Slow West is the Sundance award-winning western adventure set in 19th Century Colorado and shot on location in New Zealand's South Island.
Starring Michael Fassbender, Slow West is a 19th century American frontier story about a teenager on a journey to find the woman he loves, accompanied by Fassbender's mysterious Silas.
Slow West is the feature debut of BAFTA award-winning director, John Maclean and was co-produced by DMC Film, See-Saw Films (Top of the Lake, The King's Speech) and Rachel Gardner Films.
Turning New Zealand into the Mid-West
The tussock plains, silver birch forests and riverbanks in New Zealand's Mackenzie Country were used to create an incredibly convincing 19th Century Colorado in the film.
Academy Award®-winning producer, Iain Canning, explains why the team felt that New Zealand could stand in for the American West...
We were very aware of the options that the landscape there gave us. There’s incredible opportunity in New Zealand: you go one stretch of road and you’re in Scotland and you go on another stretch of road and you’re in Ireland then another and you’re in Devon in the UK. On the South Island we found vast expanses of uninhabited land with amazing texture that we could see as Colorado. It’s a very versatile landscape and you can also get the right season given that we were filming towards the end of the year, which is summer there.
Slow West Featurette
Take a look at this behind-the-scenes featurette, including interviews with Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Shooting in New Zealand
The shoot for Slow West consisted of six weeks in New Zealand and six days in Scotland for the scenes set in the Scottish Highlands. As well as providing the backdrop for the American mid-West, New Zealand contributed to the filming in a number of other ways.
The majority of the crew were New Zealanders, including the production designer, costume designer and make-up designer.
A New Zealander, Caren Pistorius, played the female lead as Jay's love interest, Rose Ross.
Twizel was the base for the crew during the shoot and the film shot in and around the Mackenzie Basin.
Check out this fantastic article from The Location Guide about the experience of shooting the film in New Zealand.