This Māori Television series merged old media and new: giving a group of young people iPhones and storytelling workshops, and empowering them to tell their own fun stories. In this fourth season episode, the slices of life include: swimming with whales off Tonga, a Te Tai Tokerau marae challenge, holidaying in Sydney and learning to surf in Bali, filming live rugby league at Mt Smart, basketball trials, farewelling a mate at the airport with a haka, and a stage-shaking kapa haka act. Press on the 'CC' symbol below the screen to find subtitles for (occasional) te reo.
The perils of fast-paced celebrity culture are joyfully skewered in this "boogie-infused groove" from Auckland artist Randa (aka Mainard Larkin). Randa becomes an appendage/hostage to success when his belly button transforms into a scarlet-lipped star vocalist and goes viral. The video is a hilarious cautionary tale — Randa and his talented tummy are discovered online, he hits the studio, the hangers-on arrive, and substances are ingested. 'Rock Bottom' is directed by duo Vision Thing, and won Best Music Video at the 2019 New Zealand Music Awards.
Notable music video and feature film director Chris Graham (Sione's Wedding, Scribe) made his drama debut with this short film, which finds a bus driver and his passengers lost in their own thoughts on a rainy Wellington night. As they ruminate on incidents in their lives, ranging from confused and sad through to contented and joyous, the driver’s thousand yard stare portends a quiet desperation of his own. Shot in black and white, the largely wordless Bus Stop finds a group of people sharing an experience but completely alone (yes, even pre-iPhone) in their own worlds.
When a man is found dead in the petrol station run by Horace Jones (Mark Hadlow), a surprising opportunity arises to get rid of some debt. But things get complicated when a menacing customer (Jed Brophy from The Hobbit ) shows up looking for the dead man’s money. Shot entirely on an iPhone at a petrol station in Motueka, Blue Moon is the third feature from writer/director Stefen Harris, who used his years as a police officer as inspiration for what goes on in the wee small hours. The film debuted in the Christchurch leg of the 2018 NZ International Film Festival.
Producer Rhonda Kite founded company Kiwa Media Group, which developed a successful programme to aid dubbing and dialogue recording, and made long-running Māori Television arts series Kete Aronui. Kite's award-winning slate of documentaries includes films on the Ōtara community, gangs, whāngai, and squeegee bandits. Kiwa Digital went on to focus on creating interactive books for mobile devices.
From an early role as a teen bully in Children of Fire Mountain, Mark Hadlow, ONZM, has gone on to work beside Billy T James, Peter Jackson, talking hedgehogs and mutant huhu grubs. The veteran actor/comedian is fondly remembered for playing a wide-eyed farmer on hit TV series Willy Nilly; in Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit, he was grey-bearded Dori the dwarf.
Stefen Harris faced off against Peter Jackson in a Spot On short film contest, while both were teenagers. In 2006, after various efforts to film his debut novel had failed, Harris hired a small crew and turned it into multi-awardwinning mockumentary The Waimate Conspiracy. The longtime policeman followed it with small-town ecological comedy No Petrol, No Diesel! After winning a 2007 scholarship, he was mentored in the United States by Kiwi-born director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). His third feature, 2018 petrol station thriller Blue Moon, was shot on an iPhone. It debuted at the 2018 Christchurch Film Festival.
Alongside a notable theatre resumé, actor Jed Brophy’s wide-ranging screen career has seen him wrangling horses and scaring hobbits for Peter Jackson, undergoing relationship trauma for Gaylene Preston, and playing South African in District 9.