Fiona Jackson grew up in Hamilton and Christchurch, before a move to the US, where she provided stunts for a variety of productions, including Vincent Ward's What Dreams May Come. Since returning downunder, she has mixed studies in film with road movie Penny Black — which she produced and co-wrote — and her masters project, a documentary featuring Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O’Brien.
Filmmaking is like everything I love, balled up into one big vocation: writing, painting, model building, photography, sewing, problem solving...There are opportunities to do everything. And I did. I learned so much, about filmmaking, about the people who shared the journey with me, and about myself. Fiona Jackson, on making movie Penny Black
Made to tie in with director Joe Hitchcock’s feature debut Penny Black, Lapwing is a quirky homage to the camp superheroes of yesteryear, with costumes and a villain that would make Adam West's Batman feel right at home. When Lapwing (Sash Nixon) takes on the evil Dr Curem and finds himself outmatched, he needs the help of the aerially talented Mousegirl to conquer. Full of more mixed metaphors than you can shake to the brim, plus plenty of intentionally lo-fi special effects, the comic short features two heroes saving the day by biting the hand they're dealt.
Billed as "an unusual mix of realism and absurdity", Penny Black follows a materialistic supermodel (Astra McLaren) who is forced to become guardian to her superhero-obsessed sister. When the two set out from Auckland for Wellington so Penny Black can try to win back her modelling contract, they meet an anarchist who offers them a whole new angle on what really matters. Partly crowdfunded, partly improvised on location across the North Island, the chalk and cheese tale marked the big screen debut of Joe Hitchcock, who based it partly on road trips he'd taken as a teen.