After two years of intensive shooting, Amiri’s Child is at last in the can.
At the end of a shoot, I always aim to reserve time for pick up shots. It’s a great feeling when the shooting is complete and there is an opportunity to film those extra scenes that can add depth and scope to the story.
Pick ups can make or break a film. Today’s work adds a new dimension to Miriama’s character, giving her a back story and insights into her relationship with the young Arapeta. These scenes will make Amiri’s Child a more powerful piece of cinema.
The wrap photo for the battered and bruised team following an intense shoot!
We were back in Gisborne for a long weekend of retakes and pickups for Amiri’s Child.
The youth gang scene has certainly proved one of the most difficult sequences in Amiri’s Child. It is a dramatic turning point in the story and following a feedback from preview audiences and industry colleagues, I have taken this opportunity to develop Miriama’s character with a back story and deepen the potent but ambivalent relationship between the young Arapeta and Miriama.
We had a brilliant cast this afternoon and created a powerful and compelling scene.
I was a guest on veteran Māori broadcaster Dale Husband’s Te Wahanga Parakuihi show on Radio Waatea this morning, Auckland’s influential urban Māori station.
Te Wahanga Parakuihiā provides an early morning dose of bilingual news, views, Māori events and entertainment. It was a pleasure to discuss the interest in Māori culture that Amiri & Aroha has created on a world stage and the recognition it is bringing to a very talented group of Māori actors.
As the deadline approaches for the sale of shares in Mighty River Power, Amiri’s Child continues to make the headlines!
Miriama (Ebony Tuhaka) achieves celebrity status in a montage sequence at the conclusion of Amiri’s Child.
It is now almost a decade since I first started work on Amiri & Aroha. When I plotted the story and wrote the first drafts, in what seems a lifetime ago, I had no knowledge that my work would prove so topical and create a political stir.
Read our Press Release and watch the scene that has provoked such an unexpected reaction.
The infamous teaser scene at the end of Amiri’s Child where Miriama holds a press conference to announce the takeover of a fictitious Mighty River Power. This scene was written and filmed long before asset sales became an issue in New Zealand and the sale of shares in Mighty River power was announced.
As post production, reshoots and discussions with distributors continue, thoughts have been turning towards the premiere of the complete trilogy.
I am delighted to announce that we plan to have a gala charity premiere later in the year, the proceeds of which will go to support a project I am working on to develop family medicine in Cambodia.
Feedback from early preview audiences has provided invaluable in refining the final cut of Amiri’s Child
How truly independent can an independent film be?
The joy of independent film making is the creative freedom to follow one’s own ideas and inspiration, free from studio pressure and influence. But can one ever be completely free of commercial constraints?
On the eve of release, following discussion with potential distributors, I have been asked to make changes to Amiri’s Child.
The film maker is particularly vulnerable in the final stages of post production. As I have reported earlier in this blog, editing Amiri’s Child has proven particularly challenging, with critical rewrites and reshoots late into post. After months of work, cutting and recutting to get the structure and pacing right, in the last few days I have at last felt a sense of accomplishment, the film has achieved what I intended, my vision has been realised.
The pressure from exhibitors to make changes, particularly to the ending, was therefore not entirely welcome and my first real experience of commercial forces. After taking some time out to consider the suggested changes, I can see that the difference lies in my desire to make three companion films which are complete in their own right and the distributors requirement for a continuing series.
One suggestion is to follow the modern story telling trend of beginning with the dramatic crux the story, starting with the denouement as a teaser and then showing the audience how events come to reach this climax. It’s a technique we have become accustomed to in TV shows like Revenge, where it works very well. But in Amiri’s Child? I haven’t got my head round that yet!
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the digital age is the ability to make multiple cuts of the film for different audiences. When working on 16mm or 35mm film this proved prohibitively expensive. Now it is so easy to make different versions of the project and try out editing suggestions from preview audiences and distributors - however outlandish they may seem at first -without any additional cost. Other than time! All this does mean many more hours locked away in the editing suite!
More long hours lie ahead in the editing suite to complete the theatrical release cuts of Amiri’s Child and Rere’s Children.
A frame from a montage sequence dramatising Arapeta’s meteoric rise to the top in the power industry.
Amiri’s Child hits the headlines with a timely message for New Zealand!
The release of the first look videos of Amiri’s Child has provoked an extraordinary and totally unexpected response. Preview audiences in New Zealand have been fast to point out the parallels between the government’s sale of shares in the power industry and Amiri’s Child, a David and Goliath story of intense conflict between the directors of two rival power companies.
Does Amiri’s Child foreshadow the dangers of power generation becoming a political hot potato and falling into the wrong hands? Could the deadly rivalry between the two power companies in Amiri’s Child predict a similar confrontation here in New Zealand? Will life imitate art?
Asset sales are a hot issue right now in New Zealand. The Amiri & Aroha trilogy has taken on some important contemporary issues and now Amiri’s Child is at the centre of current debate!
Kōkā sees a vision of the unborn Arapeta in the “overture” to Amiri’s Child.
Perhaps the most ground breaking aspect of the Amiri & Aroha trilogy will prove to be the striking overture that draws the audience into each of the films.
In Amiri & Aroha the overture featured the mysterious Kōkā discovering the crystal ball in the waters of Rere and a cauldron of images in the crystal ball. With Amiri's Child we follow the crystal ball's journey back to Rere and Kōkā’s infamous curse which exerts a powerful influence on the course of the trilogy.
In an age where we are bombarded with fast and furious images in the media, on television and the internet, it can be hard for the film maker to seize the audience's attention. Gone forever are the days when cinemas had overtures and intermissions. The overture played to the expectant cinema goers in a darkened auditorium.
Film makers in the digital age must find new ways to create atmosphere and captivate their audience. I hope that Amiri & Aroha will lead the way, demonstrating a powerful approach to achieving audience engagement!
When I wrote the script for Amiri’s Child, I set myself some pretty difficult tasks. None more impossible than exploding a hydroelectric power station!
As post production on Amiri’s Child progresses, I have been forced to confront this challenge!
Thanks to the good people at Detonation Films, who blow up anything that takes their fancy, the task that has been weighing so heavily on my mind has become both achievable and fun, as demonstrated by these dramatic screen shots.
Thanks so much for your contribution to our project, guys! Keep blowing stuff up for the good of independent film makers!
The news of our success in the Prestige Awards was a major boost during the last shoot of Rere's Children in Gisborne.
Likewise, presentation of the award has been most encouraging at a critical time in post production on the trilogy.
It's tremendously satisfying to have done so well, with an essentially self funded independent film, especially when in competition with the world's top film makers and fully resourced Hollywood productions.
We look forward to continuing our high profile as the competed trilogy will soon be hitting the international film festival circuit.
Read our updated Press Release.
The growing collection of awards for Amiri & Aroha.
Amiri's Child is now close to completion and we are pleased to present a first look at a key sequence from the film.
This excerpt starts right where Amiri & Aroha left off with the long awaited confrontation between Kōkā and Aroha following the post titles teaser at the end of the original Amiri & Aroha.
The clip will reveal the direction we have taken with the story and you will see Kōkā’s notorious curse!
As post production of the trilogy continues, we will be posting more first look videos as a curtain raiser to release of the complete Amiri & Aroha trilogy.
Shooting the original youth gang scene in Gisborne in October 2011.
Success in Film Making, as in so many artistic endeavours, relies on being prepared to go back to the drawing board when a scene is not working and chiseling away at a production until it is as good as you can possibly get it.
In my last post on the January 2013 shoot, I indicated that there were still problems with a critical scene in Amiri's Child. Whilst continuing post production, I have been trying to determine why the scene isn't working after two reshoots.
As is so often the case, I am convinced that the answer lies with the concept of the scene. The young Arapeta saves Miriama from an attack by a youth gang and wins her heart, a crucial plot point. Where the problem lies is the motivation for the fight. The original story was a score to settle with Miriama's foster mother, Kōkā. For the scene to work, the youth gang’s hostility must be specifically directed at Miriama, a vendetta because she thinks she’s better than the gang. Miriama thinks she's a cut above everyone else, having been to finishing school in Switzerland.
As well as being a better fit with the rest of the story, the change will give much more meaning to Arapeta and Miriama’s subsequent relationship. Miriama is humbled by the experience and is forced to face reality. In doing so, she comes to understand Arapeta’s strengths.
So it's back to the script for another rewrite of the screenplay. I have been working on pre-viz for a restructured sequence. Now I have to arrange yet another shoot to complete Amiri's Child!
Perfecting burns in post - using Digital Anarchy's Beauty Box/Ugly Box plug-ins for Final Cut.
One of the main reasons why post production on Amiri's Child is taking so long is the painstaking digital enhancement of Amiri's burns makeup.
I have been using some brilliant software from Digital Anarchy. Whilst famed for their award winning Beauty Box skin retouching technology, it is the companion Ugly Box which is proving invaluable for Amiri's Child.
Whereas Beauty Box smooths wrinkles and blemishes, instead of smoothing the skin texture, Ugly Box enhances it to bring out all the variations, wrinkles and blemishes. This is ideal for adding edge to Amiri's grossly burnt skin and for dramatically ageing Kōkā on her fateful return to Rere.
The Waitaki Multicultural Women’s Group attended a special screening of Amiri & Aroha today.
It was a pleasure to host the meeting and it is always valuable to experience the film with a new audience and receive their feedback. Insights from a multicultural group are especially important.
The Waitaki Multicultural Group are the first audience to see the enhanced Amiri & Aroha with the additional scene described in the last post.
The group has requested another meeting in the near future to see Amiri’s Child and Rere’s Children as soon as they are complete! They will certainly amongst the first to see the entire trilogy!
The Waitaki Multicultural Women’s Group have a question and answer session with the director following the screening of Amiri & Aroha
Fringe benefits from success on the international film festival circuit: an effective new scene for Amiri & Aroha.
One of the most exciting aspects of the success of Amiri & Aroha on the international film festival circuit has been the feedback from festival adjudicators and audiences. It is invaluable to use these insights to enhance the film.
Like many independent film makers, my training has been from getting out there and making films. I have posted several blogs extolling the virtues of my unofficial film school of competition judges comments.
There has been a consensus amongst early audiences that the fire sequence in Amiri & Aroha requires a slightly longer build up and I have gone back to the rushes - the camera original footage - and added a new scene of Amiri and Aroha struggling to escape before the fire becomes established. I have gained so much experience with digital compositing and have put all this expertise into crafting the scene.
A small enhancement perhaps, but a major impact on the film.
Young Arapeta (Mark Whittet) and Miriama (Sophee Hills) work out their troubled relationship in the spectacular setting of the Elephant rocks. This touching scene is a highlight of the January 2013 shoot.
With some beautiful scenes between Arapeta and Miriama at the Elephant Rocks and some pick up shots up and down the Waitaki Valley, filming for the January 2013 shoot wrapped.
The difference in Mark and Sophee’s performances during this session has been amazing. Both young actors brought a wealth of experience from the previous shoots and a new depth and maturity to their characters. I am so pleased that we expanded and re-shot these scenes. They will make Amiri’s Child a much more powerful film.
Yet this excitement is tempered by some concerns. There are problem areas that are proving difficult to resolve. I remain uneasy about the youth gang scene in Amiri’s Child. Despite the re-write and some promising new footage, the scene just doesn’t have the gritty realism to carry the audience through Miriama’s change of heart. I fear further retakes will be necessary. Will the Amiri & Aroha trilogy ever be completely in the can?
Yet more tough decisions lie ahead in post production!
Director David Whittet views the footage shot this morning over lunch at the Flying Pig Cafe in Duntroon.
Of all the lessons I have learnt over the years at my unofficial film school of competition judge’s comments, festival adjudicators and DVD director’s commentary tracks, perhaps this is the most important: during production planning, always make contingency plans to reshoot those inevitable scenes that disappoint in post production.
Peter Jackson discusses the value of this in his director’s commentary on the extended DVD of King Kong. He always contracts his actors and crew to be available for pick up shots after the completion of principal photography, so those scenes which just haven’t worked out - for whatever reason - can be put right.
The value of this week’s shoot is proving immeasurable. With the hindsight and knowledge of the entire trilogy production, I have been able to get my young actors to really understand their roles and for those few moments that the camera is rolling, to believe that the are the characters in the film.
Director David Whittet setting up for today’s shoot at the Elephant Rocks in the Waitaki Valley, North Otago.
Each shoot in the Amiri & Aroha trilogy has proved a mission, there are always a huge number of scenes to film in a short space of time. We were all tired today after yesterday’s filming marathon and it proved another swelteringly hot day, making concentration difficult for cast and crew alike.
I had deliberately set a whole day aside for the work at Elephant Rocks. It is an important and emotional scene for the young actors and I was determined to allow myself sufficient time to draw the very best out of Mark and Sophee.
Both Mark and Sophee exceeded expectations and brought a charming innocence to the scene. I can’t wait to edit this footage!
Sophee Hills - still smiling after a week of intense shooting!
Frame enlargement from this evening’s footage: the passing train adds the perfect atmosphere as Arapeta and Miriama walk back from their frightening experience at the castle, only to be apprehended by a youth gang.
Trains have always fascinated me. Indeed trains have proved significant characters in a number of my films. Trains were a symbol of departure and loss in one of my earliest films Andante and the dramatic climax of Phaedra’s Friend took place on the London Underground.
Back in Gisborne, I had shot some very atmospheric scenes of Shane Luke as the adult Arapeta wandering along a disused railway track when his life falls to pieces at the end of Amiri’s Child. Tonight’s scene will add unity to the locations as well as a dramatic transition between the scenes at Campbell Park and the youth gang sequence.
David Lean always maintained that: “good films can only be made by dedicated maniacs”. After a long and punishing day on location, camping out by the train track to get this elusive shot was definitely dedicated and, in the view of the cast, quite maniacal!
Sophee Hills and David Whittet discussing her opening scene in the Oamaru Public Gardens.
A character’s first appearance on screen is all important and a striking first scene can create an indelible impression on an audience, which will resonate throughout the film.
When we shot Miriama’s opening scene in Gisborne, we were hampered by some poor weather and the scene never created the impact I was looking for. The audience must empathise with Arapeta’s need to win Miriama’s heart. The beautiful evening sun in the Oamaru Public Gardens added the perfect visual texture for this scene.
David Whittet directs Sophee Hills as Miriama and Mark Whittet as Arapeta at the Campbell Park Estate in the Waitaki Valley.
In today’s scenes, we see a different side of the young Miriama. Previous iterations of the script have concentrated on Kōkā’s grooming her to be a lady, with the legacy of an exclusive Swiss finishing school and a disdain for Arapeta’s gangland origins. But as Miriama begins to escape from Kōkā’s control, we see a more wistful side to her personality. Sick of their nomadic existence, Miriama fantasises about a life away from the claustrophobic gypsy caravan.
Young Miriama (Sophee Hills) and the castle of her dreams.
David Whittet directs Sophee Hills as the young Miriama at the Waitaki Dam in North Otago.
Today’s shooting provided an ideal opportunity to deepen the audience’s insight into the relationship between the young Arapeta and Miriama and in particular to develop Miriama’s character.
The Young Arapeta’s Vision sequence is all important to the story but has proved very difficult to get exactly right. I have re-written the scene may times and today marks the third time we have filmed the scene.
Coming midway through Amiri’s Child, whilst out walking with Miriama, the young Arapeta sees a hydroelectric dam and knows instantly that he wants to be in charge of the power station. Whilst Arapeta eulogises about clean raw energy, Miriama takes a more pragmatic approach, she’s learnt about harnessing energy at finishing school. And we get a glimpse of Miriama’s playfulness as she teases Arapeta that she might beat him to it, a hint of plot twists ahead.
Today’s shoot was made special by the pounding water on the spillway at the Waitaki dam. On our previous shoots, the cascading water had to be added digitally in post production. Recent heavy rain in the Waitaki Valley has filed the lakes and the roar of the water from the dam today truly equalled the might of the Rere falls!
Shooting at the mighty Waitaki dam today, with the intensity of the pounding water and the beauty of the Waitaki lakes, I could empathise with the young Arapeta’s fascination with “clean, raw energy”.
Ryan Esselink, Chris van der Salm, Caitlin Kearney, Georgia Tangney, Brittany Mare and Eilee Robinson as the youth gang with a score to settle with Miriama.
The first day of shooting is always a mixture of excitement and blind pain and today was no exception!
Despite weeks of planning, for this shoot we have been scouring second hand clothes shops for young Arapeta’s distinctive costume and working with knives, razor blades and matches to make the your gang costumes look suitably live in.
Yet there is always so much to do at the last minute. No sooner had we picked up Sophee Hills, who plays the young Miriama, from Timaru airport than we were on the road to shoot the youth gang scenes by the railway track in the industrial area of Oamaru.
Mark and I had worked on the choreography for the fight in which Arapeta defends Miriama and at last wins her heart. The scenes needed to by gritty and ugly for Miriama’s transformation to have meaning. Despite all the preparation and a great new cast of gangsters, the shoot was difficult and radix cutting in post production will be needed to give the footage the edginess required for the story.
The perfect refuge for Amiri & Aroha, complete with its own waterfall - thanks to Bronwyn Kay!
Bronwyn Kay is our major supporter from the IndieGoGo campaign last year and we are most grateful to Bronwyn for her generous support of our project.
As regular followers of this blog will know, in addition to her financial contribution to the film, Bronwyn also took on a starring role in a key sequence in Rere’s Children.
Amiri is on the run from both his enemies and the authorities and he must find a remote hideaway where he can live with Aroha in secret. He entrusts his lawyer Lamonge to find him a luxurious mansion, far away from the prying eyes of his adversaries. Lamonge turns to Bronwyn Kay to find the ideal sanctuary for Amiri. Bronwyn delivers a property to die for, only accessible by a precarious swing bridge, and complete with its own swing bridge, to remind Amiri & Aroha of their first meeting at the Rere falls.
As Amiri’s Child is nearing completion in post production, I have been turning my attention to Rere’s Children and I have been working on Bronwyn’s scene. It is a very tense encounter between Lamonge and Bronwyn, with Lamonge inadvertently saying to much during the meeting and Bronwyn realises that his client is indeed the notorious Amiri.
Bronwyn was a true star and played the part to perfection. You can read about the shooting here.
I have put together this preview of Bronwyn’s scene. Enjoy!
We remain externally grateful to Bronwyn. Your contribution has made a huge difference to our project!
Mark Whittet and Sophee Hills will reprise their roles of the young Arapeta and Miriama.
With shooting set to commence on 21 January, preparations are once again in full swing for yet another major shoot for the Amiri & Aroha trilogy.It is always an exciting time, honing the script, location scouting, storyboarding the sequences. Creativity is at a peak!
My main aim for this shoot is to more fully develop the relationship between the young Arapeta and Miriama. They start out like Pip and Estella in Great Expectations with Miriama, just back from an exclusive finishing school in Switzerland, decrying Arapeta for his gangland origins. Miriama’s journey as a child is a vital precursor to developments in Rere’s Children, as the trilogy reaches its conclusion.
Sophee Hills is flying down from Gisborne to Oamaru next week for the filming which will expand the role of the young Miriama. The new footage will give Miriama more back story and make her initial hostility to Arapeta and her subsequent transformation more understandable.
There is agony and ecstasy in the creation of any artistic endeavour. In film making, joy and despair come together in post production.
My current work completing Amiri’s Child has certainly brought some highs, as the rough cut takes shape and promises to be a compelling piece of cinema. But there are some problem areas where the material is just not working.
In particular, the scenes between the young Arapeta and Miriama are not sufficiently developed. Whilst the scenes have been through a number of revisions already, more work is required if these sequences are to achieve their full impact.
So over the next few days, I will concentrate on re-writing the scenes, with the benefit of hindsight from the previous shoots and an overview of the entire project. I hope to set up a shooting session for later in January for these scenes.
Working on a complex compositing shot using Apple’s Motion software.
I am falling behind with post production work on the Amiri & Aroha trilogy. I was hoping to have Amiri’s Child complete by the end of this year, but release will now be well into the New Year.
The reason for the delay is the painstaking work on special effects. I have previously commented in this blog on the endless list of Digital Compositors on the titles in the commercial cinema and how this contrasts with the Indy film maker, who does all the work themselves. Amiri’s Child in particular is heavy on effects shots. As well as images in Kōkā’s crystal ball, there is a complex opening sequence, an overture in which the crystal ball travels back to Rere and Kōkā foresees the birth of Amiri’s child.
I have spent the last fortnight working on Kōkā’s return to Rere, a dramatic scene towards the end of Amiri’s Child. Kokā must take the crystal ball back to Rere and smash it on the rocks to break a curse, and as she travels back to Rere in her caravan, she asks her beloved crystal ball to show her the future one last time. Creating these effects (using Apple’s Motion programme) has been laborious, which single shots taking several days to achieve the level of perfection essential to make the audience believe in the illusion.
Creating a travelling matte around the actress’s fingers so that they appear in front of the lightening, which has been superimposed on the shot to create the illusion that the lightening is inside the crystal ball.
The completed effect, with the fire in the crystal ball on Kōkā’s final journey.
Digital compositing may be an exacting task, but the results are rewarding when they work!
Importing the footage from the October shoot into Final Cut Pro X for cataloguing. Each shoot has generated several terabytes of material!
Each of our extended shoots on the Amiri & Aroha trilogy has produced a mass of material to be viewed, catalogued and assessed prior to getting down to editing proper.
With the huge amount of work in the October shoot, this has been the biggest import of footage in the trilogy. As the material is downloaded and backed up to multiple off-site locations, I am constantly looking to see if it matches up to expectations and will cut together.
Will that long shot match that close up? Is that shot believable? Is the actor plausible in the role?
These are the questions that race through the film makers head as the new martial is ingested!
Payback time for Uncle Ben: David Whittet directs Shane Luke (Arapeta), Willie Grace Senior (Uncle Ben) and Kohi Marama Rogers (Aunt Hinemoa) in a tense scene where Arapeta confronts demons from his past, which wraps principal photography on Rere’s Children.
The October shoot has been by far the most challenging of the trilogy. I always knew it would be tough to complete such a massive amount of visual story-telling in a two week period, but didm’t realise just how much I was asking of myself and stress levels were high at times during this fortnight!
It felt fitting to wrap principal photography with the Aunt Hinemoa scenes, as it is this encounter that clears Arapeta’s mind and shapes his outlook on the future. Shane Luke and Willie Grace worked beautifully together at the role reversal from earlier in the trilogy and Kohi Marama Rogers took over the role of the older Aunt Hinemoa, bringing depth to the person who has been Arapeta’s rock throughout his life.
A wrap at last? There are still some pick up shots to be done and there will inevitably be some retakes. But at the end of today’s shoot, I felt a sense of achievement. Once more we had accomplished the impossible and created a powerful piece of contemporary cinema with virtually zero resources. And that is an achievement.
Bruised, yes. But still smiling!
A look of relief from director David Whittet as the shooting is at last completed with all major scenes in the can.
Tautaru is arrested at gang headquarters as his henchmen look on in total disbelief. The New Zealand Police threw everything into the scene and showed actor Walter Walsh (the WIz) no mercy as Tautaru was unceremoniously handcuffed and dragged away!
Tonight was another mammoth shoot at Smash Palace, an atmospheric bar in Gisborne which was the perfect location for gang headquarters. Unfortunately, we only had Smash Palace for one night and it was a huge ask to get through the mountain of scenes at gang headquarters in one night!
The evening started with the New Zealand Police joining us on set to film Tautaru’s arrest. The two officers who performed the arrest were brilliant and totally entered into the spirit of the film. We are so grateful the the New Zealand Police for participating in the film and bringing such gritty realism to these all important scenes.
Otherwise, it was a long hard night of filming, ploughing through seemingly endless pages of script to complete the shoot. But as always, we pulled it off and got all the material in the can. But the night took its toll and I have to admit to wondering - if only for a fleeting moment - why I make films!
Watch a first look video of Tautaru’s arrest and hear actor Walter Walsh (the Wiz) talk about the experience!
Director David Whittet confers with Assistant director Mark during the shooting of a tense scene where Lamonge (Warren Philp) claims his reward for money laundering, a gangland slut (played by Juvana Rangi).
This morning we filmed an extraordinary sequence at an amazing location. It was one of those shots where everything just worked, the camera angles all felt right and stalwarts of the Amiri & Aroha trilogy, Warren Philp, Ayden Malone and Edward Tipene delivered powerful performances. We were joined by a new addition to the cast, Juvana Rangi, who played the gangland slut who turns out to be Lamonge’s reward. Juvana played the role with a definite edge which added to the gritty realism of the scene.
We had a wonderfully atmospheric location for this morning’s filming. The mattresses in front of the graffiti covered walls are home to several vagrants every night.
Edward Tipene and Ayden Malone play the gangsters who deliver Lamonge his reward.
Today we released our press release following the success of Amiri & Aroha at the Prestige Film Awards.
This prestigious award has come at an opportune moment and proved a great stimulus as we near completion of principal photography for the Amiri & Aroha trilogy.
Read our press release here.
A troubled Hunapo (Shayne Biddle) returns to the place where he betrayed Aroha.
It was a great pleasure to work with Shayne Biddle again today, once more reprising the role of Hunapo. Tonight we filmed Hunapo’s redemption, the key scenes where a guilt ridden Hunapo is forced to confront his demons and do the right thing, redeeming an otherwise wasted life. Shayne was on top form for these emotionally demanding scenes.
The cast and crew for today’s shoot which we affectionately called “Mrs Brown’s Boys”.
The turning point in Rere’s Children comes when the youth of the gang refuse to tolerate the reign of terror of the old guard. This comes to a head when the youngsters witness the harsh treatment of older people who cannot pay their protection money. These brave young men decide to take action and plot to overthrow the gang leader, Tautaru.
These scenes were difficult to film and our cast delivered a moving and forceful performance. There is huge unrecognised talent in Gisborne!
Very special thanks to Lisa Beach who coordinated today’s shoot and involved her friends and whānau on both sides of the camera.
We shot some breathtaking shots today of the crazed Amiri being incarcerated in the asylum for the criminally insane. Michael Hollis was in top form and onlookers on set were terrified by his maniacal performance!
Every director has their own personal trade mark which is stamped on each of their films. Alfred Hitchcock started the tradition with a personal cameo role in every film.
With Amiri & Aroha, I have developed my own personal stamp by playing the doctor in each part of the trilogy. It is a fitting touch for an Indy film maker whose day job is a medical practitioner.
In a moment of megalomania, whilst struggling for a title for the third film, I considered calling it Amiri’s Doctor and starring in it as an ace plastic surgeon who repairs Amiri’s face!
Instead, I reduced my role back to playing the psychiatrist who is brought in to determine Amiri’s fitness to stand trial for the explosion of the power station.
Director David Whittet prepares for his cameo role as the psychiatrist assessing Amiri at the asylum for the criminally insane.