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Victoria student scores feature film role


20 August 2014

Victoria student scores feature film role

Victoria University of Wellington theatre student George Fenn has scored something many students only dream about—in November, he will walk straight from his classes into a leading role in a feature film.

George has been cast as a key character in The Great Maiden’s Blush, a feature which will be filmed in Wellington later this year. It is the latest production from independent film makers Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader whose previous movies include Taking the Waewae Express and Hook, Line & Sinker.

George, a third year theatre studies student, will play a 17-year-old mute boy called Luke who, says George, “has perfect pitch but no voice”. Luke lives with his blind uncle, who is a piano tuner. The overarching themes of the film, which follows a growing friendship between two first-time single mothers sharing a room in a post-natal ward after the birth of their babies, are forgiveness and the redemptive power of truth.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” says George. “I am nervous as it’s my first time in film acting and but I’m also inspired by the directors I will be working under.

“Being mute means the role will really bring out my acting skills—I can’t rely on the words. The exciting part is that it gives me a lot of space to develop my character through how I react to others.”

Despite being a film novice, George is no stranger to the acting profession. He took part in theatre sports as a high school student in Christchurch and his theatre studies at Victoria have given him experience in devising productions, performing in them and various stage management roles. He has also appeared in performances at Wellington’s Bats Theatre and been part of the Long Cloud Youth Theatre.

A feature of Andrea and Shane’s filmmaking is to work with the core cast in a three week rehearsal before filming starts. They are bringing over Australia-based film director Robert Marchand to guide the character-based improvisation George and other members of the cast will take part in during September.

Andrea, who taught film production at Victoria University in 2011 and 2012, says having rehearsals for a film shoot is unusual, but fundamental to the way she and Shane work.

“It allows us and our actors to explore who and what has shaped the characters’ lives away from the pressure of the actual shoot.” The process also underpins Andrea and Shane’s reputation for creating great performances and believable, complex characters.

George says one of the differences with film acting is the time it takes for an audience to see the work.

“When you’re performing live on stage, the feedback and response is immediate. With this project, we’ll be waiting quite some time to find out what audiences think.”

George’s part of the film will be shot in Wellington in November.

Torchlight Films, the company making The Great Maiden’s Blush, is using crowd funding to finance the rehearsal process for the movie. Find out more about their campaign at:'s-blush


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