02 Mar 2010

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Local filmmaker takes a crack at directing Kiwi gems

Local filmmaker, Jamie Lawrence, is shooting his second short film this week titled Darryn Exists, financed by the Screen Innovation Production Fund (a partnership between the New Zealand Film Commission and Creative New Zealand). The film stars Ginette McDonald and Jed Brophy, two of New Zealand's most intrinsically Kiwi actors.

The film is a surreal black comedy about a woman named Penelope who goes on a quest to find the love of her life. But the truth she discovers is that you don't have to rely on other people to make you happy, that finding love begins with making the choice to love yourself. "To me the story of Darryn Exists captures what it is to become discombobulated in life and by love as we 'grow-up'. At the core of each strange, often comic tale of life, lies the basic human need for love and understanding," describes Lawrence.

Penelope is played by actress Anna Kennedy, most well known for her appearance as Sue in Target for many years and as Wanda, the evil make-up woman in both What Now TV and Wanda's Way. She most recently immortalized the voice of Kaz the bunny in the Telecom Campaign Clever Toys. Jeremy Randerson, Kate McGill, and Liz Mullane also star in the film.

"I don't think it's a sure thing that we will find love before we die. But we all go looking for it, one way or another, however secretly. That's pretty much our instinctive mission. To love and be loved in return. What is sure to me now, is that the most important love is the kind of love we have for ourselves. Yeah, it's a bit corny, but it's a notion that exists for a reason. I think self worth is something extremely critical to our own survival," expresses Lawrence.

Jamie's career as a filmmaker began after he graduated from the South Seas Film & Television School in 2002. His debut effort Somewhere Only We Know, is a self funded short film set in wartime New Zealand, about a man and woman who fall in love with the same woman. The film was an audience favourite at the Out Takes Film Festival this year and most notably received the Nicolas Baudin Award for Best Antipodes Short Film in France. He won a scholarship to attend the esteemed film academy NYFA in New York and fundraised $30,000 to get there. He invited companies to sponsor him and pin their name on the back of a t-shirt under the heading 'They Have My Back!' Jamie wore it everyday in the Big Apple for five months, acting as a walking talking billboard for his sponsors: Contact Energy, Wingnut Films, Museum Hotel, Park Road Post Production, Sweeney Vesty and House of Travel.

He worked closely with James Cameron on Avatar as his Driver/P.A. and with Stanley Tucci on The Lovely Bones.

Producers, Kelly Kilgour and Bonnie Slater commented that, "Jamie's enthusiasm for this project is infectious, his drive and vision for the film has helped us get the film made the despite the budget not reaching far enough to pay cast or crewNew Zealand filmmakers are not always in a position to pay people, but in this case, Jamie had something important to say. His script is poignant and original, he has captured our imagination and we can only hope that we can provide him with the resources to make his vision a reality". Rubber Monkey, Portsmouth and Park Road Post have kindly provided the resources to make the film happen.

Darryn Exists will be Jamie's first project since returning from the Big Apple.