Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

He didn't win a movie-making competition - so he made his film anyway

When the credits roll at the end of his new movie, Christian Nicolson's name will feature heavily.

"I co-wrote the movie. I became the producer, I was the director, I ended up being the lead actor, I was the art director and the editor," the Auckland resident says.

"Anything that had to be done had to be done by someone, and that someone was usually me."

That's not all: the Torbay artist and one-man film-making dynamo also built all of the props for his low budget sci-fi movie including costumes, helmets, guns and a giant space ship.

He spent weeks scouring his neighbourhood inorganic collections for scrap metal that might be useful.

"I really enjoyed it. I'd drive around looking for anything silver, like lamp shades, silver ducting, old hair dryers and vacuum cleaners."

The film, which Nicolson calls "a labour of love", was pieced together over four years, with Nicolson calling in favours from family and friends.

"Everyone was chipping in, as well as lots of people I didn't know. I was constantly asking for something, but most people were pretty keen," he says. "A lot of people are in several roles and that's part of the humour. Some extras die and come back to life. It's a Monty Python approach."

The results of four years of work, This Giant Papier Mache Boulder is Actually Really Heavy follows three geeks who find themselves stuck inside a B-grade film battling an evil race of aliens.


The Official Trailer for This Giant Papier Mache Boulder is Actually Really Heavy from Little Hero Pictures on Vimeo.

It was funded through sales of Nicolson's art, with the film's total budget sitting around $100,000 a minuscule amount compared to big budget blockbusters.

But it's already been well received, winning best comedy awards at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival and Sci-Fi London.

And it's having its first New Zealand screening this weekend, with the film's cast and crew walking the red carpet at Mt Eden's Crystal Palace.

Despite the lack of money and long creation time, Nicolson hasn't been deterred from chasing his film-making dreams.

In fact, he has a sequel planned.

"The movie is as good as I'd hoped. It's much more than what I imagined."

Film premiere

Who: First-time film-maker Christian Nicolson

What: Debut film This Giant Papier Mache Boulder is Actually Really Heavy

Screening: At the Crystal Palace Theatre in Auckland this Saturday at 7.45pm

- NZ Herald

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