David Whittet Films Blog
Independent New Zealand Film Production

Farewell Sundance, Hello New Orleans!

edgeFarewell Sundance, Hello New Orleans!
Preproduction on Hīkoi is reaching fever pitch. Inspired by the feedback from the Table Read My Screenplay Competition at the Sundance Festival, I have completed an extensive rewrite of the Hīkoi script.
Mentoring by industry professionals has taught me the importance of tightening the action to keep the audience's attention firmly focused on the film's message. With some intense new scenes and razor-sharp dialogue, the latest draft of Hīkoi has a compelling storyline about an idealistic young social worker who loses his girlfriend and licence when he takes risks to save a teenage mother and her baby from a gang of ruthless loan sharks.
I am confident that this thought-provoking story will resonate with cinema goers in New Zealand and beyond.
As the excitement of the Sundance competition begins to fade, anticipation mounts for the upcoming Table Read My Screenplay at the New Orleans Film Festival in October 2017.
American festivals have always supported my work generously. With such a vibrant culture and a dynamic music scene, New Orleans could be the perfect location to launch the Hīkoi music video!

Hikoi at Sundance

As the Hikoi music video nears completion, preproduction for the Hikoi feature film is underway.
I have had excellent feedback from the Table Read My Screenplay competition at the Sundance Film Festival. The prize of a teleconference with a Hollywood screenwriter has afforded the opportunity for me to work one to one with a leading professional on the next draft of the Hikoi script.
As we are in an election year in New Zealand, Hikoi is as topical as ever. Inspired by the multi-party leaders' debate in the run-up to the last General Election, Hikoi is a hard-hitting drama that deals with child poverty, deprivation and burnout among the professionals who attempt to deal with with the issue.
I am looking for a co-producer and hope to pitch for funding from the NZ Film Commission for a very relevant New Zealand story.
It would be great to see Hikoi in production before this year's election!

Zero Film Festival - A Fair Go for Indie Film Makers


Amiri & Aroha has achieved astonishing success on the international film festival circuit, especially considering it is a self funded project by a small group of self made Indie film makers. We have won awards at major festivals worldwide, in competition with full budget productions from major studios. But there is a festival that gives Indie film makers on a zero budget a fair go. Not only does the Zero Film Festival, which is restricted to self funded productions, allow Indie film makers to compete on a level playing field, but also provides the option of detailed feedback on their work and a vibrant film making community.

I am currently submitting both Amiri & Aroha and Amiri’s Child to the Zero Film Festival and hope that Rere’s Children will be joining them soon. But despite our reputation for producing world class films with negligible funding, even micro budget film makers need a little help! When I first conceived this project five years ago, who could have predicted that we would now be talking to Hollywood about a major new series?

Do read about our project and if you like what you see, please help us to complete the project with a breathtaking finale!


Lawrence of Arabia at Cannes

Lawrence of Arabia Cannes Poster
The new poster for the 50th Anniversary restoration of Lawrence of Arabia which premieres at the Cannes Film Festival this week

My first visit to the cinema as an impressionable teenager was a defining moment in my life. I remember so vividly how that dark and dingy cinema was transformed into the desert and I was spellbound. A truly life changing experience, from that day onwards I knew I had to make films.

Lawrence of Arabia has been my all time favourite film since that first visit to the cinema. I can’t wait to see the new restoration both in the cinema and the long awaited high definition Blu-Ray release.

My life seems to have been taken over by my films recently, especially as the Amiri & Aroha trilogy progresses. With so much of my time tied up with film making, I could be forgiven for cursing the day I entered that cinema, particularly when I see colleagues enjoying their leisure pursuits! But when I experience the joy of competing a film, I know that I owe Lawrence of Arabia - and David Lean - a great deal more than words can express.

Lawrence of Arabia Blu-Ray
The long awaited release of Lawrence of Arabia on Blu-Ray in a beautifully packaged collector’s edition - coming soon!