Study award brings `westie’ home again

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

Gemma Dun­can, pic­tured, ad­mits she didn’t know much about Unitec other than play­ing a zom­bie for a film pro­duc­tion, wan­der­ing the halls of the old Car­ring­ton Hospi­tal, now part of Unitec’s Mt Al­bert cam­pus.

But that is about to change thanks to be- ing the lucky re­cip­i­ent of Unitec’s study award of­fered to par­tic­i­pants of the re­cent 48HOURS Fu­ri­ous Film­mak­ing 2009 com­pe­ti­tion.

48HOURS par­tic­i­pants were given an op­por­tu­nity to study fur­ther in the area of screen arts at Unitec.

The award cov­ers Dun­can’s tu­ition fees for next year where she is plan­ning to com­plete the Grad­u­ate Diploma in Creative Prac­tice pro­gramme.

“I was ac­tu­ally sick with a cold when I got the phone call to say I had won so it took me about five min­utes to re­alise it,” laughs the 24-year-old. “I think it was all the med­i­ca­tion I was on.”

Dun­can says she was pleas­antly sur­prised when she re­alised what great per­form­ing and screen arts pro­grammes Unitec had.

Cur­rently liv­ing in Welling­ton, the award al­lows Dun­can to re­turn to west Auck­land, much to her fam­ily’s de­light. Dun­can has just com­pleted her Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts de­gree at Massey Uni­ver­sity.

The proud “westie” says the study award couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time as she was con­tem­plat­ing ei­ther find­ing work or do­ing fur­ther study.

“My fam­ily has been very sup­port­ive of me for so many years so they’re stoked I’ll be mov­ing back home.

“This award is great be­cause the de­ci­sion has been made for me and I don’t have to worry about what I’ll be do­ing next year.”

Dun­can has al­ready di­rected a hand­ful of doc­u­men­taries and hopes to carve a suc­cess­ful ca­reer on the big screen.

Her doc­u­men­tary in­ter­est is con­fronting stereotypes peo­ple have and how they don’t fit with the re­al­ity.

“Film has al­ways been my main in­ter­est par­tic­u­larly around New Zealand’s cul­tural stereotypes. It’s some­thing that’s come from my fa­ther and his weapons col­lec­tion.

“He’s got a real pas­sion for them so when tell this to peo­ple, they find it strange and have a false im­age of what my fa­ther is like.”

Dun­can was one of hun­dreds of peo­ple who par­tic­i­pated in the re­cent 48HOURS Film Fes­ti­val where par­tic­i­pants had to write, film and edit a short movie within the al­lo­cated time.

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