The Turn of the Screw
Synopsis: This film adaptation of Henry James’ Victorian ghost story changes the location to present day Wellington. Set in a theatre over the course of an evening, Julia finds herself as a last-minute replacement for another actress at the dress rehearsal of a stage play version of The Turn of the Screw, set in 1890. Arriving at the theatre late that night, Julia is immediately thrown on stage and into her role, playing to an empty auditorium. As she interacts with the other characters and the story becomes increasingly terrifying, Julia begins to believe that not only is the fictitious house haunted – but also the theatre itself!
Jane Waddell (Mrs Grose)
Ben Fransham (The Uncle)
Ralph Johnson (Richard)
Ella Olssen (Flora)
I have always been a great fan of period and gothic horror, and was very interested in doing
an adaptation of one of the great Gothic horror mysteries of all time, The Turn of the Screw. There have been a number of previous film adaptations of this great work, but I had a very different vision which had never been done in any film adaptation previously.
However, in order to do this justice, particularly on a modest budget, great care and attention was needed to get everything right. During pre-production, my Cinematographer, Mark Papalii, and I put together a very specific visual plan for the film, inspired in part from some of the classic Hammer Horror films of the 1970s and also Von Trier’s Dogville and Manderlay. These are films in which minimalist architecture and backgrounds become a core and claustrophobic element and character in the film.
The film was shot entirely at the beautiful Wellington Opera House and at the new film
studios at Miramar Creative Centre. This helped create a striking parallel between the ‘real world’ scenes and the ‘play world’.
In post-production, we have used visual effects, music and sound design to complement what’s been shot, giving the film a very unique style and atmosphere.
The Turn of the Screw is also a great showcase for some of the finest acting talent in New Zealand, from ages 8 through to 70. We are also particularly proud that both lead roles are female and showcase the work of Greer and Jane to such a high degree.
I greatly look forward to continuing the film’s exciting journey in the coming months!
Alex Galvin Writer/Director
Alex studied linguistics at Victoria University, then went on to work as a speech writer in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet crafting the biographies for the Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s Honours. Inspired by these high achieving New Zealanders, Alex followed his dream to be a filmmaker by applying to the New Zealand Film and Television School in 2004.
At film school, Alex was chosen to direct one of only two graduation films that year and, upon completion, was immediately offered writing and directing work at Propeller Productions, a Wellington based video production company. Whilst at Propeller, Alex wrote and directed videos for clients such as Tourism NZ, ANZ Bank, ACC, the National Bank and NZ Post.
In 2007, Alex wrote and directed his first feature film, the horror/ thriller When Night Falls. The film received excellent reviews and was released in 25 cinemas throughout New Zealand. It was also distributed by E1 Entertainment in the US and Canada.
In 2008, Alex had his first novel One Endless Day published by First Edition Publishers.
In 2013, Alex wrote and directed his second feature film, the Hong Kong/New Zealand sci-fi mystery Eternity (2014). Eternity was also released in over 25 cinemas throughout New Zealand and screened on Air NZ International flights. It was also nominated for Best Self- Funded Film at the New Zealand Film Awards in 2013.
Eternity screened at ten international festivals including Cannes Cinephiles, Boston Film Festival, Lucerne Festival and the Madrid International Film Festival, winning several awards. Eternity was particularly successful in China, being chosen to have its Asia Premier at the Shanghai International Film Festival, then screening at the NZ Film Festival in China before going on to be a finalist for Best Foreign Film at the 2014 China Golden Roosters (Chinese Oscars) in Lanzhou, China. Eternity also secured a distribution deal in China through Galloping Films.
Alex has been lecturing in film at Victoria University of Wellington since 2016. Also a trained singer, Alex was a member of the New Zealand Opera Chorus from 1998 to 2015. In 2016, Alex directed
his first opera Don Giovanni at the Hannah Playhouse. He has since directed two more operas, The Marriage of Figaro and Madam Butterfly, all to critical acclaim.