Low-budget feature film Fantail is proving a success both at the New Zealand International Film Festival and across the Tasman, screening in the MIFF 37 Degrees South Market's Breakthru Screenings programme and receiving critical praise following its world premiere in Auckland.
Fantail was made through the New Zealand Film Commission's Escalator scheme, a three year initiative designed to help turn creative filmmaking ideas into low-budget feature films with a budget of up to $250,000.
Starting out as the one-woman play of writer/lead actress Sophie Henderson, Fantail (directed by Curtis Vowell) tells the story of Tania, a girl who thinks she's Maori. Tania works the graveyard shift at a petrol station, trying to save money to take her brother to Surfers to find their dad.
Praise from New Zealand critics:
"Fantail feels like one of the freshest New Zealand films to come along in years ... It's very easy to picture an international audience embracing this film - the insights, performances and mood are all world class." - Dominic Corry, NZ Herald
"A fascinating and brave film anchored by Sophie Henderson’s Kidman-esque performance ... Curtis Vowell’s direction lends a refreshing lightness to a story that both embraces and critiques New Zealand culture, and what that term actually means." - Sam Brooks, The Lumiere Reader
"It's the best New Zealand film I've seen this year." - Simon Morris, Radio NZ
"Fresh, appealing characters written with insight and affection ... It’s funny and dark and sad, and I predict this local low-budgeter will connect with an enthusiastic audience." - Helene Wong, The Listener, Top 5 festival pick
"A distinctly New Zealand film that doesn’t shy away from the grit ... A stunning, altogether visceral example of local cinematic talent." - Denizen Magazine
Fantail will have its Wellington premiere this Friday 9 August at the Paramount Theatre.
More information available at the NZIFF website.