Sutorius elects to do it from home
Tony Sutorius and his small team are keeping it unreal in Camborne.
The film-maker has captured a niche in the market, specialising in making election training films in New Zealand and Australia.
Last year he and the five permanent employees of Unreal Films Limited were flat out in the lead-up to the Australian state and federal elections, the fourth they have worked on.
They made a mock ‘‘ election day’’ film that showed what goes on in a polling station.
His work gave him a platform to reach isolated communities and talk about the value of democracy, something very close to his heart, he said.
‘‘I studied politics at university and always had an interest, alongside my film studies [at Victoria University],’’ he said. ‘‘I wanted to be a film-maker who cared about what stories I was telling, and getting paid for it,’’ he said.
‘‘That was a challenge and it’s taken a while to get there, but we’ve found our way now.’’
After making a film following the MMP campaign in the 1990s, Sutorius realised elections were an untapped niche market.
Unreal Films’ DVD, made for the Australian Electoral Commission, was watched by 90,000 employees last year and now he has plans to further engage with young people, those with disabili- ties and indigenous people about how powerful voting is.
‘‘It is compulsory [to vote] in Australia, so they have a different dynamic to work with. What you have to do is help the frontline electoral staff and also show people that they can decide what happens next and that democracy is an agent of change.
‘‘I want more voters to have access to the system.’’
Last month, he and his team made a similar mock film for New Zealand’s electoral commission, using 140 extras and members of the public for a day at the Pavilion.
Much fun was had by all, he said, with the Plimmerton community coming out in force to support him.
Sutorius loves the 30- second commute downstairs to work, with studio, editing suites and sound mixing facilities.
With clients contactable by email, phone and Skype, a big city office is not necessary.
‘‘We had offices in Wellington, but recently made the decision to set up here. We’re a part of this community and I wanted to work in this community.
‘‘ I went for a run along the beach this morning, which I couldn’t do if I had to deal with traffic for eight hours a week.’’
Sutorius, a member of the Plimmerton fire brigade, said Porirua was a wonderful place to work, live and play. He went to school in Plimmerton and at Mana College.
‘‘ There are specialised businesses in Porirua doing fantastically well in overseas markets.
‘‘We can win awards and open doors and people can’t believe where we’re from.
‘‘This place is culturally rich and we draw from that every day in our work.’’
Unreal Films is pursuing opportunities in North America and Sutorius said a documentary for schools in collaboration with the mother of Sophie Elliott, who was murdered by her exboyfriend, was in the works.
At work: Tony Sutorius, right, and editor Shane Loader in one of the editing suites in the bottom level of Sutorius’ Camborne home.