.

“It has definitely helped my work. I think that is what the Lorde project has done for a lot of people.”

Earlier this year, Kefali approached Doomsday Entertainment in the US to see if they would partner him on a video for an artist he was working with. He was signed as one of the company’s artists, and Perry asked him to do a script treatment for her new single – which she loved.

“My idea was to make a pop video but to keep some edge to it, and make it feel like it was pop art,” he says. “We did a studio- based shoot where we used lots of animation and props, and then each line of the song had its own little vignette.”

It was in complete contrast to the moody, washed-out video he did for Royals, but it was important to capture Perry’s aesthetic, he says.

“If you look at my work [those] are probably the two extremes, and everything else I’ve done probably falls within the gap of those two jobs.”

Perry was easy to work with, Kefali says. “She’s great, she’s got a good sense of humour, she’s very creative herself and she had a lot of ideas and involvement in the shoot.”

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– Sunday News


Gossip: When Jen met Ange

While this week marks 100 years since the start of World War I, in gossip-magazine land another infamous conflict is being commemorated: Jen versus Ange.

It has been 10 years since Jennifer Aniston’s marriage to Brad Pitt ended following rumours of his affair with Angelina Jolie.

But after a decade of avoiding each other, the exes have finally reunited, Woman’s Day reported.

Aniston’s best friend Courteney Cox reportedly set up the meeting when she was planning a 50th birthday party for mutual friend, actor David Spade.

Cox wanted Aniston to be able to move on with “no regrets or grudges about the past”, ahead of her marriage to director Justin Theroux, an insider said.

She talked it through with both Aniston and Pitt, and they eventually agreed.

“Courteney was right when she told Jen that it would all be fine,” the insider said.

“Brad walked in and said warmly, ‘Hi honey, how are you’ to Jen and the ice melted.

“They were laughing and joking as if they’d been friends ever since they broke up.”

According to Woman’s Day, even Jolie approved of the meeting.

“It’s fair to say that Ange feels a certain amount of guilt towards Jen and she has no problem with them making peace,” a source said.

“She’s been with him long enough that any jealousy is gone.”

But New Idea had a different take on things, describing the pair as “bitter rivals”.

The two women would face off at George Clooney’s upcoming wedding to Amal Alamuddin, the magazine reported.

Pitt was rumoured to be Clooney’s best man.

Both Aniston and Jolie were going “all out” with designer diets and cosmetic procedures in a bid to outdo each other, New Idea said.

“This will be an epic showdown, one they’ve both been dreading for the best part of a decade,” an insider said.

“Jen wants to look younger than Angelina and hotter than she’s ever looked in her life.”

Another source said Jolie had “flat out banned” Pitt from talking to Aniston.

Back home, and veteran presenter Jason Gunn had told the Women’s Weekly he planned to add acting to his repertoire.

The More FM co-host and former Dancing With the Stars co-presenter said he had been inspired by his 19-year-old step-daughter, Grace Palmer, to take up the challenge.

Palmer has just landed a role on Shortland Street, playing new nurse Lucy Rickman.

“Seeing Grace succeed has made me think it’s time for me to do it,” Gunn said.

“If it works out, great! I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think, ‘I wish I’d had a go at acting’.”

Palmer is only a year older than Gunn was when he made his TV debut in Son of a Gunn with puppet Thingee.

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– Stuff


9 ways to experience Disney in real life

Going to Disneyland is fun, but an amusement park has nothing on the real-life castle that inspired the one in Sleeping Beauty.

Yes, even Disney needs a little magical motivation, sometimes.

Animators often look to real architectural structures as sources of inspiration for the dreamy castles, palaces and cities featured in the films that captivated your childhood.

Many of these places are now popular destinations that are open for visiting and touring, not to mention photo opportunities.

You can visit these enchanting locations year-round, so start planning your Disney pilgrimage now.

This article originally appeared on Mashable.

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NZ Film Festival review: Locke

The description of this movie’s setting and plot was intriguing: just one man, in his car, making and receiving phone calls during a single trip at night.

Having now seen it, I don’t want to say too much, except this: the film delivered. The unfolding drama would have been enough in itself, an unguessable story well-told and well-paced.

The visuals, unexpectedly, had their own appeal to add; I don’t mean that it was stunning, but I admire the artistry that can work within such a narrow scope – one person, one confined setting – without letting it appear even slightly strained or absurd.

And lastly, I believe I enjoyed the opportunity to let my own imagination build up impressions of the other characters, who only ever appear as voices on the phone. I don’t think the voice-actors got a mention in the festival catalogue, which is rather a shame; whoever they were, they became as real and individual as the man in the car.


Spark festival set to ignite arts supporters

More than 20 artists, designers, film-makers, musicians, writers and media commentators will be in Hamilton next week, sharing talent and knowledge.

The annual Spark International Festival of Media, Arts and Design is now in its 16th year. The week-long series of events organised by Wintec’s School of Media Arts has become a major event on the national arts calendar.

Spark is designed to engage and educate those with an interest in the creative industries by bringing inspiring people to Wintec students and the Waikato’s wider arts community.

The festival will run from August 11 to 15. Its 35 presentations, exhibitions, panel discussions and associated events from local and international presenters, are free and open to the public.

This year’s guests hail from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They include internationally renowned artists Gabriella and Silvana Mangano (Melbourne), photographer Derek Henderson (Sydney) and film director Tapiwa Chipfupa (South Africa).

Musician Rob Thorne will open this year’s festival with a taonga puoro performance at 9am on Monday at the Gallagher Hub on Wintec’s city campus.

“The programme of events for 2014 is diverse and dynamic and we’re excited to be welcoming presenters at the cutting edge of their fields to the Waikato,” festival director Megan Lyon said.

“This year we also welcome a contingent of 40 students from the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay. We’re really pleased to see the Spark audience grow.”

This year Spark was awarded $7000 from Creative New Zealand’s 2014 Arts Grant, which will support workshops and presentations by artists Darryn George, and Gabriella and Silvana Mangano, the Melbourne-based duo who collaborate to create videos based on the documentation of their performances.

George exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2013. He has been a finalist in the Wallace Art Award, received a Te Waka Toi Arts Grant and has taken on a major commission for the Deustche Bank’s head office in New Zealand.

Visit for the programme.

[email protected]

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– Waikato Times


Arts shows different side to NZ

A video of a driver doing burn-outs and portraits of vegans are among the works representing New Zealand at a major art show in Edinburgh.

A group of contemporary New Zealand artists are exhibiting in Britain for the first time as part of a show exploring the idea of the Commonwealth.