DIY low budget sci-fi film showcases north Auckland

Film director and artist Christian Nicolson hangs out in his prop and costume container.
Matthew Cattin/Stuff

Film director and artist Christian Nicolson hangs out in his prop and costume container.

Rodney District's otherworldly landscapes have scored a starring role in a Kiwi director's low budget sci-fi adventure.

Directed by Torbay's Christian Nicolson, This Giant Papier Mache Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy follows a trio of lads sucked into a parallel universe of B-Grade sci-fi.

The DIY comedy has generated big buzz in the sci-fi community since its premiere in Boston last year, and won a handful of international film awards.

This Giant Papier Mache Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy was made on the low budget of $100,000.
Matthew Cattin/Stuff

This Giant Papier Mache Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy was made on the low budget of $100,000.

READ MORE
*Guns and gumboots down on the farm as sci-fi action movie comes to life
*Steampunk sci-fi film needs funds

Having enjoyed a run on the festival circuit, Nicolson will now bring the DIY comedy to Matakana for a single screening and Q&A on October 24.

The spaceship model used in the movie This Giant Papier Mache Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy.
Matthew Cattin/Stuff

The spaceship model used in the movie This Giant Papier Mache Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy.

In production for five years, the film was shot entirely around Auckland, with scenes captured at the Matakana Quarry and Warkworth's abandoned cement works.

Nicolson said the dramatic locations make the $100,000 film feel higher budget.

"The locations were really important because we had no money, and I wanted to give it a really grand, epic, big budget feel, because it's a big story," Nicolson said.

Receiving no funding from the New Zealand Film Commission or "rich people", Nicolson's movie was entirely self funded, and relied on a lot of volunteer work - including that of wife Kirianne who worked on costumes.

Ad Feedback

As the film's aesthetic was deliberately budget, it gave Nicolson and his team free reign to create an imaginative world without breaking the bank.

Inspired by the likes of Star Trek, Doctor Who and Blake's 7, Nicolson used recycled rubbish such as light bulbs, gas heaters and grease guns to build costumes and props.

With no previous experience in feature filmmaking, the artist and sculptor says it was a matter of "adapting, figuring stuff out", and Googling how to make explosions.

The low budget also meant Nicolson filled the roles of producer, actor, editor, location scout, co-writer, art director and set and prop design.

Having so many roles, however, made it hard to stick to the scheduled deadlines.

"There's only so much you can do - you can't do it all at once," Nicolson said.

Nicolson says plans for a sequel or TV show are in the works, and a container full of props and costumes remains outside his home.

 - Rodney Times

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback