Actor backs film contest

The actor who played one of JRR Tolkein's smallest characters has a big message for Waikato's young amateur film-makers.

John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli in Sir Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Sallah in the Indiana Jones films, recorded the video message to encourage young film-makers to get behind the camera for the V48 Hours competition in Hamilton.

"Some of the winners have gone on to make significant television and major films," the Welsh-born actor, now based at Te Kauwhata, said in the video posted on Hamilton competition manager Paul Barlow's YouTube page.

"So why don't you grab a camera, register now, and see what a frantic 48 hours can do to change your life?"

Mr Barlow said competition entrants had 48 hours to make a short film which must contain four random elements and be made in a given genre, such as documentary, thriller or romantic comedy.

"I do it because I love seeing what our local film-makers can come up with," Mr Barlow said.

To date, his favourite film is Brazil, a 1985 science fiction fantasy/black comedy film directed by Monty Python star Terry Gilliam.

"It's got a little bit of Monty Python in it. It's very dark and there's a little bit of 1984 in it."

The competition usually attracts about 100 local teams, who compete for the national title.

Last year's Grand National Winner was team Grand Cheval (Waikato University students Tom Furniss, David Boden and Cam Neate) with mock documentary Child Jumpers.

They are now etching out a career in corporate video production.

Registration for the competition closes on May 10 and Waikato winners will receive a Canon EOS 60D camera worth $1649, with larger prizes for national winners.

Sponsors include the New Zealand Film Commission and Jackson's Wingnut Films.

See for more information.

Waikato Times