Press Release – UNITEC
High-profile filmmaker Chris ‘Doc’ Wyatt hopes to inspire a new generation of Kiwi indie filmmakers when he arrives in Auckland in April. The American producer of 2004 cult hit Napoleon Dynamite, the 2006 festival multi-award winner Coyote, and the 2011 drama Café (starring Jennifer Love Hewitt), will share his journey from Indie filmmaker to Hollywood producer during a two-day seminar being held at Auckland’s Unitec on 11-12 April. He has also accepted an invitation to speak at the Uni Shorts International Student Film Festival at Unitec on 13-14 April.
Napoleon Dynamite is one of the most successful independent films on all time; having been produced for only US$425,000, but making a swamping return at the US box office of close to US$45 Million.
Wyatt is looking forward to seeing more of New Zealand’s Indie filmmaking talent. “Peter Jackson’s work clearly proves that world-class blockbusters can be made in New Zealand, but far beyond that movies like Eagle vs Shark and Matariki demonstrate the versatility and variety of independent talent that New Zealand has to offer to the world,” he explains. “I want to share my experiences with New Zealand filmmakers, and have them share theirs with me, so that we can grow together as a global indie film community.”
Athina Tsoulis, Unitec’s head of Performing and Screen Arts, is delighted Wyatt has accepted the invitation to come to New Zealand. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn from his experience in producing successful low budget features as low budget is where most of New Zealand’s film making is located. And, attendees at Uni Shorts will also benefit from his visit as he will be the keynote speaker as well as a judge on the Awards panel,” she says.
Wyatt supports what the Uni Shorts film festival is trying to achieve. “Short films are more than just the training ground for features. They’re also forms of art and expression that often offer the chance for brave experimentation. A short filmmaker is more likely to take a risk than a feature filmmaker. For this reason I think anything that promotes short filmmaking as an individual art form deserves support,” he adds.
With a cross-section of animation, documentary and experimental films to the fiction categories, Wyatt’s presence at Uni Shorts will provide insight into the challenges that emerging young filmmakers face with exponential technological advances.
Last year’s inaugural festival drew in crowds of young filmmakers and educators, engaging them in conversations pertinent to their developing careers and offered them the opportunity to network with NZ screen industry champions such as Robert Sarkies, Steven O’Meagher and Rachel Gardner.