Stuff short film season: Signing Off

Last updated 12:14 28/09/2012

Welcome to Stuff's short film season 2012. After a successful run last year, we have again teamed up with the NZ Film Commission and NZ On Screen to showcase the country's film making talents.

Many film makers have started out with short films before breaking into feature films.

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But shorts are an art form that mustn't hide behind feature length productions. Over the next weeks we will present some of the country's best short films on Stuff and introduce you to the film makers, so check back next week.

First up is a classic: Signing Off, shot in 1996, launched director Rob Sakries career. He went on to make Scarfies, Out of The Blue and most recently Two Little Boys, featuring Bret McKenzie and Hamish Blake, which opened in cinemas last week.  

We asked him five questions:

Tell us about you - how did you get into making short films?

I got into making short films by making short films for TV's 'Spot On' film competition with my friends when I was at school.  Once I left school I kept making them and the success of 'Signing Off' gave me a launching pad into my first feature.

Why did you pick this story? What is it about?

I was interested in older people when I wrote this.  Particularly in the way society seems to dismiss people once they reach retirement age.  At its heart this is a simple story about our need to be appreciated - even if only by one person.

How long did you work on the film? What were the greatest challenges?

Our fantastic Dunedin crew shot for 3-4 weeks and the epic adventure our character goes on made for many challenges - including filming in water tanks, creating an explosion on a budget  and generally putting our lead actor David Corballis through hell.  He was very good about it though.

What is your favourite memory of this film?

Screening it for the first time at the Wellington Fringe Festival - having finished it only hours before - and hearing a full house at the Paramount lose themselves with laughter.  Suddenly all the long hours and the debt we'd incurred to make it felt worthwhile.

What do you know now that you wish you knew back then?

I know that you should hire professionals to do your explosions and not let your pyro friends fill balloons with LPG and just light them.  We got the shot and no one was hurt but don't try this at home kids.   

- Stuff

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