The first week is now underway for the filming of this independent feature being filmed in Auckland, New Zealand. The entire crew hit the ground running on the first day and everyone is showing their excitement as the style, playback, look and feel of the film is very cool!
What I know about most artists is that they tend not to live regular lifestyles. They bring their work home and dream of it, often sacrificing a normal life to pursue their passion to the highest degree. However, not every project an actor works on is a project they dream about working on. This independent, feature-film that I am witnessing now in Auckland is what every artist dreams about working on.
This is a collaboration of two childhood friends, Shiloh & Mardana, that grew up together in Mendocino County in Northern California. Shiloh & Mardana wrote this screenplay together and then organized a very talented crew in just one month. I can see they are both happy to finally be able to work on a feature-film together.
After filming some very intense, emotional scenes last night, the cast & crew embraced as they realized they are creating something they love at a very high-caliber. It is a combination of the shooting style and the performances that can often unpredictably blossom in a creative setting such as this independent film. I can see that the actors are excited about the way the film is being shot and how it looks in playback, while the director & director of photography are thrilled by the performances. They are all energized as they complement their abilities of telling a story in an interesting way.
Although Mardana and Shiloh wrote the screenplay together and know the exact direction of the film, they both understand the importance of allowing performances to evolve organically. This process allows actors to naturally enhance an emotional scene by following their character’s instincts. There can be realizations of truth that happen when creating and telling a story, especially when the storytellers, actors, crew, & director – have such a great working relationship. Creativity flourishes when it is free and it is often free and easy with friends that you trust and respect.
Shiloh explained to me that this is what it’s all about, to do what you love with great friends that you love. This project does just that with the story, performances, and even the music, as one of the lead actors, Graham Candy, plays guitar and has a beautiful singing voice that almost eerily echoes the angelic voice of the late Jeff Buckley.
Although it is only the first week of filming, Shiloh and Mardana are raving about their Director of Photography, Jake Bryant. Jake is one of those DPs that you feel very grateful to work with and have on your team. He is one of the reasons why this film is going to be so great.
The industry and audiences sometimes confuse big-budget films with great movies. However, great movies evolve out of great stories with emotional performances from talented actors that can naturally capture an audience. That is why independent films can be so fantastic.
The director, Mardana, often explains how he is thrilled to be working with such gifted talent. He is referring to his good friend and talented collaborator, Shiloh Fernandez, and also Keisha Castle-Hughes. Both actors have a long list of movie credits to their names. Keisha Castle-Hughes has previously been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, the youngest actress to ever receive the nomination.
Mardana is also excited about other members of the mostly Kiwi cast, which include supporting actress from New Zealand, Amanda Titto, and lead actor, Graham Candy. Graham stumbled into the acting roll when he accidently met Shiloh while performing live music in a cafe bar in Auckland. Graham and Shiloh are acting out a scene together in the following photo.
This feature film will be shot over a period of about twenty days. I am excited to be witness to this amazing project with such a great crew! Now you know this is why they do what they do.