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Escalator Films Get The Green Light!

Escalator Films Get The Green Light!

The NZ Film Commission is pleased to announce that it has offered three teams of filmmakers the opportunity to produce their low budget films through the Escalator low budget feature film initiative 2011.

Launched in 2010, Escalator was set up with the intention of supporting directors who were ready to step up to their first feature film, with a project that was explicitly conceived to be low budget. It provides an opportunity for film-makers to form teams and experience together long-form story telling from development through to post-production. In its second year the scheme attracted a total of 133 applications. The submitted projects covered varied genres and a wide range of innovative perspectives.

The final three films were selected by a panel of industry members and an NZFC staff member: Shuchi Kothari, Paul Murphy, Thomas Burstyn, Julian Harvey & Katherine Fry (NZFC Script Executive).

Making the announcement, NZFC CEO Graeme Mason said an extremely high calibre of projects was received this year and choosing only three projects was not a reflection of the quality.

“It is difficult to conceive a film achievable on a low budget of $250,000 and the panel took their responsibility very seriously to ensure that the projects that got through were not only great stories but also had a realistic plan to achieve the film above and beyond calling in favours and doing deals. There was plenty of heated debate by the panel but in the end the decisions were unanimous.”

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This year the range of projects funded includes an animated fable about a man named Shirley and a singing bear, a drama about the arrival of a new child through illegal means and a funny and dramatic story of a girls search for her identity and belonging. Each of these films addressed key concerns from the panel about how to deliver a film for a very small budget. The money not allocated this year will be redirected back into the production funding pool.

The three feature films that have been green lit are:
Fantail – Writer: Sophie Henderson, Director: Curtis Vowell, Producer: Sarah Cook
Stealing Tommy – Writer/ Director: Max Currie, Producers: Luke Robinson and Tom Hern.
Shirley and the Hungary Bear – Writer: Wayne Ching, Director: Alan Dickson, Producer: Glen Real

For more details about Escalator, please see the website:


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