David Whittet Films
Independent New Zealand Film Production

Film Making has been in David Whittet’s DNA since his first visit to the cinema.

“I have been passionate about cinema since my first visit to the cinema as an impressionable teenager."

"It all happened rather unexpectedly; my parents were not cinema goers and at the age of fourteen I had not been to the pictures. However, when my parents took my brother Douglas and I with them to a conference my father was attending in Norwich, we must have been very mischievous and as a last resort my brother and I were deposited in the Norwich Odeon for the Saturday afternoon. The matinee just happened to be David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia.

How well I remember going into that dark and dingy cinema, a miserable flea-pit. Then suddenly it came to life, the screen lit up with stunning, awe-inspiring images and I was deeply moved by the gripping story. The haunting music rang in my ears; the building was completely transformed by the power of this beautiful film. I believed I was in the desert and not that drab picture house.

I was spellbound long after the closing titles had faded out; the magic of the cinema had captured me. From that day onwards, I knew that I had to make movies.

I made my first film during my final year at school. Ever since that momentous visit to the cinema in Norwich, I had read every book I could find in our local library on cinema and film making.

I saved up pocket money for what seemed a lifetime and eventually I was able to buy a basic Super 8 home movie camera at a flea market. However, it was some time before I could afford to buy any film and even longer before I could afford a moviola. The editing of my early films was done with a magnifying glass, looking at the minute frames of the film!

My first film, Thursday’s Child was a study of a girl exploring a deserted ruin. Jane Clements, who played the lead role, was a classmate at school. Jane was destined to become a fashion model and jumped at the opportunity to star in a film. I soon had a nucleus of friends who wanted to work on the film on both sides of the camera.”

David Whittet