The Jaspers family, poised to shoot a scene of their short film, Home School. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ARTHUR HAWKES
arthur.hawkes@age.co.nz

No longer marking the end of the weekly commute, or the chance for a fun excursion, the weekend has become a little purposeless for a nation locked down.

But for Martinborough resident Celia Jaspers and family, one weekend in April saw an explosion of cinematic creativity and led to them scooping one of the prizes at a national short film competition.

This was 48Hours, New Zealand’s largest filmmaking contest, hosted by the Vista Foundation, which promotes the New Zealand film industry.

The rules were simple: make a short film of no more than three minutes, within the immediate surroundings of the filmmaker, using only the filmmaker’s bubble for cast and crew.

And it all had to be shot, edited, and uploaded within 48 hours.

The Jaspers’ film, which includes Mum, Dad, and stars Charlotte [8] and Earl [6], has the kids lounging around, prompted to go off on an adventure by Mum, which includes a spot of fishing, the Jaspers’ dog playfully interacting with some inquisitive cows, and a liberal dose of ambling, running, and jumping through Wairarapa’s beautiful countryside.

The film was shot by professional director Celia whose work has garnered national and international recognition.

She directs a part of the Hyundai Country Calendar, and has been involved in countless other creative projects in film and television.

There were more than 2000 entries to the competition, but only about 1200 made the deadline for delivery on Sunday night.

Tasked with whittling these down to the finalists was the judging panel, which this year included Peter Jackson, Cliff Curtis, and Elijah Wood.

“We just started knocking together our ideas, thinking ‘what do we have that other people don’t have?’ – immediately, we thought the farm would be the perfect location.

“So, Saturday morning everyone woke up, but it was raining, which wasn’t great.

“I had already written the script, and I knew how I wanted to shoot it, so it was just a matter of whether we could, and what was achievable with the kids.

“Then we went out for about six hours or so on the farm, lots of stops and starts, some tears at times.

“The kids were keen to do it, but it was a bit of a shambles!

“Then we got it home, and I started editing it. But I didn’t stay up all night!”

The film went on to win Best Family Team, along with a $300 cash prize, but Celia said her focus was primarily on having fun, getting budding actor Charlotte some more screen experience, and using all her filmmaking acumen to grapple with “a really interesting challenge”.



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