The inaugural Puanga Pictures film festival get underway on Friday evening with the feature Great Maiden's Blush.

The festival is a joint initiative by Helen Marie O'Connell of the Whanganui Film Society, and photographer Tia Huia Ranginui, both of whom have backgrounds in the film and cinema industry.

The festival is about celebrating contemporary local, Maori and New Zealand cinema.

The festival received funding from Whanganui District creative communities and is supported by the Whanganui Film Society, Double Farley and the Wairoa Maori Film Festival.


Miss O'Connell said there was a need for such a festival in Whanganui.

"Quite a few people had contacted me with short films and asked if we could screen them but I didn't want to screen them at the film society because that was members only," she said. "We wanted it to be open to anyone."

While there are no pre-sales, Miss O'Connell expected a successful weekend, with the final preparations completed this week.

"A lot of people are interested in being involved which is a good sign. That's a good indication that people are going to come.

"Hopefully this year is successful and we get ideas about how to expand it in the future."

"I think the local shorts have the most interest because people want to see themselves on screen."

She hoped the festival would bring local people interested in film together to spark creative ideas.

"It would be good to draw all the film people out of the woodwork because there are a lot of people who have made films in the past or work in films and have skills."

The three days festival comprises feature films and programmes of shorts held at the Concert Chamber at the War Memorial Centre along with film makers sessions held at Double Farley on Watt St.

Admission to the Kia Ora shorts and local shorts programmes, and Sunday's filmmakers sessions, is by koha, with the feature films Great Maiden's Blush and Orphans & Kingdoms $10 each.

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