Poignant script given life at last

20:00, Apr 04 2013
SENSES AND SENSIBILITY: Kapiti film-maker Linda Niccol.

A poignant love story seven years in the making has finally been filmed at Wellington's Botanic Gardens.

Kapiti scriptwriter Linda Niccol won the Kaos Films British Short Screenplay Award in 2006 for the script of The Handkerchief, which tells the story of a blind man's search for love while relying on his other senses.

Ms Niccol, the co-writer of acclaimed 2010 movie Second-Hand Wedding, battled unsuccessfully for seven years to secure funding from the New Zealand Film Commission for the project.

She finally raised enough money through other means to shoot the film among the roses and greenery at the Botanic Gardens this month.

The main character in the film, Alistair (played by Luke Hawker), relies on his memory and imagination to charm and seduce the beguiling June, whom he gathers from his other senses is blonde. He even determines what she had for breakfast.

"We tend to marginalise people with disabilities. Instead of being labelled disabled, Alistair's heightened sense of hearing means he has a job as a sound engineer, an expert in his field," Ms Niccol says.She describes the movie as a "moving and romantic film for the big screen".


"We want to captivate audiences and shed light on seeing things from a blind person's perspective, as well as creating empathy with the worlds such people must create for themselves to overcome a sad disability, especially when it comes to finding love."

Ms Niccol says finally shooting the film was quite emotional after the long wait to get the project rolling.

A bid to use the Pledge Me crowd-funding website to raise funds fell over when supporters' donations fell short of the target amount, and the $20,000 pledged did not have to be paid.

Ms Niccol managed to secure other funding that allowed filming to go ahead – including a substantial donation from Ecoya home fragrances. There is reference in the film to the link between Ecoya scented candles and room fragrances, and heightened senses.

Still needing $10,000 to complete post-production work on the film, Ms Niccol has set up another Pledge Me account, this time intending to raise $7000 by Monday.


Learn more about Ms Niccol's project at https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/824

The Dominion Post