Forgotten Silver

Synopsis: Forgotten Silver is a mockumentary which details the prodigious life of "lost" filmmaker Colin McKenzie and his incredible advances that were lost to history...until now. This supergenius filmmaker, posthumously inducted into the pantheon of cinema greats, made incredible advances in filmmaking technology, supposedly making a talkie in 1908 and using color film in 1911, but madness and poverty and the usual industry tolls drove him into obscurity.
Genre: Comedy
Production: New Zealand Film Commission
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
53 min


I'm in a small town called Pukerua Bay

in New Zealand.

Behind me is the house of an elderly lady

called Hannah McKenzie.

I've known Hannah all my life.

She's a very close friend of my parents,

who live just 4 doors away.

In fact, I remember coming to

"Auntie Hannah's" gardens,

as we called her when I was about 7 years

old and playing in these trees over here.

I didn't know a lot about Hannah

McKenzie back then

I knew that she was a widow - her husband

had died many years before I was born.

About a year ago I had

a call from my mother.

She said I should drop in on

Auntie Hannah sometime because

she was wondering if I'd be interested

in a lot of old films that she had stored

in a shed at the bottom of her garden.

I wasn't expecting much.

Hannah described them as a

lot of old home movies that her

husband, Colin, had taken.

I was expecting to maybe find

a bunch of old home movies,

drop them off at the film archive on my way

home and that would be the end of it.

What I found, sitting right here,

was an old chest.

I opened the chest and I found the

most extraordinary collection of films.

These were 35mm films.

The tins were rusty.

There were strange names on them.

"Warrior Season".

Films I'd never heard of.

I had no way of realizing the significance

of these films at the time.

We later discovered they were made between

the turn of the century and the late 1920s

by an extraordinary New Zealander.

A man who has now gotta join the

ranks of the great film pioneers.

A guy called Colin McKenzie.

At the archives we get a

lot of film coming in.

It's family parades, babies on lawns.

A lot of it's very

interesting, historically.

Just on dress, fashion,

and things like this, but.

Colin McKenzie's collection, on the other

hand, is something totally unique.

I got a call from Peter

and he wanted to know if I knew

anything at all about.

Colin McKenzie.

And, I had to say that I

didn't know very much.

The name wasn't totally unknown to me.

I'd come across it in a couple of journals

and a couple of old papers

but there was very little solid

information to relate to him.

Certainly there was no films that were

attributed to him.

We were very luck to get the

film in when we did.

They were starting to

deteriorate quite badly

some of the reels.

And, I think, within 5 years if it

hadn't have been found

it would have disappeared forever.

Imagine if a film

like "Citizen Kane" was to suddenly

come out of the blue.

Really, the discovery of this collection

was that exciting and that intriguing.

It's a treasure trove of films of

major historical importance

not just for New Zealand but worldwide.

This is New Zealand filmmaker is gonna rank

you know - I mean - with the greats,

like D.W. Griffith.

And I think, in some

ways, infinitely better.

I've gotta confess: Colin McKenzie

was just

a name I'd read somewhere in a book,

in a history book

and he didn't have a lot of impact to me

until this great discovery of all his films and

the historical research that's gone with it

and now I am just flabbergasted.

This is just the greatest film

discovery of the last 50 years.

Here was this unknown genius,

who died in obscurity,

and who now belongs, you know,

in the pantheon

of great cinema artists and innovators.

Colin McKenzie had humble beginnings.

He was born on the 7th of February, 1888

in the tiny South Island farming

community of Geraldine.

His father, John McKenzie, arrived in

New Zealand in 1879.

With typical Scottish pragmatism

he built his home and farm the hard way.

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Peter Jackson

Sir Peter Robert Jackson (born 31 October 1961) is a New Zealand film director, screenwriter and film producer. He is best known as the director, writer, and producer of The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–03) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012–14), both of which are adapted from the novels of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. Other films include the critically lauded drama Heavenly Creatures (1994), the mockumentary film Forgotten Silver (1995), the horror comedy The Frighteners (1996), the epic monster remake film King Kong (2005), and the supernatural drama film The Lovely Bones (2009). He produced District 9 (2009), The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011), West of Memphis (2012) and Mortal Engines (2018). Jackson began his career with the "splatstick" horror comedy Bad Taste (1987) and the black comedy Meet the Feebles (1989) before filming the zombie comedy Braindead (1992). He shared a nomination for Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with his partner Fran Walsh for Heavenly Creatures, which brought him to mainstream prominence in the film industry. Jackson has been awarded three Academy Awards in his career, including the award for Best Director in 2004. He has also received a Golden Globe, four Saturn Awards and three BAFTAs amongst others. His production company is Wingnut Films, and his most regular collaborators are co-writers and producers Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Jackson was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. He was later knighted (as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) by Anand Satyanand, the Governor-General of New Zealand, at a ceremony in Wellington in April 2010. In December 2014, Jackson was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Forgotten Silver" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 10 Apr. 2020. <>.

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