Three Axemen. Three tall wooden posts. An epic battle between young and old.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT - Grant Lahood
“For years I’ve been amazed by the sport of competitive woodchopping. This mainstay of A&P shows around New Zealand combines great physical strength and incredible grace to create an exciting spectacle. Most impressive and difficult of the woodchopping disciplines is the one known as Tree Felling. The object of this event is to climb a five metre pole by cutting holes and placing special tree boards in the notches to ascend the tree in a spiral fashion. Whilst balancing on the top board, the axeman concludes by chopping all the way through a block of wood. The event requires great skill and stamina and requires years of practice to perfect.
This unique activity provided a great subject for a very cinematic short film. One that combined well-choreographed and photographed movement with an exciting narrative. All topped off by a big ending…
Our storyline pitches youth against experience. A Veteran of the sport comes up against two cocky young Axemen and has to draw on all his skill and know-how to try and win.
Woodchopping is an inherently masculine sport that carries with it a strong sense of history and pioneering spirit. It comes from a time when men were men and cutting down a tree required a lot of physical activity. This macho characteristic is central to our drama. Woodchopping in general, and tree felling in particular, is not the sort of activity to be taken on by anyone other than an expert. Our two young athletes very quickly perceive their unknown opponent as an old relic who shouldn’t be in the same contest as them.
Will he prove them wrong or not?
As I researched this film, it was immediately obvious that genuine Axemen rather than Actors would be required to play the main roles. This set me off on a hunt to find three ‘real men’ who could not only handle the physical requirements of the part, but also deliver credible and compelling performances. I’m thrilled with all three I found to play the parts, but the real discovery was 60 year old Terry Wilkins from Mamaku, who not only coped with the great demands of the tree felling event, but also did all his own stunts – all while looking like a real movie star!”