Written by on Jul 18, 2013. Posted in On Location

Jane Campion TV crime drama Top of the Lake films in southern New Zealand

New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion filmed new crime drama Top of the Lake on location in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island. The seven-part BBC miniseries follows a detective investigating the disappearance of the pregnant daughter of a local drug lord.

Top of the Lake is set in a remote Otago community and was shot around Lake Wakatipu with stars Elizabeth Moss, Peter Mullan and Holly Hunter. Filming focussed on Glenorchy at the northern end of the lake, around a 40-minute drive from Queenstown.

“We shot in some of the most extraordinary unspoilt places in the world, and the wildness, being on the edge which is such a strong pulse in the story inspired us too,” comments producer Philippa Campbell: “Filmmaking takes you into worlds in a unique way and I think we were all very aware of how unique this experience of filming Top Of The Lake was.”

New Zealand’s South Island was made globally famous by Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and the country is firmly back in the international spotlight with the filmmaker’s new Hobbit films. Jane Campion’s storytelling is clearly on a different scale but the Otago scenery is as much a character in her extended tale of remote subcultures.

“Whenever I’m in the forest and we’re filming there it’s like having the most beautiful living room in the world,” Campion explains, “Then just the scale of these mountains - they have a way of making you feel that all your dramas are ludicrous beside this incredible landscape.

“I really love to share with the rest of the world what I think is so special about the South Island. A true wilderness is available and that is rare now.”

Top Of The Lake is screening on BBC Two in the UK.


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