Hi, my name is Stephanie Charles and I’m the Global Markets Manager at StarNow, an online talent community.
As a ground-breaking, inclusive, and accessible platform for exciting and engaging storytelling, shorts films are a great way for our talented filmmakers to enter the industry. They also give actors the chance to hone their skills! An art form in their own right, short films are becoming more readily recognized as an important developmental platform for creatives.
In this edition of the Screening Room, I’ll be looking at short films that were either shot in Wellington or were made by Wellington filmmakers. Wellington has seen a massive change in its industry over the years, and is now really hitting its stride. It’s even been named the “world’s coolest little film capital”! StarNow is very proud to be based here, so I thought I’d shine a spotlight on some amazing Wellington films.
Director: Anna Campion, 1989
This little-known gem was shot in and around Wellington. There is a great shot of Wellington’s Evans Bay right at the start. Anna Campion directs her mother Edith and younger sister Jane in this slyly observed short: a re-imagining of Edith’s (reluctant) audition for a small role in Jane’s An Angel at My Table. From when Edith picks Jane up at the airport en route to her Otaki home, the professional and personal roles blur. Anxiety, huffs and matriarchal needling ensue as an often comic, sometimes poignant domestic tango between the former stage actress and film director that Jane plays out in front of the camera.
Director: Taika Waititi, 2004
Taika is one of Wellington’s most recognised young filmmakers and an inspiration to many who are just starting out and trying to find their feet. Before Taika was known for his feature films Eagle vs Shark and Boy, he made some amazing short films, and this is one of them. Tama Tū is a stunning short film which was shot in the rubble of the old Wellington hospital. It won international acclaim with an honourable mention at Sundance and a special jury prize at the Berlin Film Festival. Six Māori Battalion soldiers camped in Italian ruins wait for night to fall. In the silence, the bros-in-arms distract themselves with jokes. A tohu (sign) brings them back to reality and they gather to say a karakia before returning to the fray.
(Click to watch through NZOnScreen)
Betty Banned Sweets
Director: Michelle Savill, 2008
Michelle is a very exciting up-and-coming director whose more recent short films are shining on the world stage. This is one of her first short films and was made as part of a Wintec Bachelor of Media Arts course in 2007. Betty Banned Sweets also won selection to Melbourne, Rotterdam and Clermont-Ferrand film festivals. Benjamin lives at home with his Mum, but the 23-year-old dreams of escaping the nest for some overseas experience. While pondering ‘should I stay or should I go?’, he retreats to his studio and creates intricate shoe-box dioramas of his destinations; meanwhile, his mother plans an (unwanted) birthday party for him.
These 3 short films are just a small taste of the talented filmmakers that come from the Wellington region and the beauty and diversity which the region has to offer. Sometimes we forget that Wellington is more than just Middle Earth!