WIFTers announced for MIFF 2017

Posted Friday 21 Jul 2017

Congratulations to several WIFTers, who have worked on three films recently announced as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival in August.

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) presents a curated global programme and has been running continuously since 1952, making it the leading film festival in Australia and one of the oldest film festivals in the world.

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Produced by Nadia Maxwell and starring Sophie Henderson, Human Traces (above) will screen at MIFF, following the film's world premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival in Christchurch on 4 August.

Set on a remote sub-Antarctic island, the psychological thriller tells the story of Glenn and Sarah, a husband and wife scientist team studying the effects of removing pests from the island. The arrival of a mysterious new caretaker causes upheaval in their marriage.  When Sarah discovers she is pregnant, and they are trapped on the island with no contact to the outside world, desperation kicks in with the pitiless winter coming ever closer.

Starring Sophie Henderson (Outrageous Fortune, Fantail, The Most Fun You Can Have Dying), Mark Mitchinson (Siege, Bloodlines) and Vinnie Bennett (Fantail, Ghost in the Shell, Beyond the Known World), Human Traces will be released in New Zealand and Australia by eOne Films. (Here's a first-look clip to whet your appetite.)

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Rachel Ross's short film Have you tried, maybe, not worrying? (above), produced by Hamish Mortland, is also playing at MIFF.

The jarring, evocative film depicts a day in the life of a young woman battling with anxiety and panic disorder, on a journey of isolation and raw existence. She's well practised at suppressing all signs of the illness but on a trip away with friends, her best friend becomes the catalyst for change.

Rachel, who wrote and directed the film, has also been selected for MIFF's Accelerator Lab. Rachel will be bringing the feature film she's been working on (which is an expansion of the short) in New York to the Accelerator Lab. Rachel is a recent recipient of a NZFC Talent Development Grant, which enabled her to take part in an eight-week screenwriting programme at the New York Film Academy, where she developed the first draft of her feature film.


Hot on the heels of sold-out NZIFF sessions in Wellington and Auckland, My Year With Helen has also been selected for MIFF and the Brisbane Film Festival.

Gaylene Preston directed, co-produced and co-photographed, and Catherine Madigan co-produced, this fascinating portrait of Helen Clark on a mission - and a laconic account of the exasperating circumstances wherein she hit the glass ceiling at the United Nations.

Shuttling between a forthright Clark and official UN briefings which reveal nothing, Preston singles out a wealth of clued-up commentators and shrewdly observes multiple angles to the story. Nothing anyone has to say is intended to convince you that this was a transparent process, or even, in fact, a race. Clark is dignified and resilient in the face of loss. She can always congratulate herself on having had Preston on hand to mine her disappointing experience and discover in it the fuel for future fire. (Here's the trailer.)


Next Up...

Director Jess Hobbs on her career and creating dramas

Posted Friday 21 Jul 2017

Jess Hobbs video

Make a note of this link when you fancy a break from work - New Zealand-born director Jessica Hobbs talks to Drama Quarterly about her big break on Australian teen drama Heartbreak High and moving to the UK to direct shows including Broadchurch, River and Apple Tree Yard.

She talks about her story-focused and emotion-based method of directing, as well as the way she likes to work with writers to develop the visual style of a series.

Hobbs also speaks about the merits of rehearsing scenes before the cameras roll and the differences between launching a new series and working as an episodic or block director on an established drama.

Watch the video here.