Top of the Lake

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Top of the Lake
Top of the Lake title card.jpg
GenreDrama
FormatSerial drama
Created by
Written by
  • Jane Campion
  • Gerard Lee
Directed by
  • Jane Campion
  • Garth Davis
Starring
Composer(s)Mark Bradshaw
Country of origin
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (7 on Sundance)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Philippa Campbell
Editor(s)
  • Alexandre de Franceschi
  • Scott Gray
Location(s)Queenstown, New Zealand
CinematographyAdam Arkapaw
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60 minutes (45 on Sundance)
Production company(s)See-Saw Films
Screen Australia
Distributor
Broadcast
Original channelSundance Channel
Picture formatHDTV
Audio formatSurround
First shown inUnited States
Original runMarch 18, 2013 (2013-03-18) – April 22, 2013 (2013-04-22)
External links
Website
Production website
 
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Top of the Lake
Top of the Lake title card.jpg
GenreDrama
FormatSerial drama
Created by
Written by
  • Jane Campion
  • Gerard Lee
Directed by
  • Jane Campion
  • Garth Davis
Starring
Composer(s)Mark Bradshaw
Country of origin
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (7 on Sundance)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Philippa Campbell
Editor(s)
  • Alexandre de Franceschi
  • Scott Gray
Location(s)Queenstown, New Zealand
CinematographyAdam Arkapaw
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60 minutes (45 on Sundance)
Production company(s)See-Saw Films
Screen Australia
Distributor
Broadcast
Original channelSundance Channel
Picture formatHDTV
Audio formatSurround
First shown inUnited States
Original runMarch 18, 2013 (2013-03-18) – April 22, 2013 (2013-04-22)
External links
Website
Production website

Top of the Lake is a 2013 television miniseries written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, and directed by Campion and Garth Davis. It marks Campion's first work for television since An Angel at My Table in 1990. Filmed and set in New Zealand, the drama series follows a detective (Elisabeth Moss) investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl. Top of the Lake was co-produced by BBC Two in the UK, UKTV in Australia/NZ, and Sundance Channel in the United States.[1][2]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Actress Jennifer Ehle auditioned for the role of GJ, which went to Holly Hunter. Jane Campion originally offered the role of Robin to Anna Paquin, who had worked with her before on The Piano.[3] Paquin declined due to her pregnancy.

The series was originally intended as a co-production with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but the network pulled their funding when American-born Elisabeth Moss was cast in the lead role.[4] Australian-based channel UKTV, wholly owned by BBC Worldwide, filled the funding gap left by the ABC.[5] Philippa Campbell was the New Zealand-based producer.

Filming took eighteen weeks and was shot entirely on location in Queenstown and Glenorchy in New Zealand. While Queenstown is referred to during the series, Glenorchy doubles as the fictitious town of Lake Top. The scenes in the women's commune were filmed at Moke Lake.[3]

Series co-creator Jane Campion says that Top of the Lake comes to a distinct ending and there will not be additional seasons.[6]

Release[edit]

The series first screened in its entirety at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. Sundance screened the miniseries as a seven-hour program with one intermission and one lunch break.[7] It was the first miniseries ever screened at Sundance. It was additionally shown at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.

The series premiered on the Sundance Channel in the United States on March 18, 2013,[8] in Australia on UKTV on March 24, 2013,[9] and in New Zealand the next day (March 25) also on UKTV.[10]

Sundance Premiere Episodes[edit]

#TitleDirected byWritten bySundance Channel premiere
1"Episode 1"Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeMarch 18, 2013
In the small town of Laketop, New Zealand, a young girl named Tui Mitcham tries to drown herself in a lake. After she is rescued, a school nurse notices that Tui is pregnant. Robin Griffin, a police inspector from Sydney, is called to interview Tui at the police station. 
2"Episode 2"Garth Davis with Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeMarch 18, 2013
Robin encounters two women from Paradise. They tell her Tui was with them the day before she disappeared, but was gone in the morning. Robin organizes the local authorities to search for Tui. During the search, Robin walks into the lake and has a vision of Tui doing the same, clenching her fists in the water. 
3"Episode 3"Garth DavisJane Campion & Gerard LeeMarch 25, 2013
Matt Mitcham goes to Paradise and sits in on a session with GJ, the enigmatic leader of the camp. In a mocking tone, Matt asks the group about the human mind. GJ tells Matt that the human mind schemes. Later, Al meets Matt in the middle of the lake in for a secret meeting. 
4"Episode 4"Garth Davis with Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeApril 1, 2013
Robin has dinner at Al's ultramodern, clean house. Robin tells Al she thinks Tui's note, that said "no one", really means there are multiple rapists. Al tells Robin that she is getting too involved in the Tui case, likely because of her own personal rape history. 
5"Episode 5"Jane Campion with Garth DavisJane Campion & Gerard LeeApril 8, 2013
Robin asks Johnno what he wanted to tell her about the night she was raped. Johnno describes how he heard Robin screaming and he peed himself. He says he found a latch to get out of the dog cage in the back of the truck, but was too afraid to try to stop the men from raping her. 
6"Episode 6"Garth Davis with Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeApril 15, 2013
Robin reveals to Johnno that she plans to make a case against Matt Mitcham, in hopes of encouraging Tui to come home. Robin refers to a type of "rape" drug that she suspects Matt manufactures. Johnno warns Robin against pursuing this path as Matt's drug business provides much of the town with a livelihood. 
7"Episode 7"Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeApril 15, 2013
Robin goes to work, at the police station, the next day and tells Al that Matt said he was her father. Matt, certain that Tui could not be pregnant, searches for and finds her with her newborn baby. As he is about to kill the baby, Tui appears and kills Matt. As the final twist, Robin discovers Sgt Parker has been providing young girls, including Tui, to other men for sex. 

Six Parts Episodes[edit]

#TitleDirected byWritten byBBC2 UK premiere
1"Paradise Sold"Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeJuly 13, 2013
Tui's pregnancy is discovered, and the Paradise community moves in. 
2"Searchers Search"Garth DavisJane Campion & Gerard LeeJuly 20, 2013
Robin's search for Tui begins. 
3"The Edge of the Universe"Garth DavisJane Campion & Gerard LeeJuly 27, 2013
Robin makes a breakthrough. Over dinner at Al's place he warns her about her past being known. 
4"A Rainbow Above Us"Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeAugust 3, 2013
Robin thrown off the case. Her passionate affair with Johnno intensifies. 
5"The Dark Creator"Garth DavisJane Campion & Gerard LeeAugust 10, 2013
Robin is back on the case, Matt gathers troops to hunt Tui down. Tui's friends celebrate her birthday in the mountains. 
6"No Goodbyes Thanks"Jane CampionJane Campion & Gerard LeeAugust 17, 2013
Matt reveals his secret about Robin and the investigation concludes. 

Reception[edit]

Reviews of Top of the Lake have been positive, referring to the series as "masterfully made", "beautiful", "mysterious", "riveting" and "a masterpiece".[11][12][13][14][15][16] It received a score of 86 from Metacritic and a score of 93% from Rotten Tomatoes. There were some less positive reviews. Mike Hale of the New York Times wrote that the series contains "elaborately introduced plotlines" most of which simply "fizzle out" and that it contains "the worst kind of twist ending".[17] That said, "Top of the Lake" has also been lauded by feminist critics for its explicit effort to analyse rape culture [18] as well as its radical construction of narratives entirely foregrounding the experiences of single women.[19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

AACTA Awards[edit]

YearCategoryNominated artist/workResult
2014Best Telefeature, Mini Series or Short Run SeriesEmile Sherman, Iain Canning, Jane Campion and Philippa CampbellWon
Best Direction in a Drama or ComedyGarth Davis for "The Dark Creator"Nominated
Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television DramaPeter MullanNominated
Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television DramaRobyn NevinNominated
Best Cinematography in TelevisionAdam Arkapaw for Episode 5: "The Dark Creator"Won
Best Sound in TelevisionRichard Flynn, Tony Vaccher, John Dennison, Craig Butters, Danny Longhurst and Blair Slater, for Episode 5: "The Dark Creator"Won
Best Original Music Score in TelevisionMark Bradshaw, for Episode 5: "The Dark Creator"Nominated
Best Production Design in TelevisionFiona Crombie for Episode 5: "The Dark Creator"Nominated
Best Costume Design in TelevisionEmily Seresin for Episode 5: "The Dark Creator"Nominated
Best Editing in TelevisionScott Gray for Episode 5: "The Dark Creator"Nominated

Critics' Choice Television Awards[edit]

YearCategoryNominated artist/workResult
2013Best Movie/MiniseriesNominated
Best Movie/Miniseries ActressElisabeth MossWon
Best Movie/Miniseries Supporting ActorPeter MullanNominated
Best Movie/Miniseries Supporting ActorDavid WenhamNominated
Best Movie/Miniseries Supporting ActorThomas M. WrightNominated

Emmy Awards[edit]

YearCategoryNominated artist/workResult
2013Primetime Emmy Awards
Outstanding Miniseries or MovieNominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or MovieElisabeth MossNominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or MoviePeter MullanNominated
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic SpecialJane Campion, Garth DavisNominated
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic SpecialJane Campion, Gerard LeeNominated
Creative Arts Emmy Awards
Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie, or SpecialNominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or MovieEpisode: "Part 1"Won
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or MovieEpisode: "Part 5"Nominated

Golden Globe Awards[edit]

YearCategoryNominated artist/workResult
2014Best Miniseries or Television FilmNominated
Best Actress - Miniseries or Television FilmElisabeth MossWon

Screen Actors Guild Awards[edit]

YearCategoryNominated artist/workResult
2014Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieElisabeth MossNominated
2014Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieHolly HunterNominated

New Zealand Film Awards[edit]

Best Television Feature or Drama Series (won)[20]

2013 Screen Producers Australia Awards[edit]

Drama Television Production of the Year (won)[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top of the Lake and Two Mothers selected for the Sundance Film Festival" (Press release). Screen Australia. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  2. ^ "BBC Two - Top of the Lake". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  3. ^ a b "Elisabeth Moss, 'Top of the Lake' interview", Vulture
  4. ^ "No funding from ABC for Top of the Lake after it learned Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss was in cast". Daily Telegraph. News. 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  5. ^ "David Wenham: "Top of the Lake is ABC's loss"". TV Tonight. David Knox. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  6. ^ "Gone Girl: Inside ‘Top of the Lake,’ Jane Campion’s gritty new thriller". Daily Beast. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  7. ^ Yuan, Jada (2014-02-12). "Sundance: Campion’s Seven-Hour Top of the Lake". Vulture. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  8. ^ "Top of the Lake: Sundance Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  9. ^ "UKTV Announces Air Date For Top Of The Lake". Foxtel. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  10. ^ "Jane Campion: Lady of the lake". NZ Herald. 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  11. ^ "Seitz on Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake: A Police Procedural, Masterfully Made". Vulture. 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  12. ^ "Review: Jane Campion's 'Top of the Lake' mysterious, beautiful". Los Angeles Times. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  13. ^ "David Bianculli's Take on Jane Campion's New TV Drama: Top of the Lake". NPR Fresh Air. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  14. ^ "Top of the Lake – first look review". The Guardian UK. 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  15. ^ "A View from the Top: A Review of Sundance Channel and UKTV's Top of the Lake". Joe Hubris. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  16. ^ "Review: Jane Campion's 'Top of the Lake' a riveting long-form mystery". Hitfix. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  17. ^ "Pregnant Girl Vanishes, and Story Lines Fork". The New York Times. 2013-03-17. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  18. ^ "Top of the Lake: A Non-Watered Down Depiction of Rape Culture". Ms. Magazine Blog. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  19. ^ "Can We Talk About How Damn Good Top of the Lake Is". Jezebel. 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  20. ^ "The 2013 Winners of the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards". Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  21. ^ http://screenproducersaustralia.org.au/news/goalpost-pictures-awarded-media-super-production-business-of-the-year/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]