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New Zealand team wins Oscars for work on Avatar

A New Zealand visual effects team and arts director won Academy Awards today in Hollywood.

Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew Jones from New Zealand company Weta Digital were on stage to accept the award for “best achievement in visual effects” for their team’s work on the record-setting blockbuster Avatar.

The movie was shot using stereoscopic technology that has been widely regarded as a significant breakthrough in filmmaking.

Kiwi Kim Sinclair was among the team to accept an Oscar for best arts direction for their work on the same film.  Sinclair was the arts director for the film sets that were made in Wellington, New Zealand.

New Zealand company Weta Digital is one of a group of companies co-owned by Lord of the Rings director and New Zealander Peter Jackson, that includes Weta Workshops, Weta Productions and Weta Collectibles.

Avatar, the highest grossing film of all time with box office sales of over US$2.5 billion so far, was partly filmed in Wellington, New Zealand in 2007.  Weta Digital was responsible for the film’s outstanding visual effects.

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