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Movie a ‘miracle of collaboration’

The “pure Wairarapa” cast and crew of a short film exploring the topic of financial scams hit the red carpet for its New Zealand premiere at Regent 3 Cinema in Masterton this week.

Written and directed by Gladstone-based filmmaker Juanita Deely, ‘Scammed’ is a comedy about a modern-day swindle set in a retirement village.

It was filmed over the summer in locations across Wairarapa, including the Harlequin Theatre foyer in Masterton, and made with funding from Masterton Trust Lands Trust and Carterton District Council Creative Communities Scheme.

“I didn’t know this film would be such a big journey,” said Deely, whose other credits include the 2021 Wairarapa-made film ‘Milk’.

“It’s taken thousands of hours, an ensemble cast of 20 actors, four locations, eight sets, and over one hundred costume changes.

“It is a miracle of collaboration.”

Speaking in front of an audience of over 60 people, Deely paid special tribute to cinematographer Terry Wreford-Hann from Greytown, who shot the film entirely on an iPhone 15 Pro Max in three days.

“Every frame tells a story,” she said.

“In this day and age, so many movies that directors have made are shown on TV screens, computers, and little phones. But nothing compares to one of Terry’s close-ups on the big screen.”

“The technology these days is unbelievably amazing,” Wreford-Hann said. “The simple cell phone has come so far that it can deliver cinema quality.”

Nevertheless, he admitted to some nerves before the screening.

“I was nervous to see the quality of cell phone footage blown up for that sort of size – because that is a very big screen,” Wreford-Hann said.

“But it looked sharp as a tack, and the colour was good.”

There were also some nerves ahead of the screening among some of the 20-strong cast of locally-sourced actors who came to see the premiere.

“I’m going to try and think, ‘That’s not me up there, that’s my character’,” said Marilyn Bouzaid, who played Beatrice, the victim of the scam at the heart of the film.

“I’m a little bit excited,” actor Corinne Graham said. “But I think I’m going to be very embarrassed when I actually see it on screen.”

“This film was so worth being a part of,” said Auriga Martin, one of the film’s producers.

“It is the positive antidote that we need in this day and age and perfectly reflects what community and connection bring when people work together to make a greater mission come alive.”

Charlotte Harding – described by Martin as the film’s “producer, line producer, caterer, coordinator and fund manager” – agreed.

“It takes a village to make a film. Actually, it takes a region.”

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