Scoop Review of Books

NZ Book Council’s Going West

A New Zealand Book Council film using paper craft animation to promote books and reading has become a YouTube hit, reaching a worldwide top 10 in the viral video charts.

The film, which uses paper cut animation of Maurice Gee’s novel Going West, was launched on YouTube a fortnight ago, and has since been viewed more than 330,000 times. It has inspired more than 1000 tweets on Twitter, 439 blog posts across the world, and has reached number 9 in the Viral Video Chart compiled by Unruly Media (

The film was produced for the Book Council by Colenso BBDO, who worked with Andersen M Studios in London to develop a concept that would show Gee’s classic New Zealand novel coming to life through hand cut ‘pop up’ scenery springing up from the pages.

What resulted was eight months of hard work and intricate paper cutting to create the two minute film, which can be viewed on YouTube at or on the Book Council website at .

Book Council chief executive Noel Murphy says Colenso and Andersen M Studios more than fulfilled their brief to excite people about books and reading.

“The idea that lies at the centre of this project is that reading is an activity that surprises, delights, challenges and ignites the imagination,” he says.

“We wanted to grab people’s attention for just one moment in the hurly burly world of modern media and direct them to the adventure that can be had in one’s own head at the flick of a page. Colenso and the Andersen M Studios created something that achieved that and more by literally bringing the book itself to life. “

Co-founder of Andersen M Studios, Martin Andersen, says “everything [in the film] is made by hand. The piece is a result of plenty of scalpel blades, paper and a lot of preparation and patience.”

In preparation for the film Martin and sister/business partner, Line Andersen, who worked as the animator on this project, researched New Zealand extensively.

They found the visceral language and detailed descriptions of scenery in Going West particularly helpful in creating the three-dimensional scenes in the film.

“Having done so much research we are both very intrigued by New Zealand, so hopefully we will pay a visit soon,” Martin says.