Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Movie-maker seeks funding for kids' drama in Tauranga

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Wayne Turner is seeking funding to film a children's drama series in Tauranga.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Wayne Turner is seeking funding to film a children's drama series in Tauranga.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

An award-winning film director has returned home to Tauranga for his next big project - but is asking for help to make it happen.

Wayne Turner has been back in the city for 12 months and working on a drama series aimed at 10- to 12-year-old children.

The series is named Chariot Club and follows the adventures and activities of three girls involved in a pony club.

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Mr Turner said it would likely be filmed in rural locations at Pyes Pa or in the Kaimai Range.

The film-maker says he already has most things taken care of including the equipment, a script and local child actors doing read-throughs.

All he needs now is between $10,000 and $15,000 to help make the first episode.

Mr Turner said he hoped to get the rest of the money needed to film the complete series from NZ on Air, which required a pilot episode filmed as part of its application process. He would also be approaching Creative Tauranga in the next few days, he said.

It's a pony club scenario with child actors and a rural setting and things happen where they have to go and solve those problems by themselves. It's very practical.
Wayne Turner

"It's a pony club scenario with child actors and a rural setting and things happen where they have to go and solve those problems by themselves. It's very practical."

The series would likely be web-based rather than on television, Mr Turner said. "There has been massive change in media over the years because of the internet.

"The first few years, I was just thinking this is a great television series. Kids sit down in front of the telly at 3.30pm and it would be perfect," the director said.

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"But as I was making contact with broadcasters, they were falling over and laying off staff. They were no longer really invested in children's programmes so what has happened is I've become more interested in web series and web-based drama."

Web-based series tend to run about 15 minutes, in contrast with a standard 30-minute television show, and offer more flexibility for children to view the show when they want to.

"Kids going and sitting down at 3.30pm in front of the TV has become antiquated. Kids don't do that any more," Mr Turner said.

The series would "go back to basics" and offer wholesome, quality viewing for children, he said.

"There's too much animation being palmed off as children's entertainment.

"It's not New Zealand faces or New Zealand accents. It's often very violent. There is a need for live-action drama."

Mr Turner was born and bred in Tauranga but moved to Wellington before returning to the Bay a year ago.

His portfolio includes Lexi The Movie which won a platinum award at the International Film Festival for Women, Social Issues and Zero Discrimination Film Festival, Indonesia.

Mr Turner, who is a member of the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ and Bay of Plenty Film, said Tauranga was not traditionally a city rich in film-making but he was keen to help turn the tide, with help.

"For a place like Tauranga, if they want films to be made here, somewhere along the line there needs to be that financial support."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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