Su­to­rius elects to do it from home

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

At work: Tony Su­to­rius, right, and edi­tor Shane Loader in one of the edit­ing suites in the bot­tom level of Su­to­rius’ Cam­borne home.

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