Film Raro Premier – Cook Islands talent revealed!
There was no red carpet, no paparazzi and no major fanfare. But for the hundreds that turned up at the Auckland premiere of Film Raro’s seven short films, it was a night to remember.<!--more--> The Film Raro International Film festival was part of the inaugural Cook Islands Constitution Day celebrations held at the Vodafone Events Centre Manukau in Auckland.
Pacific Islands Trade & Invests’ Auckland offices had a role to play in the event that has been hailed an international success in the world of short films. (PT&I funded the website that helped filmmakers from all over the world put in their bids and ideas to participate in the unique event).
The uniquely innovative event has projected the picturesque Cook Islands to the world filmmaking fraternity as an excellent location for filming and even post-production, with an abundance of local talent for several aspects of the creative trade.
Despite the chilly midwinter evening, the VIPs were warmed by the welcome from the Auckland based Film Raro Executive Stan Wolfgramm, sponsor <b>Pacific Islands Trade & Invest</b> Trade Commissioner Adam Denniss and Auckland Supercity Mayor Len Brown.
Formalities done, several hundred people filled the event centre eagerly anticipating the films. The first short film by Stan Wolfgramm featuring school children talked about what is a Cook Islands kid. Local children spoke shyly but candidly about what they loved most – their family and what they disliked most – family fighting, it was a poignant start.
The next six films were a feast of talent cast from local auditions. Wolfgramm hosted the Film Raro film making class at the high school a few months before the start of the competition. The classes attracted 40 students to learn all about filmmaking. By the time the international teams arrived, people were well prepared for their roles. With their buy in, came buy in from their families and that brought together their communities.
Film director and producer Karin Williams whose short film documentary Mou Piri captured the hearts of the audience talking of the origins and meaning of the iconic Cook Islands love song Mou Piri with the commentary and beautiful twilight beachfront shots of swaying dancers.
The next short film by David Gould, The Seed, was a charming tale of a young New Zealand boy who comes to Rarotonga under protest, for his mother’s wedding to her new partner.
Next was ‘Islands’ by the British filmmaker Jatinder Hayer’s – a silent tale about a young woman who decides between a destructive relationship and moving on to another.
Director Marcus Hamill’s lighthearted Dog Save the Queen and Hawaiian filmmaker Erin Lau’s about domestic violence Little Girl’s War Cry proved that talent starts young in the Cook Islands.
But the stars also aligned for the film The Offshore Pirate from Webster and Robert Stone of the Gone in 60 seconds fame and The Conspirator movies. The first time local lead actors Alex Olah’s and Joyana Myer’s performances sparkled but it was 27 year old Olah’s magnetic charisma that screamed potential.
The Offshore Pirate, loosely based on the Scott F. Fitzgerald short story had all the hallmarks of a rollicking good Hollywood movie. Pirates, a yacht, a police chase and a little romance between the beautiful but spoiled socialite played by Joyana Myer and modern day pirate Alex Olah.
The pair was so convincing it prompted the Hollywood film producer to say, in a piece to camera before leaving Rarotonga, there were three people from his film that could have acting careers if they chose to.
Although the experience was at times trying, they had produced a film that would have cost between $5-10 million to produce in Hollywood, they were proud of their film and he would be back.