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Habicht's film to capture life in New Zealand

7 June 2005

Florian Habicht's film to capture true essence of life in New Zealand

"I'm stoked to be supported by the Screen Innovation Production Fund again."

A new experimental documentary by Florian Habicht, Land of the Long White Cloud, will present a view of New Zealand quite unlike your typical tourist documentary or coffee-table book. One of 15 projects offered grants in the latest round of the Screen Innovation Production Fund, the film promises to be a witty, idiosyncratic look at life in this country.

Habicht, currently in Amsterdam taking part in a script development programme at the prestigious Maurits Binger Film Institute and fresh from attending the Cannes Film Festival, will be extending his personal brand of filmmaking - a mix of documentary, fantasy and dark humour - to capture the "true essence of New Zealand".

The Auckland filmmaker was offered a $31,475 grant towards the production of his new feature-length film. He says that he will be employing the same team that made his offbeat independent hits Kaikohe Demolition and Woodenhead, which were both produced with support from the Screen Innovation Production Fund.

"I'm really excited about making Land of the Long White Cloud. What we achieved with Kaikohe Demolition is what I want to do with the whole of Aotearoa in this new film," he says. "I'm stoked to be supported by the Screen Innovation Production Fund again. It means we get to make Land of the Long White Cloud with total freedom to be truly experimental."

The Screen Innovation Production Fund, a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission, supports the moving-image arts by funding innovative and often low-budget productions. In this funding round, the Fund received 90 applications requesting more than $1.5 million. Of these, 15 projects were offered funding totalling $274,141.

Another view of life in New Zealand is offered in Noor Razzak's A New Place to Call Home. The emerging Wellington filmmaker was offered a grant of $20,000 towards the production of his short film about the experience of an Iraqi immigrant adjusting to life in New Zealand.

And emerging filmmaker Zia Mandviwalla of Grey Lynn, Auckland was offered $23,707 towards the production of Clean Linen, a short film written by Shuchi Kothari. Clean Linen is told through the eyes of two children about their seemingly "perfect" immigrant family life in New Zealand. When nine-year-old Raj tries to save his sister from a scolding, he unwittingly shatters the family's illusion of harmony.
Mandviwalla's previous film, Eating Sausage, has screened at international film festivals in Korea, London and Spain. It was made with the support of a grant from the Screen Innovation Production Fund.

The selection panel for this funding round consisted of Lydia Wevers (Chair of the panel and member of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand), Andrew Bancroft, Fiona Bartlett, Lawrence McDonald and Brita McVeigh.

"As in the previous funding round, there were a number of projects dealing with identity and the changing demographics of New Zealand's multi-cultural society," Lydia Wevers said.

"The panel was also pleased to receive some strong projects from emerging filmmakers, as well as projects by established filmmakers taking their work in new directions and exploring new ideas. This is the only fund available to New Zealand moving-image artists that actively encourages risk-taking and experimentation, at the same time pushing the medium forward."

One of the Fund's priorities is to support work by experimental or fine art film and video makers. Established Wellington filmmaker Douglas Bagnall was offered $17, 000 towards the production of Television Emulator. This is an installation where a robot watches a television show and constructs new episodes, using artificial intelligence and statistical analysis. Bagnall's filmmaking robot was constructed in 2003 with the support of an earlier Screen Innovation Production Fund grant.

Two experimental animation films were offered funding. Vicky Pope of Pop Film Ltd in Wellington was offered $23,260 to produce The Pen, two short animations by Wellington writers, performers and filmmakers Jemaine Clement and Guy Capper. Described as edgy comedy, The Pen explores the New Zealand male psyche through the musings of a pair of "Kiwi blokish" sheep.

Emerging experimental filmmaker Veialu Aila-Unsworth of Wellington was offered $6160 towards post-production of Blue Willow, a 2D animation about Chinese lovers who struggle to stay together after an arranged marriage is ordered by the girl's father.

Applications to the next round of the Screen Innovation Production Fund close on 29 July 2005.

ends

A complete list of Screen Innovation Production Fund grants follows. For further information about the grants please contact:

Iona McNaughton
Writer/Editor
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04-498 0715
Email: ionam@creativenz.govt.nz

Screen Innovation Production Fund

$6,160 to Veialu Aila-Unsworth, Houghton Bay, Wellington: towards post-production of Blue Willow, an animation where the drawings of a dinner plate come to life and tell the story of two young Chinese lovers trying to escape an arranged marriage.

$17,000 to Douglas Bagnall, Mt Cook, Wellington: towards the production of Television Emulator, a video installation involving a robot watching a television show and then constructing its own new episodes.

$13,472 to Steven Chow, St Johns Park, Auckland: towards the production of The Memory Booth, a short film set in the future about a man who deals with a tragic event from his past while visiting a memory booth.

$12,115 to Alyx Duncan, Kingsland, Auckland: towards post-production of Pandora, a short dance film set on the North Island's west coast about an ageing hermit who discovers a magical girl washed up on the beach one stormy morning.

$15,000 to Good Company Arts, Dunedin: towards the production of Re_Set, a dance film focussing on the relationship between image and movement based on the actions of two people playing a board game.

$3130 to Veronique Desmet, Warkworth: towards post-production of Celle 2004, a short film containing experimental video images recorded during a live musical performance.

$31,475 to Florian Habicht, Auckland: towards the production of Land of the Long White Cloud, a feature-length documentary contrasting the extremes of New Zealand daily life.

$15,000 to Miki Magasiva, Newton, Auckland: towards the production of Uso, a short film exploring the friendship between two Polynesian teenagers as they wait in a phone booth for an important call.

$23,707 to Zia Mandviwalla, Grey Lynn, Auckland: towards the production of Clean Linen, a short film told through the eyes of two children about an Indian family who appear to live the "perfect" immigrant life in New Zealand.

$23,260 to Vicky Pope of Pop Film Ltd, Mt Victoria, Wellington: towards the production of The Pen, two short animated films that take a humorous look at New Zealand life through the eyes of two "blokish" sheep.

$25,000 to Vicky Pope of Pop Film Ltd, Mt Victoria, Wellington: towards the production of The Graffiti of Mr Kynyatta, a short film about an isolated man whose only means of communication is graffiti.

$19,488 to Simon Price, Mirimar, Wellington: towards the production of Pakeha Family, an experimental documentary exploring the painful and secret story of his mother's adoption.

$20,000 to Noor Razzak, Newlands, Wellington: towards the production of A New Place to Call Home, a short film about the experience of an Iraqi immigrant adjusting to life in New Zealand.

$25,000 to Raewyn Turner, Sandringham, Auckland: towards the production of Lucky, an experimental video documentary about the propagation of plants such as the four-leaf clover, which are developed into products for gambling purposes.

$24,334 to Errol Wright and Abi King-Jones, Wellington: towards post-production of The Last Resort, a feature-length documentary about the issues of land use and ownership in New Zealand.

ENDS

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