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Offering an Antidote for 'Short Film Fever'

September 8th 2006
For immediate release

Script to Screen Offers an Antidote for ‘Short Film Fever’

It’s that time of the year again when writers are gearing up to submit their projects to the New Zealand Film Commission POD funding for Short Films. Responding to the annual outbreak of short film fever, Script to Screen admitted a capacity crowd to the first of two Short Film Writer’s Rooms last week. The second event, the much anticipated Wellington premier of The Writers Room series, will be held in the capital on the 19th of September, at the Katipo Cafe.

MC Te Radar infused Auckland’s Classic with his irreverent brand of humour as he quizzed short filmmakers Michael Bennett (Michelle’s Third Novel, Cow, Egg and Bomb, Kerosene Creek) Savage (Watermark, The Speaker) and Veialu Aila-Unsworth (Blue Willow) about their experiences of writing award winning short films.

Te Radar drew on his own experiences as a writer and boldly asked the hard questions about everything from writer / director relationships (‘what do you do when you find a director, and they say, ‘Great script but let’s change that horse and make it a monkey!’’) to the process of writing and the nitty-gritty of creating a short film.

All three filmmakers talked about the importance of the writer in the actual production of the film. ‘It is really important that writers … insert and assert themselves much more in the process …’ said Savage. ‘I have made sure that I am part of the production …other than the director, the writer is often the only other person on set who has a clear idea of where the characters are coming from.’ Michael Bennett added, ‘… as a writer you can get extremely attached to your words and think that we shouldn’t change a word here, but there is actually a magic process that happens in front of the camera that is to be embraced and trusted.’

There is no tried and true formula for making a great short. Veialu Aila-Unsworth told the audience how she writes her ideas out as a short story first, ‘…I write it as I see it, then have a play with it ... play with the paragraphs.’ Michael Bennett described ‘a funny kind of alchemy … you can get obsessed with making a film so cinematic, with beautiful imagery but… where’s the story? Or conversely, you can say, I want to make my great film about what I believe life is about … but its not involving, there is no narrative… it is this weird alchemy that happens when your obsession and your grasp of visual storytelling come together and it clicks with some of your audience.’

Te Radar concluded the evening by encouraging the audience to actively build connections within the filmmaking community. ‘There are a whole lot of people here who may be in the same boat ... you never know, you may find yourself a writer, or a director, or a producer, or a writing group, or a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, or a girlfriend and a boyfriend who are looking to expand ...’

‘As Radar rightly noted, the key value of The Writer’s Room is as an opportunity to build networks,’ said Script to Screen Executive Director, Rebecca Kunin. ‘I’m really pleased that we are able to focus on Short Film before the POD submissions as it provides another opportunity for filmmakers to meet. I am overwhelmed by the consistently large turnouts and the positive feedback I am receiving. It shows that The Writer’s Room is meeting a real need in the industry, and I am thrilled that this month we are able to take The Writer’s Room to the filmmaking community in Wellington.’

Writing Outstanding Shorts - Wellington

The event that drew a capacity crowd through The Writer's Room door in Auckland is coming to Wellington. Script to Screen brings together a stellar line up of short film writers in the capital:

Taika Waititi (Two Cars, One Night, Tama Tu),
Zia Mandviwalla (Eating Sausage) and
Veialu Aila-Unsworth (Blue Willow).

Two Cars, One Night and Tamu Tu achieved local and international acclaim, winning a host of festival prizes and an Oscar nomination for Two Cars. With Blue Willow screening in Berlin and Eating Sausage in Pusan, Vladivostok, Taipei and US festivals, these films all reflect the outstanding achievements of recent NZ shorts.

MC, writer and opinionist Te Radar will talk to our writers about the nitty gritty of creating short films and the experience of taking their stories around the globe.

Tuesday, 19th September, 6pm
Katipo Cafe, 76 Willis Street, Wellington
$5 donation at the door

No bookings are required for this public event.

About Script to Screen
Script to Screen is an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to the development of a screenwriting culture in Aotearoa / New Zealand.
We place writers at the centre of the New Zealand screen industry because Script to Screen recognises the crucial role the writer plays in the filmmaking process. Script to Screen’s programme of talks, workshops, and other events provides opportunities for both established and emerging screenwriters to meet up, share knowledge, and develop their craft.
Script to Screen is a charitable trust that is core funded by the New Zealand Film Commission and governed by a board of trustees. Our trustees are appointed by the New Zealand Writers Guild, Nga Aho Whakaari, and the New Zealand Film Commission.


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