Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


It’s the End of the World at the Wellington Film Festival

This August It’s the End of the World at the Wellington Film Festival


(Freya, played by Loren Taylor – © Existence 2012)

On the west -coast of Wellington the end of the world has come and gone. At least it has in the world of Existence, a haunting new feature film that will have its first preview screenings at the Wellington Film Festival this August.

Directed by Juliet Bergh and written by Juliet and cinematographer Jessica Charlton, Existence is the story of a woman who is one of the last stragglers still clinging to life long after the world has suffered an unspecified series of ecological disasters. Played by Loren Taylor (Eagle vs Shark) Freya challenges what remains of her and her family’s fragile existence by trying to find out what lies behind an endless turbine-powered boundary fence that has been in place for centuries.

Playing on old myths and current-issues the film was made on the beautiful but savage coastline around the edges of Wellington. Given special permission by Meridian Energy to film at its Makara West-Wind Farm, the cast and crew were often stunned by the landscapes they found themselves in after a half an hour drive from the central city. The film is the first of the New Zealand Film Commission's Escalator scheme to have delivered on its small budget of 250 thousand and the production team were delighted to have recently been selected as part of the Industry-only Breakthru Screenings at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

The film is made by a predominantly female team; still relatively unusual in the world of film. The film's producers (Mhairead Connor and Melissa Dodds), director, cinematographer and protagonist are all local Wellington girls and it is point of difference of which they are all proud, especially given a physically demanding shoot in a typical Wellington winter.

Despite only being completed earlier this year, the “woman alone” nature of the story and the vast and highly cinematic landscapes that feature throughout give it more in common with some of the distinctive films coming out of New Zealand in the 1980s (Navigator, Quiet Earth, Vigil). The filmmakers were lucky enough to be one the last teams that the late, great Graeme Tetley worked with in 2011. “Working with Graeme was instrumental in making this film possible” says Bergh. “He was a wonderful example of the generosity and extraordinary talent of the local film industry.

Existence makers' are looking to exploit the fascination that offshore movie goers have with our local “otherworldly” landscapes and are pursuing international distribution enthusiastically. They are thrilled however that their hometown will hold the film's first screening. “As well as telling a great universal story, we want to show Wellingtonians a side of their region that they may not have ever seen” say Connor and Dodds – hopefully they'll come out of the cinema looking at their hometown a whole new way.

Existence screens this August the 3rd and the 6th at the Wellington International Film Festival – tickets are on sale through Ticketek and at Film Festival screening venues.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland