Run is a short film about the growth and resilience of a brother and sister’s relationship. Tom, eight years and Georgie, twelve are Samoan and live in a conservative beach-side town in New Zealand during the late seventies with their widowed father. They learn that together, they have the strength to stand up to their grieving father who rules their home with fear.
DIRECTOR’S NOTES – MARK ALBISTON
“I grew up with the writer and co-creator Louis Sutherland on the Kapiti coast through the seventies and eighties and we have been solid friends ever since. We’ve wanted to write and make films as a team ever since we began working together at a small satellite cable TV channel called ONTV. ONTV was a local lifestyle channel that was part of a crazy Cable TV initiative that started up in our back yard during the nineties. We had talked about a number of ideas for films before Run. I think Run stuck because it’s an honest tale taken largely from Louis own personal experience. I wanted to make this film because its central theme is universal yes, but mostly because it was really honest. We didn’t start with a linear story but had a fist full of really interesting moments. From there we worked together to weld a plot.
Louis and I worked together on a process for the cast (which included Louis as the father) taken partly from advice given by NZ actress/director Nancy Brunning and partly from Louis’ experience at drama school.The most challenging thing about this movie was that it involved young people going on big emotional journeys. Helayna who is 11 years and Tyrrell who was 8 years had been plucked from primary schools in Porirua East. Helayna had no prior acting experience and Tyrell had had a very small part in Taika Waititi’s ‘Eagle vs Shark’. We saw their inexperience as an advantage.
We were also lucky to have the services of actress Yvette Reid who helped me to work with Helayna and Tyrrell as we tried to keep Louis’ contact with the children to a minimum before filming.
Another ‘small’ ask for Helayna was that she needed to learn how to play Fur Elise and the original score that Warryn Maxwell from ‘The Little Bushman’ had written for her to play. She needed to learn to play to a recital level in 3 weeks! I had covered the scenes so we could post the piano. Helayna was such a natural with the piano that we used 90 percent of her actual playing and the other 10 percent was only changed as we needed to shorten the film.
We had a great cast and crew on Run and they all pushed themselves to give everything for a really important story. I didn’t realise how much it took out of Helayna and Tyrrell until the last shot of our shooting week, when the wrap call was made. Helayna sat down in the cutty grass and couldn’t move for 15 minutes. Tyrrell sprinted across the sand dunes and leapt into my arms yelling “we did it! we did it!!!.”