Kurow GP wins short film award

Kurow GP David Whittet has found international fame with an award for a short film he made himself.

Dr David Whittet's Amiri and Aroha won an award of merit in the Best Shorts competition, an international independent film makers' competition organised in the United States.

His film, set in the present day, tells the story of two gangland cousins who are pledged to each other as children.

It had started off as a Maori take on Romeo and Juliet but had moved quite far from that, Dr Whittet said.

The film took just over a year to complete, including script writing, and was shot near Gisborne over three months.

Dr Whittet said he had been fortunate to have had a three-month break, which he used to direct and shoot the film before becoming a GP in Kurow.

His film has also been entered in film festivals in Melbourne, London and Switzerland.

Dr Whittet said he expected to hear the results later in the year.

He said he had been interested in film making since his first trip to the cinema as a teenager, where he saw Lawrence of Arabia.

He described the experience as "mind-blowing", and it was enough to inspire him to purchase his own Super 8 camera from a market stall.

Since then he has made 20 to 30 films, but he said that Amiri and Aroha was his first in some years.

Dr Whittet said he now planned to start making a film a year.

Amiri and Aroha could also be adapted into a novel.

The Timaru Herald