A low-budget New Zealand film written in two weeks and filmed in 17 days in a new initiative by groups including the New Zealand Herald had its Auckland debut last night at the New Zealand Film Festival.

How to Meet Girls From a Distance, created by a Wellington team of budding filmmakers, is a romantic-comedy about a man searching for love in all the wrong ways. Going through rubbish bins may or may not be involved.

It won the Make My Movie competition, an initiative from the New Zealand Herald, the New Zealand Film Commission, NZOnAir and V48Hours organiser Ant Timpson, that saw anyone with a good idea pitch to get funding to turn that idea for a movie into reality.

With the tagline, "Get to know her, then meet her", the "peeping Tom rom-com" movie follows Toby, a 30-something guy who stalks future partners, gathering as much information about them as he can so he can turn himself into the man of their dreams.


The Herald's TimeOut section called it a "kooky, whimsical film about whether the ends justify the means when it comes to finding love."

Wellington team Traces Of Nut, including Dean Hewison, Richard Falkner and Ruth Korver won the inaugural competition back in January then worked to create the film which screened last week as part of the NZ Film Festival in Wellington.

The Make My Movie competition saw filmmakers pitch for $100,000 provided by the Digital Content Partnership of NZOnAir and the New Zealand Film Commission.

Timpson and nzherald.co.nz entertainment editor Hugh Sundae then provided advice and captured all the development in regular webisodes which ran on nzherald.co.nz.

"I would recommend [Make My Movie] to people as a crash course in feature film-making for sure," Hewison told TimeOut.

"I'm hopeful that if the film does well then I might not need to put myself through that sort of intensity again, but basically within six months we went from having an idea, to watching a film with 400 people in a theatre at the film festival, so it was definitely worth it."

Sundae said it was written in two weeks, filmed in 17 days, and edited in one month.

"Despite all this the film was accepted by Bill Gosden to screen at the NZ Film Festival. Bill has a reputation for programming films by merit regardless of their origin, and this is reinforced by the fact it has been programmed not just in Auckland and Wellington, but a range of other screenings around the country."

The nzherald.co.nz web series on the making of the movie has now almost 100 minutes of footage capturing the highs and lows of the process.

Watch the webisodes below:
* Make My Movie Webisode 1: Calling All
* Make My Movie Webisode 2: The Next Chapter
* Make My Movie Webisode 3: Austintacious
* Make My Movie Webisode 4: The Cull
* Make My Movie Webisode 5: Marketing My Movie
* Make My Movie Webisode 6: And Then There Was Two (+2)
* Make My Movie webisode 7: Welcome To Wellywood
* Make My Movie: Webisode 8, Casting Couch
* Make My Movie: Webisode 9, Countdown to chaos
* Make My Movie: Webisode 10, Aaaaaaand action
* Make My Movie: Webisode 11, That's A Wrap
*Make My Movie: Webisode 12, Quest For The Fest