48Hours movie making fun paves way for bigger opportunities for Kiwis in film industry

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"Taika saw my 48Hours film and that's how I met him, and that's how I got Hunt for the Wilderpeople," says actor Hamish Parkinson. Source: 1 NEWS

By Richard Martin

The Christchurch team Snack to the Future took out the grand prize in this year's annual 48Hours film making competition.

But it's a competition which isn't really about competing - it's more about the camaraderie of the New Zealand film community.

The winning film was A Familiar Feeling, and was the first win for Ōtautahi. The cringe comedy stars Hamish Parkinson and Phoebe Hurst as a couple who bond over a shared love of Negroni cocktails, but soon discover that they have a lot more in common.

The competition has been running for 17 years in New Zealand, first starting in 2003 as a branch of the international 48 Hour Film Project, before spinning off into an New Zealand-based competition in 2004.

Snack to the Future takes out first place in the 2019 48Hour film competition with cringe comedy, A Familiar Feeling. From left: Hamish Parkinson, Phoebe Hurst, Julian Vares. Source: Supplied

The event has become a cornerstone of the local film industry, with many filmmakers getting their start by entering.

Hollywood director Taika Waititi came runner-up in 2006 with his film Slade In Full, a war film where he played every single character, shaping his facial hair differently throughout the shoot to distinguish between them.

Auckland production company thedownlowconcept also made their name in 48Hours, winning in 2006 and 2010, before going on to make a feature length film, Gary of the Pacific in 2017.

Many see the competition as a valuable tool for breaking into the New Zealand film industry.

Hamish Parkinson featured alongside Sam Neill and Julian Dennison after meeting Taika Waititi through the 48Hours film competition. Source: Breakfast

"Taika saw my 48Hours film and that's how I met him, and that's how I got Hunt for the Wilderpeople," says Parkinson, who credits his history in 48Hours with landing him a small part in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok.

"I would think that a lot of what gigs I've gotten, more would come from doing 48Hours than from winning the Billy T."

But he adds: "48Hours is a competition, that isn't about the competition element. It's a chance for you to get immediate feedback and it's a chance for you to just have to make something."

The competition will be back in 2020. All of the films from the grand final can be viewed here.