Making a horror film with friends

The last time I was involved in a fringe arts festival, it was as part of one of the international arts festivals in Wellington  in the 90s.

We rehearsed for months, unleashing a 50-voice jazz choir on what turned out to be an appreciative audience.

Hard work but so thrilling!

This year, I’ve found myself swept up in feverish excitement as friends talk about the Fringe Village that’s going to be taking over the Historic Village during the Tauranga Arts Festival.

My friend and film director Jimi Colzato was suddenly needing to know what final information to put into the credits for a short art house film some of us had made.

Every time I phoned another friend and art director Jannine Spiers, we ended up talking Fringe Festival, and I found the buzz was becoming infectious.

Finally Jimi made the announcement.

“We’re going to premiere ‘Play Me’ at the Fringe  Village Festival!”

Last year Jimi, Jannine, myself and others worked hard over a weekend to make ‘Play Me’, a short film written by Phoenix Cross, giving local acting talent and crew an opportunity to flex our filming muscles.

Of course ‘over a weekend’ means we did the actual filming over an actual weekend, but the pre-filming and post-production has been spread over many months.

Produced and directed by Jimi we ended up with a rather wonderful short horror film.

My job finding locations was a mission. Ideally we wanted an old decrepit building in Tauranga. It sounds easy, but Tauranga has pulled down many of its older buildings. Eventually we went back to Jimi’s first choice – the back of Amphora restaurant on The Strand, which has now been pulled down. It was perfect. Jannine of course brought her art design magic.

Our captain and leader Jimi had us up at dawn rehearsing one weekend and then we set a date for filming, overlooking that daylight saving was due to begin the same day.

Goodwill and camaraderie is high amongst a film crew and we were sustained by pizza and coffee.

Actors Shane Murphy, Adam Curlewis, Shaye Paki, Daniel Bechir Urrizaga and Nathan Brewer joined Phoenix on the screen, although we later left Daniel on the cutting floor! Behind the camera were Amanda Aitken, Theresa Barnes, Flynn Harris, Rose Allan, Ignacio Gatti-Blair, and Jannine, Jimi and myself and we had help from Gary Benner.  

We also took over Nigel and Betty Kurzfeld’s  back garden and outside room, although I don’t  think I actually told them we were making a little arthouse horror.

The idea of a Fringe Village is to provide a safe space for people who just want to perform, exhibit or act whatever their own ‘thing’ is in a supportive environment.

Now we get to join in with the other visual artists, theatre, dance, fashion, music, comedy, digital art, storytelling, spoken word, musical theatre, burlesque, street art, street theatre, talks and workshops, activations, cosplay artists, steam-punkers, frolickers, beat poets, buskers, dark cabaret, installations, disruptive artists, player of games, magicians, poets, zine makers, writers and actors.

The Fringe Village is on Saturday, October 26.