This short documentary follows refugee Mitchell Pham from a Vietnam War prison camp to a new home in New Zealand. Director Sally Tran — a 2013 Killer Films Internship Scholarship recipient — uses an interview with Pham as an adult, and live action mixed with animation to recreate the harrowing childhood journey. DIY more than CGI, the animation process was based on Vietnamese folded paper-craft. Requiring 20 volunteers, the 10,000 animated pieces of paper (and a rich score from The Sound Room) provide suggestive weight to Pham’s story of survival and courage.
Using plenty of his own photographs to illustrate his story, Errol Schroder takes us back to the 50s, 60s and 70s to provide his memories of being a photographer with the New Zealand Air Force (Schroder also spent three years in the navy). His Air Force career saw him posted through the Pacific and South East Asia. In Vietnam, there are tales of nervous times on American bases, and a hair-raising patrol in an OV-10 Bronco aircraft. Even in retirement, action came Errol’s way — his home was wrecked in the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake.
Like many young New Zealand males during the late 1960s, Wayne Chester joined the army and headed overseas to fight in Vietnam. As a machine gunner he patrolled the jungles outside of Saigon and saw combat, facing the Viet Cong on several occasions. He recounts his experiences in the jungle, along with some close encounters with wildlife, and the altercations and laughs shared with the American contingent. He also discusses his admiration for the Vietnamese people and the Viet Cong, and the long-term physical and political effects of agent orange.
Veteran cameraman Waynne Williams, MNZM, has shot everything from the Vietnam War and French nuclear testing to the Christchurch quake, TV drama Pukemanu and Australian movie The Box. Over more than half a century, Williams has worked on over 10,000 news stories. The Christchurch-based lensman runs Port Hills productions with partner Anne Williams.
The work of Sally Tran displays her love for colour, bold styles and conjuring clever things out of cardboard. Hawke's Bay-raised Tran studied fashion, then began directing a run of short films, commercials and eye-opening music videos —beginning with O'Baby for Charlie Ash. Winner of a 2013 Script to Screen fellowship to intern at New York company Killer Films, Tran later relocated to NYC, where she makes commercials and designs clothing and jewellery. Her big screen debut was offbeat romantic fantasy Timeslow - The Timeless Tales of Henry Glint.
After first picking up a guitar while growing up in South Africa, Tom Fox went on to become a session guitarist and award-winning music producer. Emigrating to New Zealand in 2003, he met Kiwi musician Marshall Smith, and they set up company The Sound Room in Auckland. Since then the duo have collaborated on music and sound mixes for almost every type of screen project, from a long run of commercials, to arcade games and documentaries — including award-winning Cambodian tragedy Brother Number One and the quirky, music-heavy Hip Hop-eration and The Coffin Club.
Brian Kassler started his career building sets for theatre and film, then worked as a camera grip on a host of New Zealand features. In the mid 80s he started supplying film equipment to local crews, before launching successful production company Flying Fish with Lee Tamahori. Today he fronts Showtools, a film production website.
Marshall Smith was nominated for a Silver Scroll songwriting award in 2004, while he was part of band The New Freedom. Around the same time, he and musician Tom Fox set up Auckland music and sound company The Sound Room, and began composing soundtracks for clients in Aotearoa and overseas. Their work includes documentaries (Hip Hop-eration, NHNZ's Big Pacific), short films, and many commercials (including ads for Coca Cola and Porsche). Smith also co-founded the Screen Composers Guild of New Zealand, presented Lotto draws for three years, and has recorded under the name Marshmellow.