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Wairarapa Film Festival rolls into Carterton

High Street Carterton, featuring the Regent Theatre circa 1940s. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED


After a successful programme of events at Regent 3 Cinemas in May, Wairarapa Film Festival will now debut at the Carterton Events Centre as part of the Heart of Winter festival.

Carterton will have a unique programme of events including a photographic exhibition, the premiere of a Wairarapa film, and a film-makers workshop.

Our Cinemas | A Photographic Exhibition is on display in the foyer from July 9-18. The exhibition showcases images of some of Wairarapa’s earliest cinemas, supplied by the Wairarapa Archive and the Carterton District Historical of some of our earliest local cinemas.

Festival director Jane Ross said the curated collection included an interior shot of the Regent Milk Bar, dated Christmas 1945, and an exterior shot of the Regent Theatre, circa 1940s.

“We even found a copy of a programme from December 1963 and it really highlights the importance of this local theatre within the community as it was operational Monday to Saturday with evening screenings and an additional Saturday matinee.

The programme was advertised daily in the Wellington Dominion and the Wairarapa Times-Age newspapers and offered an array of films,” Ross said.

The festival rolls out the red carpet for a triple-bill movie night on July 17, offering a programme of short animations and a short film, followed by a special feature film, partially shot in Carterton in 2020.

Lifeswap [2013-2021].
The first two animated shorts to screen are from the cult-hit Lifeswap, a series of short animated Skype conversations between two young men, Jorg, from Munster, Germany, and Duncan, 27, from Wellington, New Zealand.

Lifeswap was created by William Connor [writer] and Steffen Kreft [animator] who are based in Wairarapa, who fondly refer to their project as “the dance between the jandal and the Birkenstock”. The final two episodes will screen with a special introduction from the co-creators and representatives of the Goethe-Institut, which has supported the series from its inception.

Short film The Grocer’s Apprentice [1997] was written and directed by Sebastian Doyle, a former student of Rathkeale College. The film’s story is based on a classic poem by Goethe, and retells The Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence from the Disney classic Fantasia [1940]. The film had international and was nominated for Best Short Film at the Nokia Film Awards in 1998.

Pipi Reisch of Sunset Cinema Carterton worked on this film as an animation assistant in 1997. Reisch had nothing but love and admiration for the filmmaking process.

“This short film was over a year in the making and is a showcase of incredible stop-motion animation.”

The Grocer’s Apprentice [1997].
Reisch will discuss the importance of short film as a training ground for aspiring local filmmakers.

Two Idiots and a Tin Whistle [2021] is the feature film of the night. Shot in Porirua and Carterton, this hilarious and heart-warming mockumentary follows two warring recorder players, Giovani [God’s gift to music] and Freddie [a rockstar wannabe], as well as Belle [Giovani’s biggest fan], Cledius [a goat-loving farmer who plays the banjo], and Alex [a piano player who has her eye on the prize] as they compete for a scholarship to a prestigious music academy.

Special guests at the Wairarapa Film Premiere Night include the film’s co-creators Jason Ellis and Eli Hill.

Hill was a reporter for the Wairarapa Times-Age and editor of the Wairarapa Midweek at the time he was making this film. He said it had been a massive task to get the film completed – particularly through the lockdowns.

“But we managed it, it’s really just a testament to the dedication of the team that gathered around this project.”

Ellis said it was probably the most challenging thing he’s ever done.

Two Idiots and a Tin Whistle [2021].
“But I would do it again in a heartbeat just to work with everyone again, in fact we’re already working on a few different projects to get the band back together.”

Ellis and Hill would also host a film-makers workshop on July 18 at the Rangatahi Hub in the events centre, sharing their knowledge of self-funding films in New Zealand.

Ross was excited to host the Wairarapa premiere of Two Idiots and a Tin Whistle.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to show our support for local film making. Our audience will love seeing familiar faces and locations on the big screen at the Carterton Events Centre.”

  • For more information about the Wairarapa Film Festival visit: waifilmfest.co.nz

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