Students bring cinema to stage
Acting in a show is well outside Eddie Tamati’s comfort zone. The 14-year-old has always been a keen dancer, but never gave serious thought to being an actor. Yet, he’s about to make his debut as the lead in his school’s multimedia production, Growing Up From Down.
Eddie is the youngest member of Aorere College’s Film Academy, a group of budding filmmakers in their final years of high school. When it came to casting performers for their annual show, being staged at Mangere Arts Centre on September 28, it was Eddie’s audition that blew them away.
‘‘This is a big leap from what I’m usually comfortable with doing. I’m not really into acting or performing but it’s growing on me,’’ Eddie says.
While he’s nervous about performing for an audience for the first time, he’s developed a passion for it and can see himself moving into directing in the future.
Growing Up From Down is a live film, theatre, dance, and music production, combining the different mediums to tell stories. Three short films, directed, filmed, and edited by Film Academy students, will feature in the show, as well as performances from musicians, dancers, and actors.
From 100 students on day one at the beginning of the year, to a group of key filmmakers in the lead up to the show, the production requires a lot of after school rehearsals and long nights of editing.
A love of film is what drove Jesse Naera, 17, to go for the Film Academy, where he’s joined by fellow directors Marietta Apulu, 17, and Nirvika Nair, 16.
Jesse lost his other team members in the process, but his friends in the academy pulled together to help him finish his film.
‘‘I didn’t want to be seen as someone who just gives up when things get hard,’’ Jesse says.
‘‘Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to make films, I already have so many stories in my head and I can’t wait to put them on film.’’
Established in 2013, the Film Academy gives students an opportunity to work with professional film and editing gear. Run by former student, Muzaffar Ali, he says it’s giving them skills they can take into potential film careers when they leave school.
‘‘It’s important for these students, at their age, to see a goal and try to reach it,’’ Ali says.