Last Ocean filmmaker celebrates Ross Sea reserve
Melanie Langlotz Geo AR Games uses tech to get kids off the couch
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To add to that list of awards events, the NZ Film Awards has also opened the doors for submissions – albeit briefly. Get in quick – by 9 December – if you want your hat in that ring.
We planned to publish our interview with Peter last month but – just as we were putting the issue together – along came the decision to name the Ross Sea a Marine Protected Area. As that was the subject matter of Peter’s previous doco, The Last Ocean, it seemed right to not publish comments which were suddenly out of date but to expand the interview a little. If you’re enjoying the PDF version of Crewed, you’ll have already seen the cover image, taken during the production of The Last Ocean. Also running on from last month were the final parts of a couple of other articles, Ande Schurr’s piece on Stallone Vaiaoga-Iosa’s Three Wise Cousins (now on video if you’re looking for Chrissy pressies) and Glen Walker’s visit to the now-wrapped Christchurch set of Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie’s The Changeover. We were a little caught out by TVNZ’s decision to double up episodes of Dirty Laundry, which means that our interview with some of the team on that now runs after the fate of the show has been sealed. Currently looking for testers in Wellington, Melanie Langlotz’s Geo AR Games has made Sharks in the Park and Magical Park, which encourage kids to go outside and play – without having their phones and devices surgically removed. As the ‘AR’ suggests, screens are a welcome – indeed necessary – part of the experience.
NOV.2016 VOL.01, no. 09
Earlier this year, Casey Whelan was a winner at SWANZ. Fritha Stalker catches up with her in the wake of her double win. We’ve got an interview with another winner, Yamin Tun, who was last week named SPADA’s New Filmmaker of the Year, and yet another interview with a winner – Peter Young, who recently celebrated wins overseas for The Art of Recovery.
Adding to last month’s crop of gongfests (from Ngā Aho Whakaari, the NZ Cinematographers Society, Show Me Shorts and Uni Shorts), the NZ Web Fest: #NZWF16, SPADA and this year’s HP48Hours competition have all handed out their awards in the last couple of weeks. We’ve photo-spreads from the first two and you can enjoy the 48Hours grand national champion here.
CREWED is the techo-focused publication from the publishers of SCREENZ CREWED publishes 10 times a year, monthly from February to November. Editor & Publisher: Keith Barclay email@example.com 021 400 102 Publisher & Advertising: Kelly Lucas firstname.lastname@example.org 021 996 529 Subscribe at www.screenz.co.nz/newsletters www.crewed.co.nz/newsletters Keep up with us on Twitter twitter.com/screenznz twitter.com/crewedNZ on Facebook facebook.com/screenz.co.nz facebook.com/crewed.co.nz Copyright in all CREWED content lies with the author. Content may not be reproduced without prior permission.
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Say What? Peter Young
Cleaning up Dirty Laundry
Glen Walker visits The Changeover (2/2)
Editorial Publisher Info
Write stuff: SWANZ winner Casey Whelan
Playing out with Geo AR Games
PICS: SPADA Conference
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New Filmmaker Yamin Tun
Ande Schurr: Three Wise Cousins (2/2)
CONTRIBUTORS Ande Schurr Ande has been location sound recording for ten years. He’s worked on 15 feature films including Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople and many TV series including The Moe Show. He is passionate about helping people grow in their business, personal development and he writes articles for freelancers. www.schurrsound.com Fritha Stalker Fritha works with the NZWG, and has a checkered past including being EO at the Techos Guild, a biologist in Rarotonga and spending random bits of her childhood on set where NZ's independent film & TV pioneers were making it up as they went along. This grab-bag adds up to knowing a little about a lot. Glen Walker
Experienced and highly regarded DoPs, camera operators and sound recordists specialising in broadcast and commercial production. Documentaries
Give us a call for quotes or enquiries Auckland 09 373 4330 Wellington 04 499 9225
Shelving his career in libraries, Glen is now working at screenwriting and enjoying meeting people working in New Zealand’s creative sectors. email@example.com
Photo: John Weller
Peter Young is a documentary filmmaker, whose films include the multiple award-winning The Last Ocean. He also works as a freelance cameraman. At the recent APRA Awards, composer Tom McLeod was nominated for his score for Youngâ€™s 2015 documentary The Art of Recovery. We last spoke to Peter Young almost a year ago, as The Art of Recovery was heading to its releases in Auckland and Wellington, following its successful premiere in the New Zealand International Film Festival. 6 | CREWED
Midnight sun over pack ice
Howâ€™s The Art of Recovery going now? We had a long wait for our first festival outside of NZ, and then we got accepted into two screenings on the same weekend, Lund International Architecture Film Festival in Sweden and New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles. We ended up taking out top honours in both festivals: The Grand Prize in Lund, and Best of the Fest as well as Best Feature in LA. It was wonderful to see the story resonate so strongly, people loved the spirit it captures and the
discussion it provokes. For me, the best thing about these awards is that they will help to get the film into other festivals. There’s a lot of films out there fighting for limited places so you need all the help you can get. We screened at Arohanui Film Festival 26 – 31 October, Joe Hitchcock and the team of dedicated film fans did a great job with that festival.
the cleanest in NZ. The coastline is stunning, water warm, my kids go to school bare-foot on a bus and it’s only 50 minutes from downtown Auckland, so close enough to do day to day shoots. I’m working with new directors and producers and getting along to industry events without having to jump in a plane, so all is going well.
A year ago you’d just moved up to Auckland from Christchurch. How’s it been? After 20 plus years in Christchurch it was quite a change but we’re enjoying the adventure and the community up here is great. Christchurch will always have a special place in our hearts, which is why I made The Art of Recovery, because I care for the place and wanted to contribute to the discussion about its future.
Having freelanced for 20-odd years I have a good network of friends throughout the country that I work for, and I’ve always travelled for the longer term projects anyway, so the move north has had little impact on work.
Where we live now, Point Wells (near Matakana), is on the banks of the Whangateau estuary - one of
Have you been back to Christchurch in the last year? I’ve been back quite a few times and still work out of there. Earlier this year I made a four minute promo that celebrated the spirit of Christchurch which was a wonderful project to be involved
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with. It was commissione d by the Airport and was open sourced so anyone in the community could use it. I spent a lot of time in the city and it is changing a lot. As new buildings go up and the CBD begins to take shape, it will inevitably become more ordered and gentrified which for me, highlights how dynamic, exciting and energetic the central city was in the post-quake transitional period. I’m really pleased to have captured a small part of the that remarkable era and am sure that the new city will retain some of that energy, especially with Lianne Dalziel back at the helm, who were great supporters of it. Establishing the Marine Protected Area in the Ross Sea must feel like a win. Can you talk a bit about your contribution to the campaign to establish the reserve? The Marine Protected Area (MPA) was a huge victory and a wonderful way to complete this 10 year journey. That 25 different nations sat around the same table and agreed to protect the Ross Sea sheds a ray of light on a pretty dark global landscape. I am proud to have played a part in that process and I hope that the many who helped me along the way can take some joy for their role as well.
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That’s what is so special about this for me, the origins were genuine grass roots. We were campaigning for a good three years before we made the film, we found out how hard it was to spread the word and get our story in the media so the documentary was always going to be an important part of the campaign toolkit. Funding was a continual struggle, we were unsuccessful at the NZFC but were thrown a lifeline when Kathy Wright agreed to screen it at Prime which was supported by NZ on Air. It was made with about a quarter of the budget so relied on the goodwill of many. Jonno Woodford Robinson, Cameron, Vicki and the team at Park Road Post, EP’s Dave Gibson, Richard Fletcher, Paul Davis, Matt Emery, Plan9, Richard Lord, Richard Langston, Mike White, Chris Sinclair, Audrey Young, Emma, Jen - and so many more. The MPA itself isn’t perfect. It has a sunset clause which means they will re-assess the situation in 35 years, and commercial fishing continues in a few areas of the Ross Sea, but that’s the cost of consensus. With so many different agendas, cultural values and economics, compromise is inevitable. The important thing is that the MPA is in place, we can always build on that. But end
of the day we have left a wonderful gift for our children. What’s happening with The Last Ocean? When we were releasing the film during the campaign we made the decision not to sell it to a distributor (except for Germany) because we wanted to retain control and use it for our own campaigning. It was released on iTunes in nine different languages and we toured with it in North America and Europe. In that way the film has pretty well run its course, but we still get the odd screening request. The latest was from the US State Department where it played at various embassies around the world and at the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC a month before the CCAMLR meeting. You had Gaylene Preston on board The Art of Recovery after you worked on Hope and Wire. Do you have much contact with other filmmakers in NZ?
There are lots of good things about running a small production company - but one of the downsides is that you don’t tend to work with larger teams, which is something I do enjoy when given the opportunity. The nature of making feature docs (and pretty well any film or TV project for that matter) is that it relies on a lot of unpaid work, particularly in development. I tend to put my head down and get on with it, often by picking up the camera and shooting something I feel strongly about. Going solo gives you the flexibility to explore stories and options but does mean that you are a lone wolf at times. What alleviates that isolation is that my freelance shooting allows me to work with other directors and producers, and I also have a great network of ‘film friends’ that I can talk to when I get in to new territory and want to seek advice. This industry is generally very supportive of anyone seeking advice.
Art of Recovery, Liv Worsnop Guerilla Gardener planting succulents amongst the rubble in Central Christchurch
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I’m sure awards add some value to your overall standing in the industry, but the phone doesn’t ring because you win an award, it rings because you did a great job and were pleasant to work with. What I value most about industry awards is that they are given by your peers. I have huge respect for the talent in this country. When I see great work it reminds me that I’m part of an
Photo: John Weller
Congratulations on your win at the recent NZCS awards for Mary Durham’s The Women of Pike River. We used to have annual awards and they were always a great get together, to have a few drinks and celebrate each other’s work. It’s so important to the well-being of our industry to acknowledge and pay tribute to work we do - so good on the NZCS for initiating their awards, and to Ant Timpson and Hugh Sundae for the Film Awards – which have just been announced as I write.
Peter Young filming at Cape Bird Antarctica
Art of Recovery, Wongi Wilson beautifies a barren wall with a painting for Emma his wife
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exceptionally hard-working and creative industry, it makes me aspire to that level and keeps me keen. I feel grateful to have found a career that after 25 years I still love to be involved with (most of the time). What have you been working on this year? I’ve very been doing a lot of shooting for other people (which I love), settling into life up north, getting our baby (The Art of Recovery) out into the world, and I’m sure it won’t be long until the urge to make another feature to surfaces. I’ve learned to be very selective, because I know the huge effort a feature requires. It will take years to make and put me through the ringer many times. It is a really challenging yet rewarding thing to do and if executed properly will be a stepping stone in my career, and hopefully not a sinker!
Photo: John Weller
I will have to really want to tell that story, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I will pick up the camera.
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FRITHA STALKER CATCHES UP WITH TWO-TIME SWANZ WINNER
After a lot of years in a lot of countries, Casey Whelan has now had a decade to adjust back into New Zealand life. She reckons she’s starting to get the hang of it. In September, Casey Whelan took two awards at the Writers Guild’s SWANZ ceremony, the New Writer gong and a share of the Best Feature Film award along with Steve Barr and Hone Kouka. She and Barr are writing partners, sometimes under the production moniker S.C. Wheelbarrow & Sons. The pair suggests a variation on a classic odd-couple, Whelan the crop-haired sassy dame to Barr’s straight man. The two elements combine
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to give you the distinct sense there’s more just under the surface. In a bid to curb Whelan’s love of “telling fibs” as a young girl (“I would make up all sorts of things, and often for no reason… I just liked telling tall tales”) Casey’s mother took her to the local priest for an admonitory dose of The Fear of God. Did it dissuade her? Ss she’s still telling tales for a living 20 years later, no. That particular approach didn’t exactly do the trick. More early life snatches tantalise with glimpses of an exotic transient lifestyle. “Dad worked for an oil company, so I spent most of my childhood
travelling with my family.” She feels the time “immersed in foreign cultures” gave her “a unique perspective on the world and [her] place in it”. Her career seems to have evolved seamlessly from a colourful childhood in which writing was always an inherent element. As a 13 year old Casey and her sister were confined to home by post-9/11 security concerns in their then residence in Karachi, Pakistan. Having run out of books and movies to entertain her, young Casey adapted a book into a movie script — her very first. This led to being self-confessedly obsessed with screenwriting. “I mean obsessed; I used to get in trouble with my parents for staying up late and sneaking onto my computer in the middle of the night to work on scripts.” The Karachi story and
the late night writing, you suspect, are just two of a suite of tales from exotic places, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if one day more of them made it on to the page. Back in New Zealand Whelan went to study Film and English at Auckland University before going on to work in the infamous training ground of the Shortland Street script department. “I’m grateful for the years that I spent there,” she says, “and continue to be proud of the incredible cast and crew who work around the clock to deliver world class TV day in day out.” For now, she’s busy honing further those skills picked up on Shortland Street. She credits the experience with building on her studies, teaching her “the real world craft of executing a successful script, the multiple functions performed by a
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screenplay, and how to be creative within strict stylistic and practical confines”. Whelan has a few shorts under her belt, having written Blankets and Dancers, both directed by Lousie Leitch. Whelan has also written and directed her own short, teen romance with a horror twist Pretty in Plaid. The current projects she’s excited about (and can discuss openly) span a range of genres and themes and include: A comedy TV series and two feature films – one a millennial comedy and the other an adaptation of a play. It’s no surprise that Steve Barr’s name pops up repeatedly as her collaborator in these projects. The 2015 feature film Born to Dance is probably Whelan’s highest profile project to date, and it was Barr who brought her on board. Whelan suspects Barr brought her on initially because of the speed at which she can work – an ability she developed on Shortland Street. Once the project was greenlit Whelan was kept on and says the film’s success relied on the audience having a great time. This translated into a “really
fun challenge” for writers who had “no choice but to have blast on the page”. The NZ hip-hop dance movie has continued to find success and acclaim locally and overseas, famously attracting Janet Jackson to a US screening. Whelan and ex-pat American writer Barr were friends first — as advocates of the New Zealand Writers Guild they ended up at the same events — and collaborators later. She cites “similar taste and complementary skills” (her “character/dialogue gal” to Barr’s “structure/audience experience guy”) making their collaboration “seem like common sense”. The TV series that she and Barr are “shopping internationally” is a 30-minute format. Wonderland is a workplace comedy about a young female stand-up comedienne who takes on a lucrative side gig as a prostitute. Describing the tone as “fun, flirty, feisty” she insists she’s “impatient to get back into the script work!” Also in the pipeline with Hayden Weal and Simeon Duncombe (the dynamic duo behind Chronosthesia), is Hang Time, a “structured improv feature film” scheduled for shooting in in late January 2017. Whelan says candid talk of the “emotional isolation and lack of
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direction” experienced by millenials is delivered via “‘booze and bros’ comedy”. She likens it to an update of surprise hit, human-comedy Sideways. Whelan will make her feature-directing debut on Hang Time, about which she feels “equal parts thrilled and terrified”. For something totally different, and perhaps equally emotional, Whelan is working with Virginia Wright and Richard Fletcher on an adaptation of Fiona Farrell’s Passengers, a play written in 1986 for an all female cast. Describing herself as “a proud New Zealander and feminist” Casey tells Crewed she is no less than “ecstatic to be involved with a project that sheds a light on the forgotten young women who emigrated to New Zealand on assisted passage during the colonial era.” So with all this experience and diversity in her career, I asked Whelan her thoughts on the
local industry. “Digital distribution is changing everything from formats to funding structures. As a small but talented nation, we have the ability to be nimble and roll with the punches, but to do so successfully will require increased support for content creators and shorter development periods.” She adds she is very interested to see how the changes to NZ On Air’s funding startegy will affect the local industry. She’s very hopeful that these changes will allow the next generation of talented voices to make their mark on NZ’s media landscape. For herself, Whelan reports that like all creatives she’s had moments of self-doubt over the years. But screenwriting gives her a purpose and a source of happiness. “It’s impossible for me to imagine doing anything else,” she says. “I’d be lost without it.
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A Year of It
Photo: Christian Espinoza
FILMMAKER YAMIN TUN CAPS OFF A BUSY 2016
Recently named New Filmmaker of the Year, one of three award winners at SPADA, Yamin Tun is wrapping a year that’s seen plenty of acknowledgement from several organisations. Tun certainly isn’t an overnight success, but a lot of things have come together for her during 2016. Her year got off to a good start in February at Tropfest when The Dream of the Driver took the runner-up slot. At the time, it seemed that the 2016 edition of Tropfest might be the last in NZ, which – while not ideal for the organisers – was 18 | CREWED
DoP Ryan Alexander Lloyd & Yamin Tun
at least generating some extra attention on the event and its participants. In early April Script to Screen named Tun one of eight filmmakers selected for its FilmUp programme, along with others including fellow writer-directors Joe Lonie Show Me Shorts winner Honk If You’re Horny), Max Currie (Everything We Loved) and Tim Van Dammen (Romeo & Juliet: A Love Song). Tun credits Script to Screen’s Esther CahillChiaroni as one of the key people who’ve helped
Tun develop. She says the support she’s received from Script to Screen has been invaluable. “It’s great to have someone believe in you,” she says, “especially when you’re early in your career and don’t yet have the experience or skill to know if what you’ve got is any good.” Coincidentally, it was Cahill-Chiaroni who introduced this writer to Tun early this year at a Script to Screen Writers Room event, saying then that Tun was someone to watch, who had huge potential. That happened before Tun’s short Wait was announced as one of three NZ shorts for this year’s Sydney Film Festival. James Cunningham’s Accidents Blunders and Calamities, which took the directing gong at Show Me Shorts 2015, was one of the others. In June Tun was in Sydney to attend the Festival, something of a new experience for her and one that was unforgettable, exciting and a little sobering. The festival is a feast of great films and filmmakers, with festival staff working around the clock to create a fantastic experience for all. While there are parties and validation and plenty to like about being the guest of an international film festival, the opportunities to meet other filmmakers for one, there’s also the reality of meeting other filmmakers. Tun found meeting established filmmakers – including the team there with Mahana – a wonderfully positive experience. Chatting
with other emerging filmmakers, even those from countries with strong cultural support of arthouse film, Tun found that they were almost all in similar circumstances – struggling to find money, unsure of the best way to advance some projects and, to some extent, fighting uphill battles on every project, despite the validation some had already received in their careers. As one of the participants in FilmUp, Tun wasn’t lacking support, but was still keen on having more positive contact with other filmmakers. “Along with knowing that any Script to Screen programme is bound to be excellent, I applied for FilmUp because I wanted to be part of an environment of mutual support, and as a writerdirector, you can feel very alone at the early stages of developing your projects. You can end up spending the whole day in your pyjamas, writing from bed, shocking your neighbours and even your cat with how feral you’ve become. “It’s important to find fellowship in the journey to what eventually becomes one of the most collaborative experiences of life,” she says. Fellowship, one assumes, of shared understanding and experiences with other emerging filmmakers. She smiles and admits, “First world problems.” The first world hasn’t always been Tun’s home.
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Tun’s very intelligent, far too intelligent to decide to embark on a career which offers less stability than most if stability were what she craved. So far she’s resisted the obvious opportunities to mitigate such instability, and isn’t signed to an agency for commercial work. She’s retained a strong commitment to finding ways to tell the stories that interest her in the way that interests her. Broadly speaking those are politically-driven arthouse stories.
Wait producers Daniel Higgins and Vicky Pope
Born in Myanmar, brought up in the UK and Hong Kong before arriving here courtesy of a relationship, it might be tempting to throw around a bit of amateur psychology and suggest she’s searching for some stability.
She has a couple of features in development with producers, and a self-funded short Boy’s Day Out on the way. Her win at SPADA comes with $20,000 of support from sponsor Park Road Post, which Tun will use to complete Boy’s Day Out. As a filmmaker with a particular perspective who’s well beyond familiar with the works of left-wing filmmakers like Ken Loach and arthouse masters like Akira Kurosawa, Tun would traditionally have looked to financing from
Dream of the Driver
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national funding bodies, cultural institutions and sales and distribution companies focused on supporting arthouse films. With the industry and the New Zealand Film Commission’s shift towards more commercial fare, there appears to be less opportunity to find support here for such films. Arthouse is no longer considered commercially viable, its market shrinking internationally and its proponents fading away or going out more dramatically, as happened to Amsterdam and Hong Kong-based Fortissimo earlier this year.
Photo: DoP Tashi Hope
However, projects with significant international reach and potential for co-production do still have their appeal. The Film Commission is backing Tun, supporting Wait through its Fresh Shorts scheme, and two feature projects in early development: Hong Kong Story through producer Vicky Pope’s slate (via Boost Funding), and Burma Story. The Commission introduced Tun and producer Alex Behse (Ever the
Land, Poi E) to one another, which has led to collaboration. “It’s important to have producers who are fearless,” Tun says. “Producers who don’t shy away from the material.” Behse will produce Tun’s in development Burma Story. Tun’s knowledge and appreciation of Asian film is, perhaps predictably given her background, better than most. When Hong Kong-based cinematographer Christopher Doyle presented at the Big Screen Symposium earlier this year, Tun asked him about Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bin, and editor, production and costume designer William Chang Suk Ping. There were few people in the room who knew who Lee and Chang were. Following its return from Sydney, Wait was named a finalist for the NZIFF’s NZ’s Best competition in July. Around the same time Tun was named one of the incubees for DEGNZ’s
Boy's Day Out
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inaugural Women Filmmakers Incubator. By the end of the month Tun had also been paired with Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer, who’d mentor her through her FilmUp programme. Other than, perhaps, Loach, it’s hard to imagine a senior filmmaker who’d be a better fit to mentor her. de Heer has had an association with Script to Screen for several years.
Photo: Christian Espinoza
In July Tun’s Wait won NZ’s Best at the NZIFF, taking the $5000 Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film and $3000 Wallace Friends of the Civic Award.
Joyena Sun (back to camera) and Katlyn Wong
Tun reckons she’s “frugal” so that cash stretches a fair way, allowing her more time to focus on the various projects she’s advancing, rather than looking for work that would take time away from those projects. Both the FilmUp and DEGNZ programmes require time and prep work ahead of contact sessions, so the NZ’s Best cash has been useful in enabling that. Tun describes the DEGNZ programme as
River of Rubies and Stone (works in progress)
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collegial rather than a mentorship, so there’s no potential for conflicts of interest between the programmes’ various demands. In September, Wait was ready to add more stamps to its passport, named for ImagineNATIVE, and making the trip to Canada in October. It’s not a perfect fit with the festival, which primarily focuses on indigenous content and creators, but Wait’s story touches on cultural identity, which is very much the territory of ImagineNATIVE. Coincidentally, identity was also the subject matter of the WIFT-sponsored SPADA Conference session which immediately preceded the ceremony at which Tun collected her Young Filmmaker award. Just as it was hard to imagine anyone other than Hunt for the Wilderpeople producer Carthew Neal being named SPADA’s Independent Producer of the Year, it was hard to think of other emerging filmmakers who might have given Tun a serious run for her money to the New Filmmaker gong.
Early in October, Wait took the NZFC-sponsored Special Jury Prize at Show Me Shorts, where the film’s Katlyn Wong also won the Acting honours. Later that month, Tun was selected for a second Script to Screen programme, Story Camp Aotearoa, which runs the week this piece publishes. The selection is based on a blind read by four experienced screenwriters. Tun is taking Burma Story to the Lab. When we met, the Film Awards had just announced its re-emergence and opened for entries. Tun’s submitted Wait, and reckons it’ll be a bun-fight. There have been a lot of strong NZ shorts in the last two years, she believes. After a year of it in 2016, 2017 is also shaping up to be busy. As well as completing the FilmUp and DEGNZ programmes, Tun’s looking at a return to Asia for part of the year to advance Burma Story and Hong Kong Story. And a return to Wellington to complete Boy’s Day Out.
River of Rubies and Stone (works in progress)
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ALL CLEANED UP
When setting up the interviews for this article, this writer contacted Dirty Laundry producer Britta Hawkins, saying, “In terms of anything spoilery, publication date is just after SPADA, so ep10 will have aired by then”. The statement holds true but is no longer, as they say in court, the whole truth. TVNZ has also screened the remainder of the series and it’s clear that the show won’t be returning. “We’re in an environment where we’re under tremendous pressure,” Hawkins said, “under the microscope at every stage.” She was talking about the quality of the work, not the network’s decision to conclude the run quickly, which hadn’t happened at that point. With audiences fragmenting and channels and platforms multiplying, the amount of NZ content is an everdecreasing percentage of what’s available to viewers. 24 | CREWED
Local shows compete for eyeballs with international shows and their international budgets. Hawkins cites Top of the Lake, at US$1.5 - 2.5 million per hour depending on what source seems most credible. At the recent SPADA Conference, Scandinavian academic Eva Novrup Redvall talked about the welltravelled Scandi-noir shows, which she said were budgeted at about US$1.1 million per episode. Dirty Laundry’s $6,754,650 is less than $520,000 an hour – less than US$370,000 an hour – or a third of what was spent on shows such as The Killing and Borgen. Tripling the budget for a show isn’t a guarantee of anything except that you’ll spend three times as much money, and there’s no real argument about the quality of the output from NZ. Sure, there are less helicopter, crane or drone shots than you’ll find in the average US show, the casts and explosions are usually smaller, the seasons shorter, but the content, the stories, the storytelling, the craft, is there.
NZ TV drama has been on a bit of a run of dramedies since Outrageous Fortune. It remains the most successful drama of the last decade, and everything else gets measured against it. While there have been exceptions to that tone (notably Desert Road’s Harry), it’s proved hard to break that mould. Hawkins is very familiar with dramedy. She directed plenty of episodes of Go Girls, Outrageous Fortune and Step Dave and produced on Go Girls and Nothing Trivial. For Dirty Laundry, Filthy Productions tried to make something a little different from those shows, and that should be something we celebrate. Unless we want all our drama to come out of the same mould. Dirty Laundry began shooting in January, for 17 weeks. When we spoke with Hawkins in October, the final episodes had just gone to TVNZ. Hawkins had been on the show from sometime in 2016, in discussions with the Filthy team about the show. Some of those discussions were about distinguishing it from Filthy Rich. Although Filthy Productions had been supported for two dramas this year, there wasn’t a plan to try to establish a house style. In any case, Filthy and Dirty had quite different demands.
Helping to establish those differences included separating the teams. There weren’t many people (beyond the creators) who worked on both productions, and the shows used different post facilities. In terms of how Dirty Laundry looks, and how it’s different from Filthy Rich, Hawkins gives a lot of credit to DoP DJ Stipsen. Shooting with two cameras, going for a lot of coverage, is familiar. “I’ve been doing that on other shows for several years,” Hawkins says. Stipsen challenged that approach, asking, “What if we shot it single camera?” An obvious implication of a single camera approach is that it impacts the number of minutes that get shot in a day. Would it possible to keep to the schedule and budget already in place? The team decided it would change the way people approached their jobs but could work. “For the cast it meant they couldn’t save their performance for take three of the close-up – because they weren’t going to get it.” The single point of focus helps people focus on set, Hawkins reckons. The shot is lit specifically for that,
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and not the top-down approach taken on many fast turnaround shows these days. A single POV also slows the pace of the storytelling as well as the shooting day. “You can’t pace it up in post, but it’s not a rock’n’roll fast-paced fast cut show,” Hawkins said. “I liked the single camera,” colourist Alana Cotton said. “I liked that it slowed things down and allowed us to build emotions in a scene. There’s a more purposeful choice of shots. Also, it meant the camera could more around a lot more without the risk of ever seeing another camera.” “We also shot with ARRI master anamorphic lenses,” Hawkins explained, “which is something I’ve not done before on fast turnaround TV.” Dean Thomas at Imagezone supplied the gear, and Stipsen was the only DP for the series, although the production used a second unit for scheduling purposes, with Kevin Riley and Don Cavill doing those honours.
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“We ended up with a lot of sets,” Hawkins said. “Designer Tracey Collins insisted we put ceilings on them. You can only light from the the floor or windows.” “Having ceilings on the sets helped it feel more real,” Cotton said, “even if you’re just catch glimpses of a beam or a light fitting.” Collins also pushed a restrained colour-palette, much of which (give or take the orange jumpsuits) was more muted than a lot of shows, including Filthy Rich, currently use. “We did a lot of testing to establish different colours for the different spaces,” Cotton said. “Mostly we were able to keep things natural but push them a bit. Some of the sets like the office – which wasn’t actually a set – we made a bit uncomfortable, using a faint bleed of green.” Hawkins noted that Images & Sound did great work on the post, some of which didn’t go in the order
planned. “Grant and Steve are great at collaborating creatively. At TVNZ Kathleen Anderson was very supportive.” “Some of it moved very quickly,” Steve Finnigan said, “with the network approving material without many notes.” Other parts were slower. The titles Brenton Cumberpatch was working on went back and forth the most. “There was an agreed length for the title sequence, so we were able to work around that,” Finnigan explained. “The decision on a composer for the score also took a while, but again we were able to work around that. “We cracked on with mixing episodes without the score. When Joel Haines was on board and the score completed, it was only a few hours work to complete an episode. It’s not something you could do on every show. It wouldn’t work on Westside, for example, because the score is much more a character, and uses well-known tracks.”
I&S is busy at the moment, with the third season of Westside beginning post soon and Wanted, currently shooting down south, due in the new year. They’re also in the midst of a strong run of documentary features. Roger Donaldson’s McLaren is currently working its way through I&S, with editor Tim Woodhouse and producer Fraser Brown wrangling a substantial amount of archival footage. I&S has also been working on another Matthew Metcalfe production, Toa Fraser’s The Free Man (fka Welcome to the Thrill), alongside Annie Goldson’s Kim Dotcom doco, Caught in the Web, which Alex Behse is producing. As for Dirty Laundry, it’s done. If it didn’t get the eyeballs it needed, that wasn’t because it was poorly made. There are always things you can better, or differently, Hawkins notes. Sometimes you change the thing, sometimes you change the way you do the thing. “It could have been darker, or more comedic, but fundamentally we’re happy with the balance.”
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Geo AR Games
MELANIE LANGLOTZ TALKS VIRTUAL SHARKS AND OTHER CREATURES
Melanie Langlotz and business partner Amie Wolken created Geo AR Games after they were made redundant at start-up Augview Limited. It wasn’t necessarily the most auspicious start to a career in a nascent tech industry, but it’s working out for them. “Working in a start-up going through that kind of development period was invaluable,” Wolken said. “It gave Mel and I an excellent grounding in the issues facing a start up in growth mode.” Langlotz has long had an interest in technology, in virtual and augmented reality. While working 28 | CREWED
at Auckland post houses Digipost and Images & Sound for over a decade, she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Enterprise via Southern Institute of Technology, and then went on to further business-focused qualifications. While her time at Augview didn’t end as she’d planned, it did bring Langlotz and Wolken together. There’s certainly plenty of buy-in to the idea of what Langlotz and Wolken are trying to achieve - to get children off the couch and active outside. There’s a general acceptance that the kids of today spend too
much time glued to screens of varying shapes and sizes and not enough time in the real world. Geo AR Games isn’t trying to strip kids of their devices and make them exercise, it’s offering a carrot instead - a fun experience employing tech that’s at the cutting edge of what kids experience. It’s enough fun to make the little bastards want to run around for half an hour at a time which, as any teacher and many parents will tell you, is something not many kids do willingly these days. Buy-in is not the same as buy, so Geo AR Games has spent time doing what start-ups do, not making money except for occasional grants while developing, testing, and creating a working app. Langlotz took the project to a women-only incubator S-Factory in Santiago in Chile. “It was around our time at S-Factory that I really started work on the product,” Wolken said. “I was able to really get stuck in and build some prototypes to test out. There were fundamental components which the product relies on which had to be done first - the sensor fusion and GPS positioning which form the backbone of our product.” S-Factory gave them $20,000 to validate the business idea which is now Geo AR Games. The cash gave Langlotz and Wolken the time to write their own new geospatial augmented reality prototype. When Wolken started at Augview, she’d only just graduated. “I’d never worked through a structured development cycle in a professional environment,” she said. “I was used to completing tasks assigned and in isolation. Geo AR Games’ Sharks in the Park was the first app that she made all by herself and she described the early stages as “a bit like the wild west”. “Ironically,” she noted, “my lack of experience in game development helped me out. I just got stuck in creating what I thought was the most basic functional prototype I could manage.”
Earlier this year they joined another women-only incubator here, Wellington’s Lightning Lab XX, to validate their business idea and to begin to get some market traction. They also ran a small Kickstarter campaign this year, raising over $10,000. Often with new and developing tech like AR, there’s enough jargon and bullshit to sink a ship. So what, in plainish English, is it? Geo AR Games have two products now in use, Sharks in the Park and Magical Park. Both are for children (and anyone else interested) to play with phone or tablet in hand, outdoors. The app catches the environment where it’s being played and augments it with creatures to interact with. So far, so Pokemon Go? No, says Langlotz. Pokemon Go is old tech. Geo AR’s games use the device’s camera to show the actual environment where someone’s playing, and then super-imposes its creatures on top of that environment, onscreen in real time. Players can explore the virtual world by walking around in it. That’s a key difference no one else has cracked yet. So it’s like VR – Oculus Rift or the Playstation VR? Not that either. “We don’t use headsets,” Langlotz said. “That’s not really a cost issue, more a safety one. If people are moving around in a virtual environment they need their peripheral vision, which is restricted in headsets, to be able to avoid real world hazards - including other players.” Sharks in the Park is what it says on the box, and can be played in any outdoor environment that meets the spec. Roads are obviously not ideal but the app does throw up warnings when a player reaches the edge of the play area. Magical Park is site-specific, programmed for and only available in certain locations. “We pre-assess sites for safety,” Langlotz said. “They need to be flat and of a certain size, and we stay away from ones with potential dangers like a pond.
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“We have a spec sheet with examples of good and bad locations, so land owners - usually a council - can make recommendations themselves. We’re a different demographic to playgrounds, which are primarily targeting 3 - 7 year olds. We aim more at the 6 - 11 year old age group, the kids who are more likely to have a device.” The Sharks in the Park and Magical Park apps are available on iOS and Android. Geo AR Games recently ran pilots in parks in Auckland and Wellington. All that tech produces a lot of data, even from a limited trial. How’s it getting used? There’s information the team is getting that reinforces some assumptions that they’d made when creating it. There’s also data which is helping to improve aspects of the experience. There are anecdotal reports and responses too, which can’t be used in any formal way but are nonetheless rewarding – such as the parent who reported their autistic child had engaged with the game in ways they hadn’t seen previously.
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So what does the usable data say? Kids are using the app for an average of around 30 minutes, and they’re travelling distances between half a kilometre and over two kilometres while they’re playing. Those numbers alone should be driving interest in the app. The data measures the use of a device, not the number of people using a device. It’s fair to assume that – as the app targets kids 6-11 – there’s an adult in tow more often than not. How many of those adults are also bringing partners and other children along is not tracked but it’s possible to make some educated guesses. The trials were run in a small number of venues for a reasonably short period of time, but the data is useful in making improvements. Some of it’s not rocket science, says Langlotz,.“Installing Magical Park in parks which have car parking draws larger numbers of players, and more frequent players.” The placement of the onsite signage (the only physical element in the set-up, as far as users are concerned)
is also important. Langlotz re-specs Geo AR Games’ documents as they determine findings from the data. One thing the trial did do was create some new opportunities. Some teachers found out about the trial, gave it a go. Then they contacted Geo AR Games to enquire about getting site-specific Magical Park installations in their schools. There’ve also been enquiries about using it for Maori language education. A couple of good bake sales would cover a school’s annual fee for an installation. Geo AR Games is already in discussions with local councils. Schools might present a better bet, given councils’ decision-making processes can make glaciers look like greased lightning. Auckland has around 1000 parks and reserves, 10% of which that would suit Geo AR Games’ games. They’re controlled by 21 local boards, so Langlotz isn’t holding her breath over when there’ll be decisions about which will host Magical Park installations. Councils do have incentives to get Magical Park into their venues. They’re committed to better use
of “inactive” green space. While Geo AR Games isn’t offering its service for free, the annual fee per installation costs less than the annual maintenance costs for a playground, let alone the capital cost of build and intallation. Apart from signage, there’s no capital cost for Magical Park. Other than, hopefully, into more parks, what’s happening – or not happening – with the games in the near future? “We’re currently running a Hallowe’en-themed Magical Park in select parks in Wellington until 7 November,” Langlotz said. Come December that will be superceded by a Christmas one, which shows a lot more restraint than many retailers, who’ve got Christmas goods on the shelves even before Halloween has arrived. Over the next 12 months, other calendar events will drive more themes. While the game contains enough random elements to give players a different experience every time, it’s important to refresh the content to encourage repeat use of the app. Going forward the development of the games is
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down to a number of factors, some of them within Geo AR Games’ control, some not. One that isn’t is data transfer speeds over mobile networks. It would be good to make the games multi-level, but that adds considerably to the size of the apps and the amount of data they store. Ditto for multi-player options, which are also a datamunching step too far for the moment – although that’s not the only reason not to go to multi-player. Multi-player options also create ethical considerations, of which Langlotz is very conscious. Geo AR Games will give parents a password to control who their kids’ devices can connect to, so they can play with friends or siblings instead of strangers. There are other ethical concerns, and Langlotz is across those too. In-app advertising is a fairly common route to monetisation these days, and Geo AR Games has put restrictions around what it will accept.
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“Generally, we operate pretty similar guidelines to those around TV broadcasting for children,” Langlotz says. “We don’t allow advertising for products that don’t involve or aren’t associated with physical activity.” They also don’t allow data-mining, so parents need have no concern that anything their kids put into the app isn’t going to anyone other than the developers. During her time at the incubator in Santiago, Langlotz was mixing with other start-ups that were using similar AR tech but for application in different industries, air traffic control for one. It was a good opportunity for collaboration, because companies were all able to share some of their research as they weren’t in competition. There’s other research going on around use of VR and AR in medical fields, some of which Tribeca’s Opeyemi Olukemi touched on in her Big Screen Symposium presentation. There’s also no doubt that plenty of people view AR as having multi-billion dollar potential.
Shortly after Langlotz spoke with Crewed, a NZ branch of the international VR/AR Society was formed. At its first event in Wellington, founders cited figures predicting a $200+ billion industry worldwide, and a $2 billion local share of that pie, within five years. There’s certainly investment to be had and potential to make good returns. Langlotz has recently been to China, to Chengdu and Chongqing, looking for investment. She came back convinced there was investment to be had, not immediately convinced Geo AR Games was in the right place at the moment to satisfy the requirements Chinese investors seemed keen on – a physical presence for the company in China, for one. The size of the Chinese market is obviously an appealing one, and Langlotz said translating the app was not a challenge. “We’re not very text-heavy and have a minimal user interface.” The cultural elements, such as the Halloween and Christmas material being developed for Magical Park here, wouldn’t be appropriate for all territories – but territory-specific content could be built into deals, as Pukeko and NHNZ’s ZooMoo have both discovered while taking their respective titles The WotWots and Animal Friends to China. For a geo-spatial app, China has particular requirements, such as no Google. There are alternatives, such as Baidu. More immediately, Geo AR Games is dealing with enquiries from local councils in America and Germany. Longer term the company’s aim, in markets such as the US, is to partner with established kids entertainment brands such as Nickelodeon and create branded character-based options such as a Spongebob in the Park. Playing close to the edge of new tech comes with challenges. Money is always harder to came by for unproven ideas, however passionate about them their creators are. There’s also a need to stay ahead of the curve – or carve out a niche that others can’t easily slip into as well.
“We’ve been working with geo-spatial AR for the last four years,” Langlotz says. “We’ve developed a lot of expertise and we’re ahead of the curve. The game is pretty stable, so you’re able to run around and play and it works.” The stability and playability of Sharks in the Park and Magical Park is what’s creating a great user experience and driving kids’ 30-minute sessions running around outdoors. That’s well beyond the short-duration AR or VR experiences common elsewhere. “What we’ve got now showcases the tech we’ve got that will take us forward for the next few years,” Langlotz says. “Sometimes you need to take a step back and work on your connections and networks to get some objective opinions and find solutions. “Geo AR Games is now making money. We have finally had some revenue come through from Magical Park and a lot of interest from NZ councils. Now we need to put monetisation in place around Sharks in the Park.” CREWED | 33
15 strategies for box-office success
PART TWO OF ANDE SCHURR'S ARTICLE ON THE MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION SMARTS OF THREE WISE COUSINS
Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa’s Three Wise Cousins had its theatrical release in early 2016 and its NZ video release last week, on 24 November. Part one of this article (strategies 1 – 8) was published in the October 2016 edition of Crewed. 9. Facebook, Facebook, Facebook “The Facebook page was the epicentre of our marketing, the absolute core, the only place!” Vaiaoga-Ioasa said. 34 | CREWED
The page for Three Wise Cousins was the first Facebook page Vaiaoga-Ioasa created. He still doesn’t have a personal page. Vaiaoga-Ioasa believed that he’d already got his audience before the premiere. The views of the ‘first-look’ trailer, the Facebook likes suggested the truly hard work of winning their hearts and minds was done. At that point Vaiaoga-Ioasa just faced the grind of pushing his film to wherever
that audience lived - the four key locations he’d chosen.
Three Wise Cousins didn’t start to boost posts until well into the Australian release.
He could’ve had posters and billboards but initially he didn’t think the film would be in cinemas long enough to warrant it. Once the film took off and added more screens, it was often going into cinemas without a lot of notice. That didn’t allow the lead-times required to organise poster and billboard campaigns in specific areas, nor for them to be effective.
Why so late? “We saw the button and thought ‘We don’t want to waste our money’! Then we realised it was the greatest value ever. Once we worked out exactly what it was and we could refine down to the town and who likes what…
With a fan-base of ‘Likes’, it’s possible to boost posts on Facebook, which increases exposure of your post to select audiences matching demographics and interests that you can choose. There are many different options and VaiaogaIoasa admits it’s quite complex. While it’s important to build the base of likes from the very beginning, Vaiaoga-Ioasa makes the point that
They would boost a particular post in Penrith or Parramatta, keeping the information as simple as possible and with a call-to-action: “There is no guarantee the film will be on next week.” “We put in all the locations and links in one post. Every week we’d update it.” 10. Listen Vaiaoga-Ioasa respected the advice from the movie chains. When they said they wouldn’t screen Three Wise Cousins against Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in December 2015, Vaiaoga-Ioasa
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and his producing team listened. They postponed their planned release date until the last week of the school holidays in January. 11. Make it easy for the movie chains Most people buy cinema tickets on the day, or the day before, of a screening. Vaiaoga-Ioasa put tickets on sale via Facebook two weeks ahead of the first screenings, to give the exhibitors an idea of audience demand and decrease their risk. This helped the exhibitor gauge the interest in Three Wise Cousins, and gave them confidence to allocate more screenings to meet the demand or, at least, maintain the same number of sessions. “If you’re starting out, the pre-sale route is the way to go. For the exhibitors, confidence is low given how many independent films flop. Even if you say ‘we have an audience’ you have to prove it. It’s a big financial risk for an exhibitor to choose your film over a properly-marketed film with a budget.”
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The intense interest of people who bought tickets up to two weeks ahead showed the cinema that Three Wise Cousins was no wannabe. It grossed $190,000 at the box office in the opening week. 12. Challenge your audience Vaiaoga-Ioasa knew that piracy would have killed Three Wise Cousins. With tact and a good argument, he made the point on social media and other conversations with the community that piracy would only harm the people, the audience, themselves. It was a case of letting the people decide if they felt that they wanted to see more films like Three Wise Cousins. If they did, then choosing not to pirate the film was key. Based on the box office, the challenge was listened to. 13. Ask your fans where they live After the film’s success in NZ, it had grown a large fanbase. Their extended families in Australia, the US and the Pacific kept asking when they would get to see it.
So Vaiaoga-Ioasa reached out to the fanbase, asking where exactly in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth they wanted to see the film. “We tried to verify as much as possible that there were Pacific people in that area because we knew not all locations would do well,” he said. “If someone from overseas wanted to release a Pacific film here, and show it in Albany, a local would would say - yes, by all means, show it in Auckland, but show it in Manukau.” The local knowledge that they had in New Zealand was lacking in Australia or America so they turned to technology. “Based on some of the feedback from America, we knew driving wasn’t much of a big deal there; petrol is cheaper and the roads are straight. “We used Google Maps and measured travel times extensively. A cinema that is further away (from a strong Pasifika community) might do better than a nearby cinema if it has free parking.
“Some places we chose didn’t work and that was usually a result of not having enough grassroots knowledge about the area. And at times we couldn’t really avoid clashing with significant public events like festivals or sports games.” 14. You gotta spend money to make money The costs of getting a film screened all add up. The cost to simply screen the film in territories such as Australia and USA is quite significant. Vaiaoga-Ioasa acknowledges that if Three Wise Cousins had not performed as well as it did at the NZ box office, it would probably not have been able to screen in cinemas outside New Zealand. The NZ income also helped when it came to covering the cost of boosting Facebook posts, which due to the extended nature of the cinema release began to compound with the high frequency of the posts. 15. Engage with your audience personally Vaiaoga-Ioasa and distribution manager Tautiaga Tiatia shared the job of replying to questions and
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for space with the blockbuster films. It was always a case of waiting until there was a gap in the schedule. After some time, they worked out that they were much more likely to find space in multiplexes with 20+ screens than in those with fewer than 10. In Conclusion Vaiaoga-Ioasa’s plan was: Let’s just cover our costs, and make the most of the connections and inroads we are building this time around. This attitude of humility lead him through the difficult distribution process and out the other side with an staggering 2000% return on investment. That being said, without the demand of the Pacific community to see the film, Three Wise Cousins would not have made it far. Expanding into international territories with very little distribution experience was risky, but by that stage Vaiaoga-Ioasa’s goal was to make connections and use Three Wise Cousins to learn the lay of the land.
comments on the Facebook page. They replied to every single comment by name and answered all and any questions, no matter how often they came up individually such as - Where is the film playing? How do I get the tickets? Where is there parking? He asked his Facebook page audience in the US where he should show the movie. “We got a big list of locations and tried our best to reach most of them, but whether we’d be able to screen in certain locations was beyond our control. But we reached the main areas of Los Angeles, such as Long Beach, which have significant Polynesian populations.” Vaiaoga-Ioasa chose the most difficult time to try and screen in the USA, as they were competing 38 | CREWED
Next time, they won’t have to overcome the same hurdles by carving out a new distribution channel. Three Wise Cousins’ success is a great example for low-budget filmmakers. A limited budget title, with a strong sense of identity, can find its audience. If there is anything to be wary of it’s vagueness and hesitancy, Vaiaoga-Ioasa reckons. There must be clarity and initiative. As a final word on the magnitude of pulling off what he has, I asked Vaiaoga-Ioasa what is more difficult parenting or making a movie? Rocking his kid gently in his lap he answers, “Distribution is harder!” Madman will release Three Wise Cousins on video in NZ on 24 November.
City of Changeover
PART TWO OF GLEN WALKER VISITS THE CHANGEOVER, RECENTLY WRAPPED IN CHRISTCHURCH
The Changeover had been filming in Christchurch for five weeks and was soon to wrap when Crewed caught up with the production. Glen Walker spoke with producer Emma Slade and codirector Miranda Harcourt. Part one of this article published the October 2016 issue of Crewed. Tell us a bit about your decisions in casting Emma Slade: We looked at having an international star (for the role of Laura) but there’s
only a handful. They’re booked years in advance and top agents actually said, ‘Do you want to look at attracting them or try and discover someone?’ Fortunately, Stu and Miranda had their eyes on Erana for a long time. She’s beautiful and did a great job with the tone reel but in the year and a half since we shot that down here she’s taken it to a whole new level. And for someone at this stage to be holding her own against Melanie Lynskey and Timothy Spall... she’s coped remarkably well and her performances have been outstanding. CREWED | 39
Miranda Harcourt: We have an actor from the UK, Nicholas Galitzine. He’s very sexy but also a deep thinker. The relationship between him and Erana is really fantastic and they’ve answered it beyond our wildest dreams – what they bring to it is really magical and I feel confident that the romance element of the film is really well explored. We’re really lucky to have Timothy Spall because he appeals to audiences both old and young – like Maggie Smith because of their Harry Potter association. Kids know him as Wormtail but adults know him for Secrets and Lies and Mr Turner and art house films so he spans different demographics. Emma: I’m a huge fan of Timothy Spall and his acting. Having him here in NZ working with this team and an up-and-coming actress is just elevating, such a huge buzz. Miranda and Stu already had a relationship with Melanie. Miranda had been part of the
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process of finding Melanie for Heavenly Creatures and Melanie was keen to work with Miranda in some capacity. Plus, they’re friends with Lucy Lawless so they had connections there. With Miranda’s work as an acting coach lots of pieces fell into place. What have been the pros and cons of shooting it all on location? Miranda: It’s been a very organic shoot because the actors and crew can respond completely to real environments. Our perspective all along has been that it should be a very naturalistic film. Axel Paton is our 1st AD. He’s very experienced, kept it on schedule and all in a very goodhumoured way. The way Axel and Emma have pulled together the crew has been really great. Lots of newer crew and assistants who have been lead by the experienced HODs who really know their shit. They’ve all been on sets a lot.
Everyone knows that we’re lucky because everyone’s been on sets where it hasn’t been so pleasant, working relationships have not been so easy so I think people have really valued it and gone ‘Wow, this is a really lovely shoot’ with a product that I think everyone believes in. Creating the look of the film while shooting on location hasn’t been too challenging? Miranda: Production Designer Iain Aitkin has been a godsend from heaven – he’s so experienced and has amazing taste but he also knows how to get difficult things done in a very short period of time. He is one example of how lucky we’ve been with getting very experienced crew to come do this and answer the challenges. Every day we watch the rushes and say, ‘Wow, awesome.’ We feel like we’re really achieving what we set out to do. Quite a lot of the effects we’ve been able to do in-camera which is quite nice for this style of film and our cinematographer Andrew Stroud is amazing. We’ve been in love with him for a very long time, probably five years since he made a beautiful short film called Ellen Is Leaving. We’re very lucky to have him on board - it’s his first feature, he comes from the world of commercials, but he has a wonderful aesthetic. Emma: Cinematographer Andrew Stroud is a genius, and in years to come is going to be recognised as a huge talent. We’re very lucky to have him at this stage. We’ve been very lucky all round, really.
Miranda: Oh of course – you can’t walk through Christchurch without encountering the class difference. We’re filming here currently at the gorgeous Ballantyne house which was built in 1958 – it’s just been sold and we’re here in between (the owners). This beautiful leafy environment is one element of our film and the Red Zone is the other environment. The Red Zone the way it is now is actually pretty beautiful too – the wildlife, flowers and trees and wild fowl – nature is taking over. The movie is set present day, five years after the earthquake, as it is now. We’re experiencing the reality of the Red Zone where it really has become a wilderness as opposed to being broken Christchurch. The film is about a broken family and a broken girl who through the story negotiates her way back to being more robust, just like the city. Long nights? Miranda: Starting at 6pm and finishing at 6am has been back-breaking but it’s the end of our five weeks of shooting and there was five weeks of prep before that. It’s been pretty truncated, that’s really not long, even for a New Zealand film. There’s no studio at all, it’s all location work – which I love. Even our planned green screen shot of Laura suspended in the air above the house was achieved on location in the hospital car park by the amazing Tony Keddy who somehow just produced a studio mount out the back of his truck.
It’s been a fun shoot to work on. We’ve been able to get great people in the key roles and lots of newer people getting experience coming through the system working for them. We’ve got people who have come off huge films; Ghost in the Shell and The Hobbit and the like but they also love the small jobs, they have lots of soul.
Who’s the audience for the film?
Much has been made of your filming in the Red Zone – an integral feature of the film?
The Changeover is planned for release in late 2017.
Miranda: The obvious core audience is people who relate to Young Adult material, teens and women to around 35; sort of ideal for girls and their mothers - but there’s something for everyone, boys should come too!
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SPADA 2016: THE FUTURE OF STORYTELLING
Mark Jennings delivers the John O'Shea Memorial Address
Host James Nokise
SPADA's Sandy Gildea opens the Conference Big Pitch-er David Gould
NZ On Air's Jane Wrightson
Candle Wasters Elsie Bollinger (left) and Claris Jacobs
Angus Finney kicks off the NZ Voice session
42 | CREWED
SPADA / Data Book / SCREENZ Industry Champion Gaylene Preston enjoying her win
All images: Hagen Hopkins, Getty Images
Big Pitch winner Aroha Awarau receives his award
The opening number, from Free & Frank
Getty Images' Arran Birchenough
Bailey Mackie accepts the Independent Producer of the Year award on behalf of Carthew Neal
WIFT's Patricia Watson wraps the NZ Voice session
Ruth Harley (left) and Eva Novrup Redvall
New Filmmaker of the Year Yamin Tun
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NZ WEB FEST: #NZWF16
Ngai Tahu's Simon Leslie with the awards for Best Pilot (Nga Ringa Toi o Tahu) and Best Web Show (Mahinga Kai)
Best Web Series winners, Peter Haynes and Hweiling Ow, AFK
Innovation Award winners Claris Jacobs and Robbie Nichol, The Candle Wasters
Photo: Tony Forster
Kylie Connell accepts for International Web Series winner The Agent
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Skip Ahead: Brenda Leeuwenberg, Hweiling Ow and Rowan Bettjeman
Photo: Tony Forster
Team Cococnet.TV, winners of the Special Interest award for The F Word
Getting Social: Kasper Tait, Kate Manihera, Caito Potatoe and Asad Naseem
Team #NZWF16: Michelle, Rena, Andrew, Jocelyn, Amar, Isabella, awards host Brittany, Keith
Digital Native: Meg Douglas, Lanita Ririnui-Ryan, Vicki Makutu, Asad Naseem
The annoying ramble from the organiser when all anybody wants is to know if they've won
Getting Social: Kasper Tait, Kate Manihera, Caito Potatoe and Asad Naseem
And the winner is...
Photo: Tony Forster
Photo: Isabella Francis
Don't Try This: Liam Coleman, Jaya Beach-Robertson, Greg Smith
Photo: Isabella Francis
Andrew Strugnell 1, reluctant projector 0
Photo: Tony Forster
Winner Simon Leslie (Ngai Tahu) and host Brittany Clark
Getting Social: Kasper Tait, Kate Manihera, Caito Potatoe and Asad Naseem
CREWED | 45
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