Anthony Bennett's Tropfest film features child-like wonder and a nightmare vision

My Little Brother, directed by Anthony Bennett, stars little Laurence Bennett.
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My Little Brother, directed by Anthony Bennett, stars little Laurence Bennett.

Anthony Bennett's latest short film looks at the world through the eyes of a child.

"I wanted to try something different," Bennett says.

"Our own personal experience of storytelling really begins at childhood.

Tropfest is held every February at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth.
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Tropfest is held every February at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth.

"It's that magical discovery and refreshing innocence that we tend to forget as we get older, with the stresses and strains of our everyday lives.

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"I think everyone needs to go back to that place in their minds, regardless of how old you are."

The Taranaki man's creation, My Little Brother, is one of 16 films to make it to the finals of Tropfest New Zealand.

Bennett said his film had a budget of $100, it was shot at his New Plymouth home and it took three months to produce.

Starring his two sons William and Laurence, the film is a young boy's story of his little brother, the scary internet and a nightmare vision.

It plays on childish innocence and captures some very modern and grown up topics, Bennett said.

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"It's got some real inspiration from my youngest son, who learns things very quickly, which is quite frightening at times.

"I've also drawn on my eldest son's great love for books and fascination with stories.

"He became so obsessed with the Battle of the Mountains book last year that it influenced a family trip to Taupo. We ended up having to drive around and track down all the mountains in the story.

"If you can go back to your childhood and capture that innocent magic in a unique way that draws in an audience, then I think it's a great place to build from."

My Little Brother is the fifth Taranaki film to make it to the finals of Tropfest New Zealand since the event launched in 2013.

Two Taranaki films, Cappucino Tango and Back o' the Bus have gone on to claim the national title, with the directors winning trips to Los Angeles and $10,000 in cash.

"I'm really looking forward to how the film is received at Tropfest. You never really know how a large audience will react and sometimes that gives you the greatest buzz as a filmmaker," Bennett said.

Bennett is no stranger to filmmaking, and before he moved to New Zealand from London in 2015 he had already earned a collection of international award nominations for his works.

Also, in 2006 one of his films was given the gong of being the Best Experimental Film at the ECU International Film Festival in France.

* The Tropfest New Zealand finals are on at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, Saturday February 18, gates upon at 4pm and entry is free.

 - Stuff

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