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Young film-makers seek funding

DELWYN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2013
Paloma Schneideman
PALOMA SCHNEIDEMAN: A change of direction sees a future in acting and screenwriting ahead.
Connor McKenzie
KOBUS SCHOEMAN
CONNOR MCKENZIE: Directing, production and the business side of film beckon for this Matakana film enthusiast.

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When Paloma Schneideman decided to go into law after leaving Mahurangi College a few years ago, it raised a few eyebrows.

To many of her teachers and peers, she seemed to be a natural performer, destined for something more creative.

So it's no surprise to them that Paloma has had a change of heart and is now in pre-production for a feature-length film she is co-writing and starring in.

A love of English made law look like a good option, so Paloma headed to Wellington's Victoria University for a double degree in law and the arts. But she was increasingly drawn to the film component of her arts degree.

She pulled out after a year. After a stint working at the Matakana Cinemas, where she saw plenty of independent films, she travelled overseas. She decided to follow her heart and is one year into a bachelor of performing and screen arts with Unitec in Auckland.

After completing a couple of short films - the most intense experiences of her life - the plan for a full-length feature film Division took hold, the 20-year-old says.

The film will be an almost claustrophobic piece about a couple of days in the life of a slave, played by Paloma, and her "differently abled" master.

Raising the $10,000 needed is proving challenging. Rather than facing the paperwork and uncertainty in applying for Creative New Zealand funding, Paloma and other production members are going it alone. They're working in the advertising industry to raise money and through Pledge Me.

Another Matakana film enthusiast looking to the screen as a future career is 19-year-old Connor McKenzie.

A passion for movies and film-making led to a six-month foundation course in the Performing Arts at Unitec and then an intensive year-long course at the South Seas Film, Television, Animation and Photography school in Glenfield, majoring in directing and script writing.

His first short movie Into the Void tells the poignant story of a young woman in the lead up to a dangerous space flight.

The film was partially shot at AUT's Warkworth radio telescope observatory, with the 12-metre and 30-metre telescope dishes, and the smaller dishes at Telecom's Satellite Earth Station, providing a dramatic backdrop.

With most employment in projects now contracts based, he has decided to study business to help him in the industry.

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Both films will seek runs at film festivals internationally.

Visit pledgeme.co.nz/658#rewards to help Paloma with funding.

Auckland a drawcard for multimedia

Auckland, with its diversity of natural features including the Hauraki Gulf and islands mostly within an hour of the city centre, is proving a big draw card for international feature films, television and advertising.
The screen industry nationally is worth $3 billion to the national economy and employs 15,500. Of those, 8500 work in production and post production earning $515 million.

Eighty per cent of revenue - $2.3 billion - is generated in the Auckland area, much more than the power house production going on at Miramar in Wellington with films like The Hobbit and Avatar.
Some of the big film houses who have filmed in the Auckland area include Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Columbia Pictures, and Warner Bros.

Films include The Chronicles of Narnia (partly filmed Wainui), Yogi Bear at Woodhill Forest, Mr Pip, and The Bridge to Terabithia.
Television's Spartacus: War of the Damned, Legend of the Seeker, and the Power Ranger series have included filming here.

The northern area attracts a big portion of this activity.
Last year, this included filming on Old North Rd in Helensville for feature Evil Dead and the Wilson Cement Works in Warkworth for The Emperor - both films still to be released.

Rodney has also been used in the past year for short films to international television commercials. Sites include Wenderholm, Muriwai Beach, Pakiri, Waitoki, Woodhill Forest, Dairy Flat, Puhoi, Omaha and Wellsford.
Comedian Rhys Darby's Short Poppies series, still to be screened, had scenes shot at Tawharanui.

To encourage and retain film business in the region, the Auckland Council through Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is developing the Auckland Film Protocol to encourage a film friendly attitude while keeping public and business needs in mind.

Some concerns include that offering incentives to big overseas film companies, at both regional and national levels, has been to the detriment of funding and development of the local film and TV industry and eroded the rights and living standards of local actors and production workers.

- Rodney Times

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