Finding beauty in devastation video

Set in Christchurch one year after the devastating earthquakes, Sunday is a story of past devastation and a chance at rebuilding.

A film set and shot in Christchurch will make its bow this weekend.

But Sunday won't just be showing up in selected movie theatres - for the filmmakers have come up with an audacious and unique release strategy that is believed to be a world first. As well as screenings in around 20 cinemas across the nation the following day, former Christchurch resident Michelle Joy Lloyd's film will also debut on DVD and Sky's Rialto Channel that night, be available to watch as international inflight entertainment on Jetstar and Air New Zealand and viewable online on the likes of iTunes and Vimeo.

Speaking from her home in Melbourne, director, co-writer and co-producer Lloyd says the film's distribution has been like taking on a whole new project.

A TIME OF REFLECTION: Charlie (Dustin Clare) and Eve (Camille Keenan) attempt to discover if they can rebuild their ...

A TIME OF REFLECTION: Charlie (Dustin Clare) and Eve (Camille Keenan) attempt to discover if they can rebuild their relationship in the Christchurch-set movie Sunday.

"We were passionate about pushing the film out as far and wide as we can, but through a lot of reading and research we discovered one of the biggest issues facing the film industry was piracy. So we wanted to give people a choice about how and when they watch it at a fair and reasonable price."

She says the response from potential distributors has been terrific. "Apple actually approached us. I don't think we've come up with the answer to piracy but rather a response and questions. We're passionate about being transparent and we want to share our learnings with other filmmakers but what works and doesn't." 

A couple of Christchurch charities stand to benefit from a successful launch. White Ribbon and the Canterbury Family Violence Collaboration will receive $1 from every ticket sold to this weekend's screenings in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, while 10 per cent of the film's profits will go to creative urban regeneration initiative Gap Filler.

"We felt it was important to give back to Christchurch, since it inspired the film," says Lloyd.

Born of a sleepless night, Sunday was the brainchild of leading man Dustin Clare who came up with the idea of a couple who were no longer together but about to have a baby. After years of history and months of separation, they have 24 hours to find out whether they have a future together. 

After Clare took the idea to Lloyd and her husband Ryan (who acted as director of photography and a co-producer), the project hadn't been gestating long before the devastating, ongoing earthquakes in her former hometown give her an idea. "We'd felt pretty helpless watching things from afar and it was hard seeing Christchurch from afar through the eyes of the media. So we though we could come back and make something special in the city ourselves and I guess the themes of what was happening in the city [of devastation and renewal, beauty and chaos] reflected the themes we were exploring within the story."

With the support of the Christchurch City Council and Gap Filler, filming took place in the early months of 2012 in the CBD, the Botanic Gardens and Taylor's Mistake. "Getting around was difficult but we never wanted the camera to go anywhere where the people of Christchurch or visitors couldn't. We wanted the city to be like another character in the film and to show the other sides of it, the beauty that still existed, that wasn't getting much attention at that time.

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"I remember, and it was such a beautiful metaphor for what was going on in the city and our film's themes, seeing people put flowers in the roadcones as we were driving through the city on the anniversary of the February quake. I think that really embodied the destruction and the pain, but also the new life springing out of that."

For more information and screening times, see sundaythefilm.com

 - Stuff.co.nz

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