NZ first ter­ror-fi film fest to thrill cap­i­tal

The Dominion Post - - Culture - DANI MCDON­ALD

Anew-genre film fes­ti­val will al­low the likes of award-win­ning, short-film di­rec­tor April Phillips a chance to screen at home.

The Welling­ton di­rec­tor’s sci-fi/ fan­tasy R.E.M, about a woman who tries to help a home­less man with a ter­ri­ble gift, re­ceived rave re­views world­wide, but re­ceived lit­tle ex­po­sure in New Zealand.

That will change later this month. Ter­ror-Fi Film Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor James Par­tridge will show­case it and some of the other very best hor­ror/sci-fi films from around the world at Roxy Cinema from November 23 to 26.

Other ti­tles sched­uled to screen in­clude The Girl With All The Gifts, 68 Kill, The Vil­lai­ness, the new Daniel Rad­cliffe sur­vival thriller Jun­gle, Trench 11 and 1956 clas­sic For­bid­den Planet. One par­tic­u­lar highlight will be the screen­ing of a di­rec­tor’s cut of the now 30-year-old, much-loved Paul Ver­ho­even-di­rected ac­tioner Robo­cop. Lo­cal genre short films will play be­fore ev­ery fea­ture film to pro­mote lo­cal ma­te­rial, says Par­tridge.

‘‘I want this to be big­ger than just a fes­ti­val. What I wanted to do was re­ally help pro­mote genre film-mak­ing in New Zealand and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to film­mak­ers in New Zealand to have their con­tent seen.’’

Avalon Stu­dios has of­fered $10,000 worth of ser­vices to the best short film.

Phillips was thrilled at the idea of her and her fel­low film-mak­ers hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to screen their films – the only pre­vi­ously avail­able suit­able prom­i­nent fes­ti­vals have been the an­nual New Zealand In­ter­na­tional and Show Me Shorts fes­ti­vals.

‘‘Ide­ally, you want some­one to see and know what you’re cre­at­ing and so hav­ing your prod­uct shown at a fes­ti­val means that an au­di­ence gets to see what you’ve been do­ing,’’ Phillips said.

‘‘My films have screened at a lot of film fes­ti­vals all over the world, but not here in New Zealand.’’

R.E.M, Phillips’ lat­est and third film (the first two were Let­ter For Hope and Utu Pi­hikete) just screened at Fan­ta­sia – the largest genre film fes­ti­val in North Amer­ica. Ac­claimed film di­rec­tor Quentin Tarantino has called it ‘‘the most im­por­tant and pres­ti­gious genre film fes­ti­val on the [North Amer­i­can] con­ti­nent’’.

‘‘That was a real thrill to get se­lected for a fes­ti­val like Fan­ta­sia,’’ Philips said.

She hoped Ter­ror-Fi would at­tract in­vestors to the in­dus­try, so film-mak­ers weren’t so re­liant on gov­ern­ment fund­ing or crowd­sourc­ing. Phillips her­self has never re­ceived any fund­ing, mostly be­cause her films haven’t fit­ted cri­te­ria – de­spite the at­ten­tion they have gar­nered over­seas.

Par­tridge said genre films were com­mer­cially vi­able for film­mak­ers be­cause they can be pro­duced on a smaller bud­get and be a com­mer­cial suc­cess.

‘‘If film-mak­ers want to make a ca­reer out of film-mak­ing, some of these genre films of­fer re­ally good op­por­tu­ni­ties to make a com­mer­cial prod­uct that then gives them an in­come that they can go and make their next 10 films,’’ he said.

He hoped to of­fer sales and dis­tri­bu­tion con­nec­tions or op­por­tu­ni­ties to New Zealand film­mak­ers he has met through set­ting up the fes­ti­val.

‘‘We’ve got ev­ery el­e­ment [here needed] to make in­cred­i­ble genre films. We’ve got scenery, we’ve got all the Weta (groups) and Park Road Post [Pro­duc­tions]. We’ve got all the el­e­ments to make them stand out above all the genre films in the world and I think that’s what we’re all try­ing to en­cour­age,’’ Par­tridge said.

❚ For more info and tick­ets, see ter­ror­

In April Phillips’ R.E.M., Chris Ryan plays a home­less man with a gift that could save hu­man­ity.

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