It’s not often a child chooses their parents’ career path, but Micah Puklowski’s obsession with film meant her parents had but one option, owning a video store. The investment paid off last week when Micah won the region’s supreme award in New Zealand’s largest short film competition.
Her time-travel film ‘Gone’ competed in the V48HOURS challenge with 50 other teams from the region and scooped up four awards at the Hamilton screening on May 7 including; Best Female Director, Best All-female Team, Best Actress and overall Hamilton Winner.
“We were surprised and shocked,” Micah said. “We knew we were nominated for six awards on the night but taking out the main award? We were stoked. I’m really happy for my team.
“We competed against large teams with all the professional gear — and we were just a tiny team of four filming out the back of a car! It’s pretty amazing to get such positive exposure from the win.”
The competition challenged filmmakers to write, direct, shoot and edit a seven minute film within 48 hours and Paul Barlow the Hamilton manager of V48HOURS is pleased with the winning choice.
“We chose Micah’s film because it told a really strong story,” he explains. “It’s the type of film that you need to sit down and watch a few times, each time you watch it you get something different from it.”
Originally from Raglan, Micah is now based in Hamilton studying for her Master of Arts, but over the weekend of April 17-18 was in town with Tara Proctor and Raglan sisters (and part-time actresses), Ezra and Janet O’Connell, shooting her winning film.
From pensive gazes out over Ngarunui Beach to grizzly car crash scenes on James Street, the film developed into a haunting tale as her actresses saw into the future from a previous self perspective, which worked perfectly against a moody Raglan backdrop.
“Gone is the tenth short film I have shot in Raglan and I plan to keep shooting here,” Micah explains. “Raglan is just so beautiful, I love being able to show off our home and where we all grew up, especially places like the camping ground bridge and Wainui reserve lookout.”
The V48HOURS judges awarded Ezra, who played the film’s lead character, Best Actress after seeing her crying a picture-perfect tear drop on cue, but for Ezra it was more about the team effort.
“It was a real shock to actually win the Best Actress, although I was secretly hoping to win! I’m absolutely thrilled for the whole team and happy for Micah who has worked so hard and long for this.”
Along with her studies, Micah is working on a screenplay for the novel Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins. Micah approached the well-known American author for permission to write the screenplay as an educational project and hopes once completed to have it filmed.
Micah is proud to showcase Raglan nationally, and internationally once her film is online, and believes the local arts scene is very strong.
“Raglan has a great community of artists, musicians and locals who support each other. I love being able to give our town positive exposure.
“With the prize money I’m going to buy a high definition camera and I’ve already started writing our next creative project for Ezra and Janet to star in!”
The V48HOUR grand final will screen live on C4 at 9.30 May 20. Micah’s film was sponsored by United Video, Frankton and will be judged with seven other regional films along with three wild-card films (chosen by Peter Jackson) by a panel of international judges (their names have not been announced yet). For more information contact Micah on
Ceana Priest. Ceana is a Wintec journalism student