English-born Leo Woodhead moved downunder as a teen. In his final year of a film masters at Auckland University, he went to the Czech Republic and made Cargo, a short about human trafficking; it premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Follow-ups Zero and Cold Snap also explored troubled young protagonists, and were invited to prestigious festivals. Woodhead directs commercials in New Zealand and internationally.
I love what I do. It is always a challenge to find a new way of telling stories and working on the best way to articulate a project. Leo Woodhead
In this 2013 short, a possum-trapping nature boy is challenged when a woman moves into a house on the edge of the bush, looking for a fresh start. Cinematographer Ginny Loane captures the wintry central plateau landscape where the fable of life and death plays out. Director Leo Woodhead co-wrote the script with Paul Stanley Ward; the result followed Woodhead’s short Cargo (2007) to the Venice Film Festival, and won the Jury Prize at the 2014 Hong Kong Film Festival. Director Andrew Adamson (Shrek) called it “a well structured, beautifully shot narrative.”
In this 2007 short, a young refugee boy is smuggled out of an unnamed European country. When he realises he and his companion are victims of people trafficking, he faces an untenable choice. Cargo was produced as director Leo Woodhead’s graduating film while completing a masters in film at Auckland University. A collaboration with Czech cinematographer Martin Priess led to a student exchange with FAMU in Prague and saw the film shot in the Czech Republic. It premiered at Venice Film Festival, before a successful (London, Tribeca, Telluride) festival run.