Set in gritty backstreets somewhere in downtown Auckland, this short film follows the vicissitudes of Evan, a teenager whose life changes when he skips school and meets a beautiful and troubled stranger. Directed by Michael Duignan (A New Way Home) and produced by Rachel Gardner (Apron Strings, A Show of Hands), Truant is a convincing portrayal of that potent mixture of curiosity and desperation peculiar to adolescence. Truant screened at a number of festivals including the prestigious short film festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and the London Film Festival.
Train enthusiast David Sims captured the dying days of steam trains in this 1968 National Film Unit short. It features arresting images of a Kb class locomotive billowing steam as it tackles the Southern Alps, en route from Canterbury to the West Coast. Kb Country was released in Kiwi cinemas in January 1968, just months before the steam locomotives working the Midland Line were replaced by diesel-electrics. Sims earned his directing stripes with the film. As he writes in this background piece, making it involved a mixture of snow, joy and at least two moments of complete terror.
Paul Murphy began his wide-ranging career in childhood, as part of roving performance clan Blerta. Later he worked as a grip — grips set up and operate the equipment used to move the camera — on his father Geoff's film Never Say Die, plus many more productions. Paul moved into directing with 2001 short Sox. In 2007 he made self-financed feature Second-Hand Wedding. The tale of family and garage sales was a big local hit. Next came Rhys Darby romantic comedy Love Birds (2011). In 2019 Murphy began filming crime caper Lowdown Dirty Criminals with actors James Rolleston, Robbie Magasiva and Rebecca Gibney.