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21 March 2013 ·

From Iguanas to Red Carpet: FIrst view of Return to Nim’s Island

All photos by Ryan Makepeace

A film premiere is a lot like a wedding. There’s so much excitement about the event – the dress, the venue, the weather – that it’s easy to forget the reason behind it.

Mango the baby rhino having a mud scrub

And when a film premiere is held at Australia Zoo, so that between the media call, the book signing and the red carpet, you watch condors and crocodiles in action, feed kangaroos and elephants, and help to smear a mud bath onto a baby rhinoceros, it’s even easier to forget that you’re there to see the film. To see, for the first time, the culmination of five years of work, crossed fingers, prayers and angst. To be in an audience and understand whether or not the film works.

So there I was, in my lovely Argyro Gavalas dress, sitting in front of Russell Crowe and the film’s producer Chris Brown, with my stomach in knots, waiting for Return to Nim’s Island to begin. How would I face Bindi Irwin and Toby Wallace afterwards if I didn’t find them believable? If I thought the film missed the tone the word I created, or was simply lackluster?
I stopped worrying as soon as the first images appeared: Nim and Selkie, as I’ve imagined them since I wrote them in 1999.  I was swept up in the story as if I’d never read the script at all. The acting was great; the locations and settings was amazing, the cinematography was breathtaking; I loved the music; the audience laughed and gasped in the right places… it all hung together. In fact, it not only worked, it’s a very good film.
If you don’t believe me, go and see it for yourself.  
Toby Wallace & I being hugged by elephants

Another day I’ll tell you more about the dress, the baby rhino, and walking the red carpet with a wombat. But I’ve started with the film, because that’s what it’s all about.  
It wasn’t all too serious
Bindi, Toby & friends arriving at red carpet

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio