Sunday, October 9, 2011

Show Me Shorts

Last Flight is to appear at the Show Me Shorts Film Festival. It will be playing as part of the Unexpected Adventure collection - at 12 locations around the country!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Make MY movie!

NZ on Air and the NZ Film Commission are giving Kiwis a chance to make their own movie - competition style, and $100,000 is up for grabs. There's some great entries - but make sure you click the "like" button next to mine: PRIME MINISTERED.

It's a political satire - but mostly just comedy, and would be a heck of a lot of fun to make.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Irish Sci Fi

The National Irish Science Fiction Awards have short-listed Last Flight for their Film Awards - the Golden Blaster. Love the name!

Anyway, this marks the first international screening of Last Flight. It will be playing at National Irish Science Fiction Convention in October.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Another film festival has accepted us! I can't say which one yet, but let's hope it's the beginning of a roll!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

DCP takes over NZ

I went to an interesting talk the other night about Digital Cinema Package delivery. Basically the upshot is that most of New Zealand cinema's will have gone completely digital within another year. 35mm is dead!

DCP is basically a collection of files stored on a hard drive - which is then passed onto the cinema that will be playing the film. The resolution of these files is fantastic - currently 2 or 4k, but will no doubt soon go up to 6k and 8k (35mm is estimated to have a quality comparable to 1,500k, for what it's worth).

So whatever format you shoot in now will have to be transfered to DCP prior to being shown in cinemas. For a feature film this will cost around $10,000. This is because, though it is a purely digital process, only specific companies have the ability to convert your movie into DCP.

To do this they first convert your film into a digital master "print" that is then used to create the DCP copies. Each time you create one of these copies there is a fee - though this is considerably less that the creation of the first copy. These copies can be modified to add additional features such as subtitles (that are added "live" while the file plays, much as it does on your VLC player).

When cinemas receive their hard drive with the movie on it, they then need to wait for time-coded digital keys to arrive to unlock the content before they can play it (these keys are specified to the cinema and even the projector the movie is to play on). These keys will open the file for only as long as the distributer dictates - from a couple of hours to a few weeks, depending on the run.

All in all it's a HUGE shake-up of the way film is distributed - and soon these files will be transfered over the internet of course, and even the hard drives and usb sticks currently used will become obsolete.

One thing that bothered me was that as well as 35mm, this also means the death of e-cinema. While this in itself isn't a particular tragedy (it's unstandardised and allows all sorts of shoddy low-quality media to play), what does this mean for amateur film makers? Will cinemas still have the ability to play small indy films, and low budget affairs like Last Flight - made by directors like myself? While I certainly couldn't afford the cost of a 35mm print or conversion previously anyway, the emergence of e-cinema at least offered me access to big screens if I wanted them, and the new (much lower) price of approx $10,000 is still a roadblock.

With hindsight I wonder why is the conversion fee so high? If it is a digital process (albeit very processor hungry) what exactly are you paying for? And will it come down over time? I would be interested to know more about this. Essentially, as mentioned at the talk, this means that every film must have a distributor and be marketed. In other words, every film must be commercially viable.

None of this is new of course; it's always been a struggle to make films in New Zealand, and I suppose big business has moved to protect itself here as expected, so in some ways, perhaps it's actually in a bigger sense quite an irrelevant development.

Still, the blinkered, soulless march of big budget Hollywood movies into even more Michael Bay-like  depths - locked in with even tighter controls - doesn't sit entirely easy with me, and seems like a step back from the messy, internet-fueled, but inherently democratic window that e-cinema held up.

Anyway, enough. I'm off to see Planet of the apes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Last Night

Celluloid Sam described Last Flight as "stunning" on BFM this morning. Hear the entire discussion here. We're mentioned a little over 7 minutes in, but the whole piece is pretty fun.

Of course he also thought the movie was called "Last Night"!

But we're just grateful for the kind words.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A robot with Frikkn LAZERS

A beautiful piece of animation depicting the car-sized Mars rover that will shortly begin it's journey to Mars. Yay!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Zealand Film Festival

We're up on the NZ Film Festival website as part of the Homegrown selection Flights of Fantasy - Book your tickets!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


We've had our first acceptance! Yay - Last Flight will be playing in the Homegrown section of the NZ International Film Festival.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Just found this on line. Interesting to see how they've graded Mars. Nice landscapes too.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mars in the lens

A stunning collection of shots from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Well worth a look... here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trailer on the way!

Richard from Sunset Studios has kindly agreed to put a trailer together for Last Flight! He's going gang-busters so we should have something for you to see very soon...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The never ending story

So gotta start packaging my baby up for it's trips overseas now... to the festivals. Which means figuring out which festivals to submit it to, which isn't as easy as it sounds! There are hundreds and hundreds of them to choose from!

What I need is a festival that specializes in dark, low key, low budget, hard-scifi short films. Yeah. With huge audiences, and monetary awards. And not too much competition.

Yep, that sounds like a goer.
I bet their closing date was yesterday.

I should also get a trailer together, shouldn't I? And we need to organise a preview showing for friends and crew... This thing will never really end, will it? I see that now.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


OMG - we're finished! LAST FLIGHT IS COMPLETE!

Wow, that feels good to say. More soon, I'm off for a drink...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nearly there...

Close to being done! The music is finished and with the sound engineer. She has rough-mixed it and is polishing it up now.

So very, very close...

Next week we plan to submit it to a couple of film festivals! OMG. Then what? My life is going to be so empty.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Good grades!

The grade is done! Check out what Zane, who did the hard yard on it, has to say about the process here...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Last steps...

Getting there! Last few tweaks are being made on the sound mix and the music, and the last few shots are being graded. It's looking and sounding SWEET! Woot!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Marketing begins!

...well, it will soon, anyway! Here's a preview of some artwork I've created for festivals, dvd covers and so on.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Good grades

Here's a couple of examples of the grades that Zane is working on.
Likey likey!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Small beginnings

For your viewing pleasure, here is the comic that started it all... The Sparrow.
I'm mortified to see that I wrote and illustrated it in 2008... How long have I been working on this project?!

Anyway, The Sparrow - enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Real sunset on Mars...

Wow - the real thing (as opposed to my cg creations mentioned in earlier posts): a time-lapse sunset on Mars... Beautiful... Click the link to see it here.

Space Ball!

Found this on my drive the other day: an old animation I made. I didn't quite pull the ending off as successfully as I intended, but it's actually not too bad. :-)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New year resolutions

My New year's resolution? Well, duh! - finishing Last Flight of course.

Not that my recent progress has been supersonic; I've been a little unhappy with the shape of the film since seeing it with the first rough sound mix, and have decided to re-edit a few sequences. This has seen me remove the opening narration I introduced a few months ago and replacing it with some titles, which I think works better.

I've also reworked a couple of the seagull shots which were making me cringe every time I saw them - by replacing some of the footage with purchased material from Pond5. Cheating I guess, but it looks much better.

Most dramatically, I've removed a major scene from the film. I kind of already knew that this scene was impeding the flow of the story - but it seemed kind of pivotal - until I took it out. Now it seems like it may have been a good idea - assuming I haven't just rendered the entire movie incomprehensible! ...Which is hard for me to tell, I'm so damn close to it.

An edit has gone to Zane at Sunset Studios now for grading - so am hoping to see some concepts for the colouring of the film shortly, which I'll post up here.

Happy New Year,