Sunday, December 19, 2010

THANKS YOU GUYS!

For those of you who couldn't make last weeks Wanaka Film Trust "Creator Series" featuring Tim Pierce, you missed out on the premiere of Tim's 2010 showreel. It's fantastic and inspiring to say the least.
We want to share stuff here at WFT so crank up the sound,go full screen and hit PLAY on Tims 2010 reel below.

  


Tilopa bag from F-Stop







Thanks heaps for coming out the other night to the Tim Pierce screening.
It's a very special thing to watch your work on the big screen with an audience , so without you all there , well , it wouldn't have been half as much fun.
We aim to have plenty more events like that and some other cool things coming up too, so stay tuned.

If anyone has anything they would like to discuss - a potential project, something they would like to share , ideas for guest speakers , funding ideas etc,
just drop me a line and i'll get back to you asap.

A lot of Tim Pierce's work requires him to haul heaps of gear and that's often into environments that can be tricky to get to.With the awesome support of the crew at F-Stop ( www.fstopgear.com )
Tim can carry his mobile movie studio on his back with this wicked Tilopa back pack. 
I'm going to have to get myself one of these excellent bags! I wish I could have included myself in the draw for this awesome  F-Stop bag ,(worth about NZ$400!!) 
But the kind F-Stop folks wanted one of you, the audience , to have one for free!! 
So, I put the names in a hat (actually , a bowl) and drew out the winner and the winner is.....Jamie Amstad! , Congrats Jamie , I'll be in touch to give you the details on how to get your awesome new bag.
Thanks everyone else.

Watch this spot for more news and stuff coming up.

Cheers

Robert

Friday, December 10, 2010

ZEROS & ONES ADD UP : An Evening With Tim Pierce


Wanaka Film Trust is delighted to collaborate with Tim Pierce to present ZEROS & ONES ADD UP : An Evening With Tim Pierce .


Tim will screen some of his work from the last 12 months and be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Tim sums it all up quite well on his blog so I'll hand the page over to him.

Thanks Folks,

Robert.


"This is an open invitation to anyone who may be interested in seeing my work and hearing me talk complete and absolute rubbish for one night only. I’m teaming up with the Wanaka Film Trust to do a screening of my video work from over the last year at theCinema Paradiso on Thursday 16th of December at 7pm. Tickets are $8 and are available on the night, or you can pre book them by calling the cinema. (03 443 1505)
I’m going to be showing a bunch of my projects that you will have seen online on the big screen, and explaining exactly what goes into the process, from creating the concept right through to distributing the final product. Its an opportunity for people to learn about video production, see what is being produced locally and even get your hands on some of my equipment at the end of the night.
A big thanks goes out to OakleyThe North FaceAtomic, & the Wanaka Film Trust for supporting the event and making it possible. There will be a few goodies given away on the night from Oakley and The North Face too! Any questions just contact me. "
                                                                                       Tim Pierce.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

FULL LIST OF AWARDS WINNERS AND NOMINEES.





awards+leaf.jpg
BEST OVERALL MOVIE (AUDIENCE VOTE)
BLIP - (director Tim Pierce)



New Blood Award

NOMINEES

NEMO AND THE TURTLE
ESCAPING PRISON
WiNNER -  THE KIWI ROMANCE (director Jo Lynch)

*

Audio Award

NOMINEES

BLIP
NEMO AND THE TURTLE
PASTORAL PYRE
FRIGHTENED
WiNNER - FLIGHT 175 (director Greg Von Heraud Parker)

*

Story Award

NOMINEES

BLIP
FUTTOCKS
FATHERS HELPING HAND
WiNNER - GOD DAM IT (directors Brian Anderson/Janet Malloch)

*

Editing Award

NOMINEES

URBAN MADNESS
MT O ROAD E
FUTTOCKS
BLIP
WiNNER - FRIGHTENED (director Robert Holt)

*

Cinematography Award

NOMINEES

BLIP
FRIGHTENED
MT O ROAD E
WiNNER - PASTORAL PYRE (directors Greg Inwood/Lisa Johnston)

*

Art Direction Award

NOMINEES

FRIGHTENED
FUTTOCKS
NEMO AND THE TURTLE

WiNNER - FLIGHT 175 (director Greg Von Heraud Parker)

*

Actor Award

NOMINEES

PHIL MARTIN - FLIGHT 175
BEVAN HALL - BLIP
WiNNER - GRAHAM ASTON - FATHERS HELPING HAND

*

Actress Award

NOMINEES

MYRAN - MT ROAD E
JAN CARTER - FATHERS HELPING HAND
WiNNER  - HANNAH STEVEN - FRIGHTENED


*

60 Seconds Of Spirit Award 

NOMINEES

THE KIWI ROMANCE
ESCAPING PRISON
GOD DAM IT
WiNNER - BLIP (director Tim Pierce)

*

SPECIAL MENTION
YELLOW SNOW (Darren Simmonds/Topher Straus)
NEMO AND THE TURTLE (Louis Von Heraud Parker)
ESCAPE FROM PRISON (Oisin O'Connell)




CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL FILM MAKERS!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And the Winner Is...BLIP!

Super congrats to Tim Pierce for taking out the overall BEST FILM prize and the '60 seconds of spirit award' for his awesome fun flick BLIP. (Please Note that this is a "Directors Cut" - I assure you , the official entry was 60 seconds)





Thanks again to everyone who participated in and supported this comp.
I can't thank our fantastic sponsors enough for their more than generous prizes and help.
We packed the Paradiso last night with film fans!

Other entries and winners are screened below (the next video will play when current one finishes) - (More titles added as I get the links - also official winners catogorised and listed shortly)


Stay tuned for an interesting upcoming project involving our Gone In 60 Seconds II winner Tim.

Please, next time you're thinking of where to give your custom, try and support our kind sponsors (Listed Below) as they deserve it.

        Community Logo RBG  image002   LakeLand Logo   macassist    MAY_E_MACHINE_logo [Converted]   SDW_logo_1-3   SELECTRIX_LOGO_HI_RES_PRODUCT Sorted Print Logo YELLOW   The45thDegree 2   Video Ezy cherub   Maude_Logo   2010 Brand 003
Wanaka Lakehouse - luxury accomodation






Thanks all.


Robert

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Gone In 60 Seconds II" Grand Awards Night



BEST FILM TROPHY!


Hi everybody,

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the great response to our second annual "Gone In 60 Seconds" 1 minute film competition.
Last year was great but this year is looking awesome and bigger than ever.

We will be hosting the "Gone In 60 Seconds II" Grand Awards Night at the Paradiso Cinema , here in Wanaka, on Tuesday the 9th of November (that's next Tuesday)  at 6pm (give or take 15 mins).
We would love to see you all there.

In fact we want you , the viewers, to be part of the Awards so much that we are going to have you pick the Over All BEST FILM award. This is the top prize and it's going to be tough to pick!

There will be a host of other prize categories on the night also - Judging for which will be done by a panel made up of some of our fine , generous sponsors.

We urge you to get along to the show - it will be fun , I can't guarantee that there will be a deciding arm wrestling match live at the venue again this year but we can only hope!

The registered film makers who have films in the comp will be given one free pass each, all other tickets will be $8 - all of which will be used to cover costs of this screening and anything left over will go back into Wanaka Film Trust
so we can continue to organise future events such as these.

On that note,I would like to thank all the people that have volunteered there time and services to make this happen.

A special thanks goes to Greg von Heraud Parker ,who did all the heavy lifting of the competition this year.

Thanks for your time

See you Tuesday!


Robert

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanks to all entrants !

The Deadline for "Gone In 60 Seconds II" submissions has passed.
Please watch this space for details of Awards/Screening Night.
At this time,it looks like it will be on 
*CONFIRMED-Tuesday the 9th of November at Paradiso, 6pm to 8.30pm
Details to be confirmed shortly.

Thanks to all who entered

Awesome job getting that far - now lets see how this plays out!


Robert

Monday, October 18, 2010

Shout out to our Sponsors

Yum, look who's just come on board as a sponsor for "Gone In 60 Seconds II" -  1 minute film making competition!
Another awesome sponsor to join these guys below. (In no particular order)

Thanks guys - you are all awesome !

 Community Logo RBG  image002   LakeLand Logo   macassist    MAY_E_MACHINE_logo [Converted]   SDW_logo_1-3   SELECTRIX_LOGO_HI_RES_PRODUCT Sorted Print Logo YELLOW   The45thDegree 2   Video Ezy cherub   Maude_Logo   2010 Brand 003

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bring your mum to the world premiere of your own movie!

Hi all,
Well,with just over a fortnight to go until submission deadline,I hope that all of you have your Gone In 60 Seconds II films well under way. I know some folks are already finished and others are heading in that direction.Of course it's still not too late to get in on the action.
You could probably make one a day from now until 1st November and raise your chances of a win considerably too!
Remember - this comp is open to everyone , everywhere!
All films will be screened at The Paradiso on the 9th of November.
Bring your mum to the world premiere of your own movie!
How cool would that be.
We don't care if your film is not shot on the latest piece of cinematography gadgetry - you could stand at the front of the movie theatre and display your flip book movie if that's how you roll, just a 60 second flick - that's the only rule!!!

Easy,right? and don't forget , there are PRIZES!! (heaps).
Be in to win.


check out the video in post below for all the details you need.


See you on the big screen, film makers!


Robert

Monday, September 27, 2010

How are things coming along?

Hi everyone,
I hope you've all managed to have a wee think about your ideas for your 60 second films for "Gone In 60 Seconds II".
Keep an eye on the countdown clock and be sure to register HERE asap even if you haven't totally committed to submitting a film.It just helps us keep track of possible numbers etc.

Remember,feel free to ask questions etc. if you have anything you need help with.

Wanaka is full of film comps , it would seem , at the moment.Another one to get going on is MovieFest .
Check out the link for details (the deadline for registering for this comp is only a couple of days away - so get cracking!)


I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the finished films from both these comps.


Best get cracking on my own entries!


Cheers


Robert

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

For Thousands Of Miles

Hi Folks,
I know us film makers / fans of film, have our own troubles trying to get stuff made but I also know how great a feeling it is to be ,in some small way,a part of the process in getting someone else's project made too.
We ,I'm sure,have all helped out on a production made by our friends and acquaintances here in Wanaka or further afield, not for money or anything  but to be a part of bringing something that started as an idea, to life on the screen.


Sometimes there are great projects that you want to be a part of , but they are not happening in your local area , but , hey ,you want to see that project in all it's finished glory,after all the hard work that has gone into it.


Well one such project that I want to see on the big screen - maybe even here in Wanaka at the Paradiso - is a film called 
"For Thousands Of Miles"
I wanted to help out a little , so I gave a few dollars to one of their Kickstarter fundraising campaign's.As a reward,
one of the filmmakers,Mike , got in touch and sent me a FToM T-shirt.
Perhaps some of you around Wanaka have even seen me wearing it.It is honestly , the most comfortable T-shirt I own.
Anyway,this project looks great and, I think , will appeal in particular, to folks like you.Folks who choose to spend some time here in Wanaka,New Zealand, with it's stunning outdoors and people with heart.


Look, just give a minute or two of your time to check out the video below and a couple of the links beneath that and if you feel that this is the kind of film you'ld like to get behind and you have a couple of dollars you could spare then click on those links and give a buck or two to FToM's Kickstarter campaign and tell your buddies , who may be interested too.


Thanks for your time.


Robert.


For Thousands Of Miles (Blog)
Support And Funding
Softest T-Shirt You Will Ever Own!
FTOM on Twitter
FTOM on Facebook

Other Projects On Kickstarter

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last nights screening

Greg, talkin' the talk.




Hi folks,

I want to thank all who came out to the Wanaka Film Trust screening last night.Good to see familiar and new faces in the crowd.

Some links for you regarding the "Gone In 60 Seconds II" - 2010 , 1 minute film competition .

•The WFT Blog (with live countdown to the deadline ) http://www.wanakafilmtrust.blogspot.com/    The Facebook page for help/crew/other info etc http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=127000763994040&v=wall
•The info and registration site 
•The Post Office Box to which to send your entry (a quicktime file or mini dv tape preferred but we will endeavor to deal with whatever you send - don't sweat it)-   MAY E Films P.O.Box 299 Wanaka. 
•Physical address where you can drop off your movie - Cinema Paradiso :: Ardmore Street, Wanaka (there should be a box there - ask at counter)
•And of course this email address wanakafilm@gmail.com to which you can ask questions etc., too.

Looking forward to seeing some great 1 minute bursts of movie magic! - You can enter with as many movies as you like and from anywhere in the world!


Cheers,

 Robert

Thursday, September 2, 2010

WFT hosts Short Film Screening & Launches "Gone in 60 Seconds II " One minute film competition.

Wanaka Film trust is delighted to host another movie screening night tomorrow.
(7th September @ Cinema Paradiso. (8pm sharp) *just a $5 entry fee to cover costs)

We will be screening the rarely seen
"Good Taste made Bad Taste"

A behind the scenes of Peter Jacksons classic horror, "Bad Taste".
As relevant today as when it was made , this "making of" style doco is sure to inspire and educate the filmmakers in the room.

We will also be screening 3 award winning short films from New Zealand,the trailers for which are below.






The Six Dollar Fifty Man
Brave Donkey
This Is Her


That's not all
We will also be launching our second annual,1 minute film making competition 
"Gone in 60 Seconds II "  







• Make a 60 second movie about anything, shot on anything you can get your hands on.

• HD /  Cell Phone - whatever!
• Return it to Paradiso Cinema by the 5pm,1st November 2010,deadline.
• Chance to win some amazing prizes.
• No crew? come along to launch night and find others to team up with.
• Become Instant Film Makers!

All entries will play at Gala Screening and Awards night  @ Cinema Paradiso on 9th November 2010

for more information go to mayefilms.com
 / www.wanakafilmtrust.blogspot.com

*1 RULE - 60 seconds from start to finish.


No excuses - just make flicks!




Friday, August 27, 2010

"Gone In 60 Seconds II"

"Gone In 60 Seconds II", the 1 minute film making competition.


Wanaka Film Trust annual film competition, "Gone In 60
Seconds".

The event kicks off, 7th September directly following a great Wanaka Film
Trust screening night at Cinema Paradiso. Then you have eight weeks to
make a short movie, about anything, shot in any fashion, with any sort
of gear, on anything, no longer than 60 seconds in duration.
Entries must be submitted no later than 1st of November 2010.
Then on Tuesday the 9th of November there will be
a screening of all the films and an awards ceremony at Cinema Paradiso.

There will be prizes in different categories (thanks to our sponsors).

And the overall Best Film Award will be decided  by the audience on the night.

Fun times ahead.
More details as they come-watch this space.

Cheers
Robert

Monday, August 23, 2010

Extras Wanted In Wanaka

Wanaka Film Trust friends REEL DREAMS are in need of some extras.Please read following for details.

REEL DREAMS  is looking for some people to do extra work one day at Snow Park AUG 31 (weather day Sept 1)  There will not be any pay but we will provide a meal and a memory.  Please email Topher with your photo if you are interested. topher@reeldreams.com


LOG LINE:  Two twenty something funny looking guys are walking towards a ski bar-  One of the guys falls to his knees to inspect a patch of yellow snow.  The other guy is oblivious until he notices everyone watching.  He spots something though – and also starts eating the snow. Pan up to reveal a man cariyng a leaking keg…
 
[EXTRA 1] Male. Snowboarder. 20-25. A hardcore snowboarder.

[EXTRA 2] Male. Snowboarder. 20-25. A hardcore snowboarder.

[EXTRA 3] Male. Snowboarder. 20-25. A hardcore snowboarder.

[EXTRA 4] Female. Snowboarder. 20-25. A hardcore snowboarder. Maybe punk rock?

[EXTRA 5] Female. Skier. 40-50

[EXTRA 6] Female. Skier. 40-50

[EXTRA 7] Male. Skier. 40-50

[EXTRA 8] Female 25-30

[EXTRA 9] Male 25-30

[EXTRA 10] Female 20-25





Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mercury Brigade SmokeFree RockQuest Video

UPDATE 2 -
Video is now unlocked.Please enjoy and share. Mercury Brigade Facebook page 


Last Week , Myself and Greg,Darren and Dan O'Regan shot this video for the boys of Mercury Brigade for their submission to the SmokeFreeRockQuest 2010 competition.
Hope you like it.Feel free to embed it on your Facebook/Blogs etc.

Cheers

Robert.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Western shot in NZ

Love the look of this film.
When I first arrived in NZ in '95 I travelled through Mackenzie Country and thought,"What a great spot to film a western! Well,Mike Wallis and his team beat me to it.

Can't wait to see this.
Awesome work you guys.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Mercury Brigade SmokeFree RockQuest Video Shoot

Sorry It's been a bit quiet here on the WFT blog - been busy shooting video for local high school band Mercury Brigade for their video submission section of the SmokeFree RockQuest competition.
I'm cutting it as we speak.
I'll post pics and vid later but here are a couple of pics from the shoot.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Fishy Tales" Online Now

Hi all,
Wanaka Film Trust's first official production, "Fishy Tales" has finally been uploaded to Short Film Otago's Youtube Channel. (I would suggest they get themselves a Vimeo channel to avail of the longer video lengths allowed so as not to have to split them up.)
Check out the SFO website for details on funding for your short film .Be warned - closing date for this years applications is 9th August.


Enjoy,
Robert

Part 1.


Part 2.

Is this a picture of Brad Pitt at Lake Wanaka?

Someone who want's to remain anonymous has emailed me this pic.
What do you think?
Makes sense that if he was in the South Island , he would come to Wanaka , no?
Anyhow - If this is you Brad, Wanaka Film Trust welcomes you - enjoy yourself.

Robert


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Yes Men Fix The World — Free,Legal,Peer-to-Peer Edition of this awesome film.

I just finished watching this film and I loved it.
The Yes Men have made this film available to legally download via Peer-to-peer torrents and are encouraging viewers to share it .
You will need a BitTorrent client in order to download this film.
If you don't know what a BitTorrent client is , or how to use one - Click Here and follow the instructions , or ask a youngster.There are other ways of viewing though too - for more info click here


Enjoy.


Robert




"Fiendishly amusing... Out-Borats Sacha Baron Cohen at his most confrontational."—Washington Post
"This is the year's top documentary film." — New Scientist
"We think it is a serious matter when people willingly misrepresent themselves." — Exxon


ABOUT THIS RELEASE

VODO's sixth release is the special Peer-To-Peer Edition of the multi-award-winning The Yes Men Fix The World. This edition, made exclusively for VODO, includes exclusive controversial footage of the Yes Men impersonating the United States Chamber of Commerce. The Yes Men are being sued over this action, and see P2P as the best and only way this material will get seen. They're calling for it to be copied as far and wide as possible.

The Yes Men are a culture jamming activist-duo raising awareness around social problems caused by corporations. Operating under the mission statement of telling the truth and exposing lies, they practice a concept they call "identity correction", in which they impersonate entities that they dislike -- some would call it social engineering on a grand scale! From their offices in Milwaukee, they create and maintain fake websites similar to ones they intend to spoof, which have successfully lead to numerous interview, conference, and TV talk show invitations. These occasions are then used to expose, through parody and surreal humour, the dark motivations of our multinational world.

THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks.
SOME WORDS FROM THE YES MEN

"We have been impersonating people in power in to make political points for over a decade. The Yes Men Fix the World is our second feature film. It's won a bucket of awards and accolades, but we're still broke. We are hoping that people who share it will donate some money so that we can do even more outrageous actions.

How outrageous? Outrageous enough to get us sued! Not long ago The US Chamber of Commerce took us to court for impersonating them. That is why on this special p2p version of the Yes Men Fix the World, we have included an exclusive video that the US Chamber of Commerce does not want you to see. You can only see this surprising film on the exclusive VODO p2p release.

One final note: making films takes lots of hard work. And money. We busted our ass to make this film and still owe our friends barrels of cash they loaned us. By supporting us and joining the Yes Men Labs, you not only get a membership card and an entry into the prize draw, you also help us to pay all those people back and fund future projects. We're sharing by P2P because we made this film to be watched, and with your help we'll able carry on with what we love doing."

"Great fun! It takes some nerve, not to mention diabolical intelligence... to pull off the elaborate pranks devised by the Yes Men." — New York Times

Documentary, 2010, 95 mins

Saturday, July 24, 2010

0000000111111 WOW

Wanaka filmmaker, Tim Pierce of Zeros & Ones  TV series documenting the lives of professional free skiers Jossi and Byron Wells - Winter of Wells, is screening on the worlds biggest action sports websites, Air New Zealands international flights, and FuelTV.
Nice work guys.


Check out the teaser below and see more episodes HERE


Monday, July 12, 2010

Reel Dreams in the press.

(Originally Published on Otago Daily Times Online News (http://www.odt.co.nz))
Making movie dreams come true
By Marjorie Cook

Marjorie Cook finds a Reel recipe for film success in Wanaka.
Into the great migrant melting pot that is Wanaka put one South African adventurer, one American comedian, combine with creative New Zealanders and sprinkle liberally with enthusiasm.

Then watch the goggle-box to see Reel Dreams turn to porridge and rise to the occasion, all at the same time.

Reel Dreams is a film-production company launched this month by director Topher Straus and producer Darren Simmonds, both 35-year-old entrepreneurs who settled in Wanaka in 2007.

They met through the Wanaka Film Trust and decided to form a stand-alone company specialising in high-end television commercials.
Reel Dreams now has a modest portfolio of three completed products.

Their second project, an advertisement for Harraways Oats, is screening nationally and they have a seemingly bottomless well of other projects waiting on story-boards.

The pair got their start because they went out on a limb last year and made a speculative promotion for Nike, using numerous local people to film and star in a 45-second advertisement set on Roys Peak.

"It achieved its goal because it got us Harraways. It showcased what we could do.

"And now we have [another client] Dream Doors," Mr Simmonds said recently.

But who are these people so keen to put Wanaka's talents on the tube?

Topher Straus probably needs little introduction in his home town of Denver, Colorado, where he became immersed in the entertainment world at the age of 14.

He was employed by Tribune Broadcasting and by the time he was 18, the junior comedian had hosted a cartoon club programme, numerous other television specials, appeared in more than 350 commercials and won an outstanding public service campaign Emmy for his work.

Mr Straus graduated with a bachelor of fine arts (film art) degree from Syracuse University, in New York, in 1997.

He moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for a year as an assistant to the late film-maker Robert Altman (M. A. S. H., Tanner '88, The Player, Gosfield Park).

Working as assistant to the prolific Altman was "a dream come true".

Moments that spring to mind include waiting in a golf cart while Altman smoked a joint or taking a call from actor Robert Downey jun while the actor was in jail.

"It was great, really enjoyable. He [Altman] was a really nice person," Mr Straus said.

"He would say things like 'Topher, take this script to Lily Tomlin. While you are there, pick me up some oatmeal with real maple syrup.'

"I would be asked to research anything and everything. I was there for one year."

Then he took a similar job for a while with Academy Award-winning director Curtis Hanson (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, LA Confidential), and another telephone encounter with another actor - this time Russell Crowe, who cursed at Mr Straus when he asked for his name.

Mr Straus formed his first television production company at university and from 1995 began directing films. (See details above)

He and his wife Emelie, a Swiss New Zealander, decided to move to New Zealand in 2007 because they couldn't think of a better place to escape the busy-ness of Sunset Boulevard, six-lane highways, and Los Angeles' night-time noises of helicopters, sirens and gunshots.

They are expecting their first child next month.

Mr Straus says he has always felt compelled to perform.

"It's in my blood. My grandmother was a radio star, my grandfather and father were advertising executives ...

"I am glad I love doing it," he said.

Mr Straus now teaches improvisation workshops with Kahu Youth and in Queenstown.

Mr Simmonds has had a varied and colourful career in the outdoors, with scuba diving, skiing and climbing among his loves.

Growing up in South Africa and educated at an all-boys' school, the done thing was to get compulsory service over and done with soon after leaving school, but Mr Simmonds had other ideas.

"I didn't want to enlist in the army and thought, right, I am going to escape the country.

"A year after I left school it all changed anyway.

"I was interested in diving and my mother was trying to convince me to join the navy.

"But I decided to travel. I liked the idea of backpacking around Europe.

"At the time, a lot of people were taking money out of the country. They would pay people to take it out.

"So this guy paid for my trip to London," Mr Simmonds said.

Four years and 40 countries later, Mr Simmonds arrived in Queenstown, where he skied by day and worked as a magician at night.

Then he moved to Wanaka, where he had enrolled in an outdoor education course, met his future wife Vanessa, and worked as a researcher for a farm management company.

Visual arts had always been part of his life - his New Zealander father and Australian mother owned a photographic business in Johannesburg - so he rekindled his interest in film and photography and now works as a videographer. (See fact box for details)

He also founded the Wanaka Film Trust and four trust projects have won small grants from Short Film Trust of Otago and screened in Dunedin and at other festivals.

Mr Simmonds has participated in 24-hour film-making competitions*, with this year's effort (in the sex education genre) making it to the finals*.
*(that should read 48hrs and City Finals - Admin)

So what is their secret to short-story-telling?

"I'm the Yin. He's the Yang ... Darren is funny but he doesn't know it," Mr Straus said.

Mr Simmonds sees his role as keeping his creative partner focused on the client's vision.

"The more we work together, the more we understand each other," Mr Simmonds said.

Mr Straus says the amount of work in telling a story in 15 to 60 seconds is "amazing".

Several days' filming, for which camera operators and actors are employed, might be followed by several weeks in post-production.

More weeks can be spent in pre-production, requiring the input of graphic artists.

And there's also the all-important client liaison.

The art of making television commercials is a finely balanced one and relies on good communication, they say.

Even just 15 seconds is enough time for the audience to find out what they are being sold, if done correctly.

A client's expectation of an advertisement also has to be dealt with on the level.

"They see a great ad and don't realise that would cost them $1 million," Mr Straus said.

For example, the Nike spec advertisement was designed to look like a $250,000 ad "but we did it for about 1% of that".

The pair accept a portfolio of three ads - one spec, one screening and one about to screen - is very modest, compared to the number of ads screening on television on a daily basis.

Like many migrants to Wanaka, they have discovered a patchwork career has been a necessity; work puts food on the table.

But they emphasise they haven't been in the production business very long.

While Mr Straus will continue to teach improvisation and Mr Simmonds will continue to film weddings, Reel Dreams is a full-time commitment.

And they are committed to using Wanaka's pool of talent in making their dreams come true.

The facts
Topher Straus
- Directs narrative and documentary films
- Films have screened at 10 international film festivals
- Directorial debut: Extra: In The Background of A Dream - screened 2002 Santa Monica International Film Festival and the 2002 Rome Independent Film Festival.
- Has now secured worldwide distribution.
- Remi Bronze Award: The Attackman - awarded at the 2007 Houston Worldfest

Darren Simmonds
- Producer several short films
- Founded Wanaka Film Trust
- Producer: Fishy Tales (2009, funding assistance from Short Film Otago)
- Director: snow sports documentary on Olympic gold medallist snowboarder Kelly Clark of the US (in progress)

More information
- Reel Dreams www.reeldreams.com
- Wanaka Film Trust www.wanakafilmtrust.blogspot.com
- Short Film Otago www.sfo.org.nz