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Hone your film skills with one of NZ’s best

Hone your film skills with one of NZ’s best

Budding and experienced filmmakers are being given the chance of a lifetime this weekend to learn alongside one of New Zealand’s most respected directors and actors.

John Callen is running a free, two-day workshop at the Blue Baths in Rotorua on April 26 and 27, as part of the build-up to the inaugural nation-wide CreationFest short film competition being held in July, of which Mr Callen is also a judge.

The workshop is open to anyone who has an interest in film, regardless of experience. Mr Callen says it is a fantastic opportunity for people to discover and develop their creativity.

“It doesn’t matter if you have never made a film before or if all you’ve ever shot are a few selfies. I encourage anyone, even if they are unsure about the competition, to come along.”

The workshop will cover the basic procedures of how to create a short film; from the storyline, character and script development, to more technical aspects such as sound editing and recording.

“I want this to be a journey of discovery for new filmmakers. I won’t necessarily be saying ‘do this’ – I’ll more likely point them in a direction or suggest an angle and allow them to make their own discoveries.”

Mr Callen has more than 40 years of experience as a professional actor, director and writer in theatre, radio, film and television in both New Zealand and overseas. He has performed in or directed more than 100 stage productions and two dozen television series, and worked as a lecturer at Toi Whakaari, Unitiec drama school and the University of Auckland. He is also a founding board member and tutor at The Actor’s Program.

Mr Callen’s most recent and ongoing acting role has been as a dwarf in the core cast of The Hobbit. He is returning to New Zealand from Germany this week especially for the workshop, having been attending the Hobbitcon fan convention, held in Bonn.

He says being involved in events such as the free workshop and CreationFest is important for fostering the creative arts in New Zealand, as it is about contributing to the country’s culture that is then portrayed onscreen to the world.

“I’m in love with the entire industry and every aspect of performing and directing, even writing, and I love working with acting students. We need more New Zealand stories as we are constantly evolving and developing – I love what people come up with.”

For more information on the film workshop and to pre-register for the limited places available, or to find out more about the short film competition, visit, or call 07 350 2119. The film workshop begins at 11am on Saturday, April 26.

This coming weekend also gives people the chance to audition for the CreationFest live performance section. More details can be found on the event website.


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