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Wairarapa delivers ‘wealth of talent’ for local film project

The “ambitious three-day shoot” of a local short film described by its director as a “pure Wairarapa” project has wrapped and is now on to its next production phase.

Gladstone-based filmmaker Juanita Deely was “amazed” she was able to cast her film, Scammed, about a modern-day swindle set in a retirement village, with all-Wairarapa actors.

“When I first started the project, I didn’t realise I would be able to get it all cast from Wairarapa. But I easily have because we have a wealth of talent here in this region,” she said.

“And the camera just loves so many of the actors who are now in the movie.”

The ensemble cast of 20 actors was “a joy to work with”, Deely said.

“I was thrilled to be working with them, and I can’t tell you how great they were.”

The crew – also locally sourced – made a significant contribution to the project.

Greytown-based photographer Terry Wreford-Hann lent his “fantastic eye” to the film as the cameraman, and his partner, Esther Bunning, joined the team as production designer quite late in the project.

“It would have been even better to have her involved in the production earlier because, by the time she joined, many of the sets were already in place. She enhanced everything she touched,” Deely said.

“From makeup to hair, the sets, the locations, the camera angle – her style and her design eye are superior.”

Scammed received funding from Masterton Trust Lands Trust and Carterton Creative Communities – and, throughout the shoot, local suppliers helped maintain the energy levels of the cast and crew with afternoon teas and lunches.

Deely and Wreford-Hann are currently working on the rough cut of the film.

“This is basically where you go through the footage, and you end up with a whole heap of it on the cutting room floor, with only the gems left,” Deely explained.

True to her desired “pure Wairarapa” approach, Deely is seeking more local expertise for some key parts of the movie’s production.

These include an experienced colour grader [who uses digital tools to enhance a film’s appearance] and somebody to convert the film to the appropriate format for cinematic release in New Zealand and overseas.

“They might be hard to find in Wairarapa, but I’m putting the feelers out.”

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