They’re our movies here
How to Meet Girls From a Distance, Dean Hewison’s peeping Tom rom-com about a shy guy’s unethical attempts to find true love, has been the most publicised of the movies with a Wellington connection screening in the festival. Earlier this year it won the Wellington film making team, Traces of Nut, the Make My Movie competition. How to Meet screened in the first few days of the festival, and as it continues there’s still plenty of films with Wellington associations to see.
Shot half an hour’s drive from the central city, on Wellington’s west coast, Juliet Bergh’s feature film Existence has its first preview screenings at the festival this week. Made on a budget of only $250,000 Existence is the first visible product of New Zealand Film Commission’s low budget Escalator scheme. It tells the story of a woman, one of the last survivors of a world long ago ravaged by ecological disaster, and her fight to discover what lies beyond the endless boundary fence that has trapped her family for centuries.
Producer Mhairead Connor says the film was made by a predominantly female crew, still relatively unusual in the film world.
“The producers, director, cinematographer and protagonist are all local Wellington girls and it is point of difference of which we’re all proud, especially given a physically demanding shoot in a typical Wellington winter,” Connor says.
She says as well as telling a great universal story they wanted to show Wellingtonians a side of their region that they may not have ever seen.
“Hopefully they’ll come out of the cinema looking at their hometown in a whole new way,” Connor says.
Existence screens at The Paramount, August 3 and 5.
Wellington writer and director Costa Botes’ documentary The Last Dogs of Winter screens at Penthouse Cinema on August 5. A film about a man’s fight to save the last of an endangered breed of Eskimo dogs in northern Canada, The Last Dogs of Winter premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September and was selected to screen at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in the Best of Fest category.
Fellow Wellington film maker Gaylene Preston’s work, Tararakihi: The Children of Parihaka, follows a group of Parihaka children who travel to the South Island in the footsteps of their male ancestors, transported south after the Taranaki land confiscations 130 years earlier. The children visit key locations in their ancestor’s journey, including the caves near Dunedin where the Parihaka men were imprisoned and forced to hard labour on the city’s buildings, roads and embankments.
Tararakihi screens at City Gallery on August 3.
In Village by the Sea, screening at City Gallery on August 2, Kapiti director Michael Heath follows up on A Light Among Shadows, his 2007 portrait of New Zealand artist Edith Collier. Shot in the Irish fishing village of Bunmahon where Collier painted during the summers of 1914 and 1915, Village by the Sea has its world premiere at the festival.
Wellington is also well represented in the festivals short movie screenings. Louise Leith’s Whakatiki and Libby Hakaraia’s The Lawnmower Men of Kapu screen alongside five other short films in the festival’s Maori Pasifika showcase, Nga Whanaunga, at The Paramount on August 4 and 8.
And in a first for the festival, audiences will vote for the best homegrown short film in the New Zealand’s Best 2012 screening, at The Paramount on August 1 and 2. Among the six shorts are two by Wellington directors, Ellen is Leaving from Michelle Savill and Lambs from Sam Kelly. Lambs comes to the international festival fresh from its screenings at the Berlin Film Festival.