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NZ filmmaker breaks rules at London Film Festival

New Zealand filmmaker breaks rules at London Film Festival

Truant, Michael
Click to enlarge

Truant, Michael
Click to enlarge


9 October 2006

For immediate release

New Zealand filmmaker breaks rules at London Film Festival

A short film by New Zealand director Michael Duignan has been selected to screen this month at the BFI 50th London Film Festival.

Truant is part of a programme of international films applauded for breaking the rules to create outstanding cinema in the short film format.

The 15-minute tale of a teenage boy and his fascination with an enchanting and dangerous older girl was produced in Auckland last year by Rachel Gardner and Maxim Films. Since then it has screened at film festivals in New Zealand and around the world. It was one of only 13 short films selected for the prestigious New York Film Festival 2005 alongside Oscar winning films Capote and Good Night and Good Luck.

Duignan says he is “really excited and honoured” to be part of the festival. The 29-year-old Auckland-based director is travelling to London to attend screenings of his film in a programme called ‘Death to Short Film’ at the National Film Theatre on October 31 and November 1.

London Film Festival programme director, Philip Ilson describes the selection as “international films that present us with fully realised original visions and slices of life that transcend the shorts genre, brought to us by filmmakers who break the rules and give us an exciting and essential cinema in shortened form.”

The festival is presented by the British Film Institute, an organisation Duignan has long admired. “I used to skip class and spend afternoons in the library reading old Sight and Sound magazines (published by the BFI),” he says. “It is amazing to be there in the festival’s 50th year.”

Duignan, who writes as well as directs, is currently developing several feature film projects including an adaptation of the novel Breakwater by his sister, Kate Duignan.

Born in Wellington, Duignan attended Victoria University where he studied film and philosophy. He was then selected for the highly competitive Masters of Arts in Directing at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in Sydney. Alumni of the school include Jane Campion (The Piano) and Christine Jeffs (Rain, Sylvia).

Since graduating Duignan has directed television commercials in Sydney and Auckland. This year, he won a silver AXIS at the national advertising industry awards. He has recently joined production company Exile Films, which also represents Jeffs.


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