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Hokianga Teenager’s Short Film 'Natalie' Screens at NZIFF

Hokianga teenager’s first short film screens at prestigious NZ International Film Festival

A short film made by young people in the Far North as part of a filmmaking workshop run by filmmaker development organisation, Script to Screen, has been selected for the prestigious New Zealand International Film Festival in 2017.

The film, NATALIE, was written and directed by first time filmmaker, Qianna Titore, who is believed to be the youngest filmmaker ever selected for the NZIFF. Titore made the film with guidance from the Script to Screen team and a stellar selection of mentors including: writer/director, Michael Bennett (THE CONFESSIONS OF PRISONER T, OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE); cinematographer, Leon Narbey (WHALE RIDER, THE ORATOR); grip, Annie Frear (LORD OF THE RINGS) and editor, Cushla Dillon (PIKE RIVER, THE CONFESSIONS OF PRISONER T).

Last year, Script to Screen worked closely with the Whirinaki community in Northland to design a series of storytelling workshops where the outcome was to make a short film together.

Under the guidance of talented screenwriting mentor, Michael Bennett, participants shared their stories, received feedback and ultimately selected 16-year-old Qianna Titore’s film, NATALIE, to develop into a fully realised short film.

“It was about getting out into the community, hearing their stories and getting the local kids enthusiastic. The moment I heard 16-year-old Qianna Titore tell her story…I knew this was both a very Hokianga story, and a quite perfect short film idea.” Michael Bennett

Script to Screen developed an intensive programme, that allowed the rangatahi along with their whanau, teachers and mentors to learn together about storytelling, film and how it can be used to tell a narrative.

“Gifting these rangatahi with the tools to express these stories within the discipline of film is an absolute pleasure, and the result is a huge reward - for them, their whanau, their community and now the rest of the country, who in the case of the film NATALIE, can access a small slice of that life, and those stories.” Producer, Eloise Veber.

Pitched at rangatahi aged 16-25, the workshops fostered and encouraged a huge step forward for these young storytellers.

“The kids got a real insight into what is involved in filmmaking, and some of them truly loved it. It has opened up a whole new world for us as a community.” Iona Wikaira, Whirinaki community member.

NATALIE has since screened at the Wairoa Film Festival where it won the award for community contribution to Maori filmmaking.

“A wonderful and totally committed bunch of Hokianga residents formed the core film crew and cast, and got to make their first movie. That worked spectacularly. We had 12 kids who turned up every day at a ridiculously early hour and contributed so much. And a bunch of us working in the industry, had the kind of filmmaking experience that reminded us why we got into this in the first place.” Michael Bennett

NATALIE screens at the NZ International Film Festival as part of the Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2017 section.


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