Last year Script to Screen worked closely with the Whirinaki community to design a storytelling workshop where the outcome would be making a short film together.
The workshop was aimed at rangatahi aged 16-25, along with their teachers, community leaders and whanau. It took place in July 2016 over three days at Matai Aranui Marae in Whirinaki, and provided rangatahi from the Far North region a safe and creative space to write and develop their short ideas into compelling outlines. With access to talented screenwriting mentor Michael Bennett, the workshop fostered and encouraged a huge step forward for these Northland storytellers. On the second day participants had the chance to share their stories, and receive feedback. A judging panel chose one idea for the group to make together as a community short film.
The idea chosen was called NATALIE, by 16-year-old Northland College student Qianna Titore. Mentor Michael Bennett spent 6 hours guiding Qianna as she wrote a 9 page script for the film. The workshop ended with a read through of the script, performed by participants of the workshop Jo and Julina Wikaira – who were later cast as Natalie and Natalie’s mum.
The workshop participants came back together at Matai Aranui Marae ten days after the writing workshop, to shoot Qianna’s short film NATALIE in three days. Script to Screen brought heads of department from Auckland and Northland to mentor the novice filmmakers in the crew roles like camera, clapper loader, continuity, art department, lighting, grip, sound recording, acting, and catering. Mentors included esteemed writer/director Michael Bennnett, one of NZ’s most reputed cinematographers Leon Narbey and grip Annie Frear.
All the participants worked incredibly hard over the three days, with the rushes being assembled in the evenings, allowing a rough cut to be screened at the wrap party. The process of making a short film from start to finish in only two weeks was a massive learning curve for the whole team, and the community were very proud to have made their first film. The mentors were thrilled to be part of a community-minded project, fuelled on generosity and heart.