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Horror run for young Raglan film-maker

They say the early bird catches the worm — except in Micah Puklowski’s case it was the biggest break of her fledgling career as a film-maker. Earlier this year 26-year-old Micah, a self confessed “night owl”, was checking out creative jobs online at four o’clock one morning. And now, five months down the track, she’s got a German producer funding her horror film — The Deviation — written two years ago while she was still an honours student in media arts at Wintec.

Micah, who’s grown up in Raglan and went to the local area school, says that when the ad for a new New Zealand horror script caught her eye in the wee hours, she was busy writing another script to complete her masters degree. But “I was in the (right) headspace”, says Micah who thought she might as well try her luck and answer the ad.

So she emailed her edited script to Michael Kraetzer in Germany — and less than a week later heard back from the producer. He was keen to work with and develop her idea, which has four siblings driving home over the divvy to Raglan when tragedy strikes. She also made a brief trailer or “teaser” from the script, admitting she’s one of those “annoying people” who loves to do it all — writing, editing, shooting, directing. A lot has changed from her original script, with drafts and re-drafts, but now the movie is heading within the month into its “pre-production” phase in which a film crew is assembled and casting decisions are made.

The producer is due in the country in a month or two, says Micah, and is aiming for a low-budget film with a short two-week shoot in Raglan come October. “It’s very exciting to get my very first script ever written to be produced and made into a movie,” she says. “It’s pretty huge.”

Micah’s already got a string of movies and DVDs behind her from the past five years as a student but nothing of quite the magnitude she’s looking at now. She says the German producer is intent on making multiple movies for distribution and entering them in overseas film festivals. He’s warned her not to expect money so much at this stage as travel opportunities to promote the movie. And while it could all “fall apart”, adds Micah realistically, the ultimate goal if the movie does well overseas is to release it in New Zealand and pick up a distributor.

For Micah it’s a “great first opportunity” for a budding film career. She also has behind her the Kiwi director David Blyth, whose movies “Angel Mine” and “Death Warmed Over” have recently been re-released on DVD as horror classics. With David’s support, she’s hoping to have a real hands-on role when it comes to production of her own movie and wants Raglan local 12-year-old Ariana Brunet — who last year starred in the “This Is Not Your Life” primetime television series — to star too in The Deviation. “I wrote her into my script (specially),” says Micah, impressed with the young talent after meeting her through Raglan Film Festival at the Old School Arts Centre in October last year.

At the same event, locals Ezra Andre and younger sister Janet O’Connell starred n Micah’s short horror film “Gone”, which had won the annual V 48 Hour Film Festival for Hamilton and took national best all-girls’ team. Ezra and her brother Josiah O’Connell also star in the trailer of The Deviation which can be viewed on Micah’s website at .

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