Masterton film-makers get $10K grant

By Emily Norman emily.norman@age.co.nz -
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Jonathan Watt, left, working on a UFO mockumentary mini-series in Masterton for a NZ On Air funding application. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Jonathan Watt, left, working on a UFO mockumentary mini-series in Masterton for a NZ On Air funding application. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

The New Zealand Film Commission granted two Masterton filmmakers $10,000 to bring to life their short film called Stranger.

The 15-minute film is written and directed by Rathkeale College old boys Kieran Charnock and Jonathan Watt who never attended film school but have been making films together since they were 13 years old.

The duo, who are in their early 20s, are now based in Wellington and will begin filming Stranger in March.

"Stranger is about a father who becomes disfigured in a work accident and his 5-year-old son doesn't recognise him anymore," Mr Charnock said.

"It's about them struggling to reconnect without the use of appearances. So the film is all about the underlying bond between people."

The funding was granted to the budding filmmakers as part of the Fresh Shorts Programme run by the New Zealand Film Commission.

"The application process for Fresh Shorts is really in depth," Mr Charnock said.

"Not only do you need a developed script, but you need to convey why you want to create the film, what your vision is, who your team is, how you plan to film it, story boards, all of that.

"It really makes you think about what the film is that you are making and what you want to say with it."

Mr Charnock hopes once their film is finished that it will be submitted to national and international film festivals by July next year.

He said there have been many more projects in the works, including a Masterton-based television series he and Mr Watt have already written, but are seeking funding for.

"We want to one day make a series we've written, based in Masterton," Mr Charnock said. "We've written it all and we have to get funding for that one day. It follows a group called the Masterton Extraterrestrial Investigation Society.

"It's a comedic documentary on this rural UFO group who are followed by a film crew for six weeks leading up to when their society's president believes aliens will land.

"So we're working towards filming that in Masterton, but we need a bit more funding for that one."

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