THE stories of the past could make Justin Gush a star of the future.
The 27-year-old Wanganui man is moving up after the film he directed came second in a nationwide competition.
But yesterday he was in front of the camera, telling his story to a travelling television troupe.
Mr Gush is one of several local people who will appear on I Am TV, a homegrown programme showcasing young talent.
Presenters Olly Coddington and Candice Davis were in town to take in everything from rowing teams to dance troupes for the Wanganui-centric episode, which will screen next month.
Mr Gush, who caught up with Mr Coddington and Ms Davis in his old home town of Ratana, finished second when he entered his short film about Vietnam in a Maori TV competition for aspiring directors.
He is hoping to turn it into a full-length documentary with the help of his Te Atawhai o te Ao team, adding it to his existing oeuvre of four films.
Health, well-being and storytelling are Mr Gush's inspirations.
"I'm about kaupapa Maori stuff, and about getting information to our community to make them more aware about issues that are not commonly spoken about."
He doesn't know why filmmaking took his fancy, but remembers linking up with a friend to make their first efforts using nothing more than a camera and computer. Now, he sees the medium as an ideal way to share stories and experiences.
"All I did was pick up a camera, really, and started to make films of my mates skateboarding.
"That was my start."
Mr Coddington, who co-hosts I Am TV, said Mr Gush's success was what the programme hoped to showcase.
"We want to put people like him on screen, where our young people are doing something positive."
Fellow presenter Ms Davis had already travelled from Rangitoto to the South Island to track down New Zealand's best and brightest.
"We like to go to different communities and find as much youth around the area to talk to as we can. We just talk about what they do, and get them to tell us their stories."
I Am TV plays on Tv at 10am on Saturdays. Wanganui will feature in the July 12 episode.