Hokianga teen's film picked for festival

By Mikaela Collins

Editing mentor Cushla Dillon, writer and director Qianna Titore, writing mentor Michael Bennett and producer Eloise Veber.
Editing mentor Cushla Dillon, writer and director Qianna Titore, writing mentor Michael Bennett and producer Eloise Veber.

Qianna Titore's short film started with a vision of a mother in a hospital bed and grew into an eight-minute piece to be screened at a prestigious film festival.

The Hokianga teenager was only 16 when the film was made last year and is believed to be the youngest filmmaker ever selected for the New Zealand International Film Festival.
"I'm really excited. The opportunity to meet other filmmakers - it's good exposure for me. My family is in tears as well."

The film, titled NATALIE, was written and directed by Qianna, who is now 17, with guidance from the Script to Screen team during a storytelling workshop held in Whirinaki last year.

Participants were asked to create a story they thought could be made into a film within five days after the workshop.

"When they said make up any story that comes to your head ... my mother was ill during the time of the workshop so I thought of her.

"I just kept writing and the story came together."

Under the guidance of screenwriting mentor Michael Bennett, Qianna spent six hours writing the script, three days filming, one day editing, andthe film was shown on the final day.

NATALIE is focused on a mother and daughter and although only short, it pulls at the heartstrings, and includes twists.

It was filmed in Hokianga and features local actors who helped put the film together, including mother and daughter Joanna Wikaira and Julina Wikaira, who played the mother and daughter.

A still from the film featuring lead actor Julina Wikaira.
A still from the film featuring lead actor Julina Wikaira.

"When I saw the film for the first time I was in tears. During this process I was so amazed a film like that came together," Qianna said.

The film will screen at the festival in Auckland on Saturday, July 22, as part of the Nga Whanaunga Maori Pasifika Shorts section.

Qianna said she was keen to make more short films and wanted to pursue filmmaking as a career.

"I really enjoy writing and filming is a better way to communicate ideas and tell [a story] visually."

NATALIE has also been screened at the Wairoa Film Festival, where it won the award for community contribution to Maori filmmaking.

- Northern Advocate

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