Foreign star for city film
A short film set in Manawatū and Rangītikei is wrapping up its shooting schedule.
For one of the movie’s final scenes, Palmerston North’s Hokowhitu Bowling Club rooms have become a film set.
Upstream, a film by Portuguese migrant Adriana Martins da Silva, is a community project, and bowling club members are extras behind the bar and sitting at tables.
At one end of the smokey room, courtesy of a smoke machine, musician Paul Urbana Jones is playing guitar.
The film’s leads New Zealand singer and actor Whirimako Black and Portugal’s Joana Brandão are talking at one of the tables.
Brandão has come half way round the world for less than two weeks filming.
She has taken time off from her role as a biologist in the Portuguese soap Espelho D’Agua or Water Mirror.
Brandao was in da Silva’s film Alingua ( Tongue), and her 2012 O Cheiro das Velas ( The Smell of Candles), which won, among other accolades, Best Portuguese Short Film 2013, and for Brandao Best Actress in a Short Film.
This year Brandão was awarded the Portuguese Society of Authors Award for Best Actress.
In Upstream she plays Mariana, a recent arrival to New Zealand from Portugal who is befriended by Tūī, her next door neighbour and traditional Māori weaver, played by Black.
Mariana is pregnant and Brandão is wearing a prosthetic pregnancy bump under her dress.
‘‘A lot of young adults left Portugal after the financial crisis, and Adriana was one of them,’’ Brandão said.
‘‘I told her that she has to bring me to New Zealand to make a film.
‘‘I challenged her to talk about her feelings about being in another country, the loneliness, distance from family, the food, and she says ‘OK, OK’, and it’s a joke [between us].
‘‘And then she says she has a script and ‘let’s do it’.’’
da Silva, who has worked as a radiographer in Palmerston North since her 2014 arrival in New Zealand, successfully applied for an Earle Creativity and Development Trust grant to make the film, co-written by Massey University Spanish lecturer Leonel Alvarado.
She has made it a community project, incorporating film professionals from Wellington, Palmerston North and Portugal, and involving partnerships with Rangitāne and local businesses. ‘‘It’s awesome. ‘‘She has moved everyone together and made it all possible.
There are so many people from the community involved in this project, it’s amazing,’’ Brandão said.
Portuguese actor Joana Brandao, director Adriana Martins da Silva, Paul Urbana Jones and Whirimako Black.