Film duo switch from 'bro' humour to romantic comedy

CHELSEA ARMITAGE
Last updated 05:00 11/08/2014

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A Hamilton duo who recently returned home after touring the United States with their short comedy film has two more exciting projects ahead.

Scott Granville and Ben Woollen have been making short and feature films together for six years, after sparking up a partnership and forming Chasing Time Productions in 2008.

The duo's ninth film Serve and Protect was accepted into 15 international festivals, winning the 2014 Audience Choice Award at the High Desert International Film Festival in Nevada. It was also "audience choice" at last year's Show Me Shorts Film Festival, the only Academy Awards accredited festival in New Zealand.

"It was incredible to win audience choice.

"The hardest thing about making films is trying to get them seen by other people," said 37-year-old Granville.

The pair usually share the directing, writing and producing but for one of their next ventures, feature-length comedy Happy as Larry, some fresh talent has come on board.

The film is in its development stages with comedic guidance from Sydney-based "comedy guru" Tim Ferguson, said Granville, who is an English language tutor and academic adviser at Wintec.

"He's helping us to make it more of a romantic comedy rather than a ‘bro' comedy," he said. "But we still want to retain our own humour."

The film gained support from the New Zealand Film Commission after receiving a grant through its First Writers Initiative.

"We definitely self-fund things like touring overseas festivals," said Woollen, who is the head of the video department at MEA Mobile.

"But we also get a bit of support from the Hamilton Community Arts Council and the New Zealand Film Commission."

Woollen, 36, said New Zealand has a lot of benefits and drawbacks to independent filmmaking, because it has more creative people in a smaller area but fewer platforms.

Chasing Time Productions' second venture this year is a short film in collaboration with Wintec, which explores the experiences of permanent resident refugees in Hamilton.

"It's from the time they arrive in New Zealand, so we don't focus on the political side behind things," said Granville.

He said the film explores their struggles in a poetic way.

Although the men are often busy with their day jobs, the pair insist "there's always time" for filmmaking.

Granville is also finishing his second children's book called Charles the Magnificent Pony.

*Chelsea Armitage is a communications student at AUT.

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