Part 2: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest | The most excited e-mail of my life

This blog is part two of my journal about my unexpected journey to New Zealand, as winner of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest!

official winners

On the 3rd of October I got the most excited e-mail of my life: I was the potential winner of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest in Holland! Wait, what… potential winner? What doest that mean?

I was at work when I received the e-mail. My colleagues probably thought I sufferd from a stroke when I tried to tell them the news. They didn’t believe it (neither did I yet), so we all gathered around my desk, reading the e-mail about being a ‘potential winner’. The organisation had to make sure me and my guest met their entry requirements. So like our lives depended on it, we rushed to fill in forms, get our passports (we only had an identification card with which you cannot travel outside of Europe) and an ESTA, all within three days!

Meanwhile on Twitter, #Hobbitfancontest went mad! It was known that 75 winners got a message and how many winners each country had (only one from Holland… a.k.a. me!). People were dying from anticipation (figuratively speaking), but we weren’t allowed to talk about it yet! Finally on the 23rd of October it was official: we were going on an adventure to real Middle-earth, New Zealand! I was so relieved! And we received a lovely postcard from Sir Peter Jackson himself.

peter jackson postcard
A postcard from Peter Jackson

The winners from over the whole world found each other on Facebook and a secret group was created. It was so nice to speak with everyone about the contest, to see all of their videos and get to know each other better. Only seven days left and we would really see each other!

We got even more excited when we got the initerary! We could not believe what Warner Bros, Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand had planned for us: visiting Hobbiton and other filming locations across New Zealand, visiting Weta workshop and of course, meeting Sir Peter Jackson at the private screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in Wellington!

hobbit fan fellowship initerary
The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Initerary

This was kind of my reaction:

tears of joy gandalfexcited thranduil

I still couldn’t believe that this was happing. But I better start believing, because on October 31st me and my lucky boyfriend got up at 5.00AM to get to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. We travelled from Amsterdam to London, from London to Los Angeles and from Los Angeles to Auckland. A 25 hour flight to the other side of the world. We got closer and closer to Middle-earth. During our flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, we travelled with Air New Zealand, it’s lovely crew and the most epic safety video ever made in the style of Middle-earth, which they show on every flight.

The time difference between Holland and New Zealand is precisely 12 hours (for us the New Zealanders live in the future), so I felt a bit like a time traveller and had no idea which day it was. But according to our initerary, we arrived on Sunday the 2nd of November at 7.00AM in Auckland, New Zealand! Our journey to Middle-earth was about to begin.

Read about day one of our unexpected journey to Middle-earth in my next blog!

“If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.” – Samwise Gamgee, (FOTR)

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Part 1: The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest or the Beginning

This blog is part one of my journal about my unexpected journey to New Zealand, as winner of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest!

In July 2014 Sir Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, announced a competition for the world’s greatest fans to win a trip to New Zealand. As a huge The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fan, I was thrilled to hear about this contest! 

Hi everyone! As a ‘thank you’ for sharing in our Middle-earth journey through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, I would like to give you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Zealand to tour iconic filming locations. Winning fans will visit my hometown of Wellington and watch the first official screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with me.

In August,

The Global Fan Fellowship Contest, the worldwide quest to find the ultimate Hobbit fans, is open at www.thehobbitfancontest.com Thanks to our friends at Warner Bros., Air New Zealand and New Zealand Tourism. I hope to see you here soon. Cheers! – Peter J.

It was so kind to do this for your fans! But I couldn’t imagine how many people from over the whole world would participate. I mean, everyone wants to win a trip to New Zealand and meet Peter Jackson, right? What are the chances that you will win this trip? But I couldn’t get the competition out of my head and completed the challenges via the app of our national cinema Pathé, one of the sponsors, and on social media like Twitter.

The competition involved four challenges:

  1. Send a postcard to Peter Jackson with what you would do on your trip to Middle-earth.
  2. Take a quiz about New Zealand and filming locations of The Hobbit movies.
  3. Make a video with your favorite memory of Middle-earth and explain why you are the greatest Hobbit fan (mandatory to win the competition).
  4. Share the latest artwork of The Hobbit on social media.
Tweet Peter Jackson
My postcard to Peter Jackson

The most important challenge was the video entry: this video will be judged. So I wrote a little script and with the help of my friend Eva Heinsbroek (student at The Netherlands Filmacademy) we filmed in the Amsterdam forest. With the help of my boyfriend Arjen Kleiss (sound engineer) we recorded my voice-over (hearing your own voice is so weird) and inserted some music. The next couple of days, I edited. This became my video entry:

I tried to explain why I thought I’m the biggest Hobbit fan (in Holland). I saw all the behind-the-scenes footage on the extended versions of The Lord of the Rings and the video production blogs of The Hobbit, which were my first encounter with making films. I love to see how the different departments work together in the production of film. This inspired me to study Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam and to write my Master’s thesis about the adaptation of The Hobbit: from book, to script, to film. Now I’ve started at the ScriptAcademy in Amsterdam to become a screenwriter myself. The movies made me think about friendship, loyalty and the meaning of a home.

I entered with my video and then I waited… On YouTube I was looking at other beautiful and touching video entries by really talented people. People who made beautiful drawings, music pieces and costumes inspired by the movies. Others were more inspired on an internal level, whereby the stories gave them hope in difficult times. So beautiful to see that books and movies can mean so much more.
At the end of the competition on september 23, I ended on place #21 in the scoreboard. Was that even enough?

Rang Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest Holland
Ranking Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest Holland

Well… On the 3rd of October I got the most excited e-mail of my life. Read further in my next blog!

Winner of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest

Dear Hobbits, Elfs, Dwarves, Orcs, Trolls and Wizards,

I truly still cannot believe this myself, but I am one of the winners of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest! The 31st of October 2014 I travelled with my boyfriend Arjen to the other side of the world… to real Middle-earth: New Zealand!

I am so excited to have met the whole Hobbit Fan Fellowship and being among the first people in the world to have seen the final chapter The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies in a private screening with Sir Peter Jackson himself!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Arjen and Eva for helping me with the video entry, Peter Jackson for this opportunity and of course the sponsors Pathé, Warner Bros. NL, Air New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand for letting this dream come true! ❤

Read all about our unexpected journey of a lifetime to New Zealand here:

Read a short summary on Pathé Blog (in Dutch)

Please follow our adventure on:

Twitter: twitter.com/ElainaraFleur
Instagram: instagram.com/elysiumfleur

And the following hastags: #TheHobbit #HobbitFanContest #RealMiddleEarth #AirNZHobbit

www.thehobbitfancontest.com