Getting into the industry of your dreams can be hard for anyone, let alone an industry known to be as merciless as Hollywood.

But this is not stopping Kāpiti's Mason Cade Packer, who is embarking on his third feature film at just 20.

After attending Raumati Beach School and Kāpiti College, Packer left school early to pursue a Bachelor of Film and Television Production degree at the New Zealand Broadcasting School.

You need to spend significant time in the US before you can join their film workers unions and begin to direct at studio film level in Hollywood.

Making films since he was 13, Packer has finished over 25 short film projects, music videos, documentaries, podcasts and is now focusing on feature films.

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Being accepted in the film programme at Columbia College Chicago, Packer is aiming to break into the Hollywood film industry.

"You need to spend significant time in the US before you can join their film workers unions and begin to direct at studio film level in Hollywood," he said.

"I'm very much here for the long run."

Now onto his third feature-length film with his partner Micah Winiata, who is also from New Zealand, under the umbrella of their Free Chicken company, Packer is embarking on his biggest project yet — a two-hour feature thriller called Hades.

Hades is due to be released in New Zealand and the United States next year.
Hades is due to be released in New Zealand and the United States next year.

Hades

follows a family of four, led by an overbearing father during the modern return of the deadly bubonic plague.

Crafted for mature audiences, the heavy and emotional drama-thriller focuses on a family succumbing to the pressure of a failing society during a pandemic.

It focuses on Ameer, an American college drop-out recovering from a collapsed lung, who is locked away by his father Hudson at fear of being infected in a world overrun by the modern plague.

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"The move up to crafting feature-length work was surprisingly natural for me.

"I've found it a lot more natural to write and direct feature films as it's what we all watch.

"Not many people tend to go out of their watch to watch short films. I like to think of shorts as the training ground."

Packer started his partnership with Winiata when they were studying together at broadcasting school.

Entering the HP48 Hour Film Festival and taking out five major awards in Christchurch for Split Sibling Decision in 2017 including best film, best director and best cinematography, they made their first feature Faint of Heart as co-directors.

The pair are currently in the process of selling the film to local New Zealand streaming services and film channels.

Also on Packers discography is The Common Touch, the story about Christchurch Boys High School cancer survivor and viral sensation Jake Bailey.

The documentary was selected for the Oscar-qualifying documentary festival Doc Edge and premiered in Wellington and Auckland to great audience reactions.

"Born from my twisted mind, Hades is not your traditional end-of-the-world story."

To get the project off the ground Mason is using crowdfunding structure Boosted, aiming to raise $10,000.

"It's going to be challenging to shoot it for such little money.

"Micah and I are in the micro-budget industry where we're spending $2000-$10,000 on projects that would usually cost upwards of $100,000 over here in the US."

Using Kiwi ingenuity and 'kiwiana hustle' Packer and Winiata are working to achieve their funding goals.

"We're achieving the same level of production value as our US counterparts because of our kiwiana hustle, but for Hades we're really looking for help from the Kāpiti community.

"A multitude of small donations would make Hades a reality and would bring two Kiwi filmmakers closer to achieving our dreams."

To support Packer and Free Chicken create Hades visit thier boosted page here.