A student-directed short film about short films

With many photographers rapidly making a move into the world of video and film, it’s always very interesting to see what’s being created in the industry. One film we have discovered is SAE Institute New Zealand film arts student Nic Brookland’s short documentary called The Small Short.

During the documentary, viewers get to see and hear Kiwi directors and actors discuss the topic of short film. “The main focus was going to be on seven Kiwi short-film directors who have established themselves, but we thought it would be great to bookend the questions with an actor’s point of view, too. So we roped in a handful [of actors] as well. There are three SAE alumni who appear in there as well: Nicole Chen, Warren Mahani, and Evan Paea,” Brookland explains.

The documentary was filmed throughout Auckland with several of the interviewees “filmed in their natural environment”. It took much of 2016 to complete the film, as there was a bit of coaxing and wrangling that needed to be done to get camera time with each of the creatives set to appear in the film. “Naturally, getting all these busy actors, producers, and directors in one room at the same time wasn't going to happen, so we took our time until we could drag them from their cameras and computers,” Brookland says. “[We were] aiming to get an understanding of what’s so attractive about short films, what are some of the pitfalls, and a few glimpses at Kiwi actors and directors who have used short film to get [to] where they are in their career. I was as curious to hear the answers as the boom guy and cameraman — we were all waiting to see what the subjects were going to say.”

Interviewing Robby Peters

The response that Brookland received from those he approached to be involved was upbeat and keen — something that enabled him and his team to capture great viewing moments: “I had worked with a few of the individuals on projects before, and they were more than happy to give up their time and weigh in on short film in a candid, honest way. Those who we hadn't worked with seemed more than hooked by the idea and were also happy to take time and answer a few questions on camera.”

The film, which was produced by Brookland’s own production squad, is to be entered into film festivals once it’s received some finishing touches.

He says, “It is a great info piece for film students or film fans wanting to learn what short film is really like from people who have been involved with short films for many years, had award-winning short films in Tropfest, [have been] selected for [the New Zealand International Film Festival], and other overseas-based festivals. Students and young film-makers get to hear from successful individuals who were in their shoes not so long ago.”


Lara Wyatt

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