‘Revolutionary’ filming completed

Media Arts students and staff have just finished filming on Revolutionary Acts, a project using the new Ladybug 3 360° camera. When complete, the production could potentially be New Zealand’s first 360° video drama. The technology is similar to that used by Google Street View, and allows viewers to experience a self-directed spherical vision of the filmed narrative.

Revolutionary Acts is a whodunnit murder-mystery, set on a film set. It was written, produced and directed by Joe Citizen, and filmed by Master of Arts student and moving image technician Paul Nelson. A key group of Media Arts student volunteers assisted – Holly Laverick (props and art direction), Jess Rix (production manager), Davis Boyce (key grip and actor), Lance Chapman (cinematographer), and Jared Constable (microphone technician,) who worked under the supervision of Kent Macpherson (sound).

Actors were coordinated by local director Alec Forbes, and street theatre performers by Free Lunch Street Theatre Company.

It is intended that the interactive film be made available via iPad or other tablet platforms, and it is being produced as part of a multi-disciplinary collaborative research project known as the Interactive Immersion project.

See more photos on Facebook.

Graduate film debuted at Seattle Film Festival

Wintec Media Arts graduate Lisa Brown’s short thriller ‘Zach’s Plan’ has gained international recognition.

The film, which addresses central character Tom’s suspicions of brother Zach, is set to showcase at the world’s largest youth film festival – the National Film Festival for Talented Youth – in Seattle later this month.

What was at first a written script for a third-year assignment quickly became real when Miss Brown decided to bring her words to life, in her second semester.

Her crew of set designer/makeup artist/editor Deborah Fitz-Herbert, boom operator Amanda McCloughen, lighting director Simon Cramer, music mixer Joel Comer and camera operators Andrew Wells and Elizabeth Campbell helped the writer, producer and director bring her film about questionable motive and sanity to life.

The suspenseful scenes of Tom (central character) and brother Zach were shot over four days at Manawaru, Te Aroha with her crew of fellow moving image classmates.

Never thinking her psychological storyline would lead her to join 699 other short film submissions on a global stage at Seattle, current honours student Brown discovered the competition by clicking on a Google website advertisement.

“I saw it there [NFFTY advertisement] and thought, oh yip… that could be interesting. I texted Deb (film editor) and she said ‘yeah, do it’.”

Once she had sent the screener (teaser of the film) and US$30 entry fee to the festival organisers it felt like an age before the post-graduate student received a reply.

Miss Brown was interning at Godzone Pictures as production assistant, following work as stage manager for comedy production The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, when she received the good news.

Brown and Fitz-Herbert could only just afford the $1600 flight to LA and $400 train tickets to San Francisco and then Seattle.  The School of Media Arts put forward $1000 to help them with this amzing opportunity.

Her film screened at the 11pm screening at the Seattle International Film Festival Cinema on April 30 2011.

The four day festival hosted 25 countries, 40 US States and kicked off with an Opening Night Gala at the Space Needle (600 feet tall).

The two film buffs flew out on April 11 and walked the red carpet on April 28 before mingling with fellow filmmakers at the opening party.

Maori and Pacific Island art exhibition

Tatai Whetu // Star Clusters is a collaborative exhibition of contemporary artworks by past and present Maori & Pacific Island Wintec Media Arts students.

The exhibition is a mixture of works that explore Maori & Pacifika themes and concepts acknowledging the past, present and the future.

An opening night will launch this exhibition on Thursday 28 April 2011 from 5:30pm at Artspost Gallery at 120 Victoria Street.

The exhibition runs from Friday 29th April through to Monday 6th June and is open for public viewing between 10am- 4.30pm daily.

Tatai Whetu is running as a lead up to Matariki.

For more information check out the Artspost Gallery website.

‘The Couch’ to premiere at Spark

A group of Media Arts students from Wintec have been busy producing a pilot episode for what could become the first Waikato-based TV sitcom. The sitcom is called The Couch, and described as a comedy of errors set in a casting agency. The premiere screening of the pilot is set for 12pm, August 9th, during the SPARK Festival of Media, Arts and Design, offering the first opportunity for many to see the finished episode. This screening is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a discussion with cast, crew and friends of the project.

The project has been driven by students and staff from the School of Media Arts’ Moving Image department, with support from local actors’ group Urban Vineyard Collective and a number of performers from around the community. Filming was completed in May.

The Couch is the brainchild of Moving Image tutors John Mandelberg and Joe Citizen, who had been researching the viability of producing a regional television sitcom. Citizen told the Waikato Times that The Couch was about providing a real project for the students. “It’s so students have a vehicle to demonstrate their skills – it’s something they can take to an employer.” Third-year student Chase ten Hove is lighting director on The Couch and said it had already provided him with invaluable experience and given him contacts with industry professionals.

Wintec has incorporated a multi-camera project into the Bachelor of Media Arts (Moving Image) coursework for the past five years, including projects like ‘Show Me The Money’ two years ago – a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style programme involving local business leaders – and live-streamed arts debate ‘Aspire’ in 2009. However, The Couch is the most logistically challenging production to date. A large main set with two rooms was built in the Wintec Moving Image studio, and several sequences were based in external locations – a carpark, Dora’s café, and one ambitious dance sequence in Hamilton’s Garden Place.

The project was shot on high definition video, using a multi-camera technique frequently used by industry production companies and allowing for fast turnaround of content. Students within the School of Media Arts from disciplines outside moving image have also benefitted. Post-production audio students working under sound tutor Bjorn Arntsen and moving graphics students working under graphic design tutor Mark Liu were also involved.

Moving Image lecturer John Mandelberg said he was pleased with the progress made on the 30-minute pilot episode, and that the students had learned a great detail through the production process.

Now that filming and editing is complete, the object will be to raise funding and support to shoot another 13 episodes as a TV series. Central TV, as well as some other Freeview regional networks, have seen the episode in progress and shown some interest in the further development of the project.

48 Hour Film Finals feature Moving Image stars

Success for team Whenua Pamamao
Success for team Whenua Pamamao

Wintec students and graduates made up 4 out of 12 finalist teams at the 48 Hours Furious Filmmaking regional final held on Wednesday evening, and won several awards. The finalists were selected from the 53 films that were successfully completed within the 48 hour timeframe, with the Hamilton competition also including entrants from Tauranga, Taranaki, Perth and Waiheke. Entrants were given a genre, a prop (a rock), a line of dialogue (‘it doesn’t fit’) and a character (Alex Puddle, exaggerator) which had to be included in their films.

Organiser of the Hamilton competition Paul Barlow said that this year’s judging had been “the toughest we’ve had – the quality was brilliant and the top 12 was difficult to choose since so many deserved to be there this time. The real shining stars this year have been Wintec teams.  It shows a real dedication to the craft of film making and I’m sure the institution is proud of this achievement.”

While the top honour on the night was taken out by Guerilla Monkeys for the second time running for their film ‘Hardwood Floors’, the Wintec contingent did receive a number of awards. Whenua Pamamao received ‘Best Makeup’, ‘Best Costume Design’, ‘Best use of Prop’ (a stone), and were nominated for ‘Best Film’. Radioactive Reptiles took out ‘Best use of Line’, while Tuff Productions and Reel Good People won ‘Best Animation’ and ‘Best All Girl Team’ respectively.

The finalist films and teams from Wintec were:

Eu De Toilette – Whenua Pamamao

There will Be Blood – Radioactive Reptiles

The Hidden – Tuff Productions

Wrong Place, Wrong Time – Reel Good People

For more details on the 48 Hour Furious Filmmaking Competition, see the official website and discussion forum.