Film about kakapo makes finals

A University of Otago student documentary telling the ''rags to riches'' story of Sirocco the kakapo has made the finals at an international film festival.

Recent Otago University film-making graduate Ashwika Kapur's film From Dud to Stud was selected as a finalist for the ''newcomers award'' by the natural history film festival WildScreen.

Her film follows the life of Sirocco, who is New Zealand's only animal ambassador.

Ms Kapur said when she came across Sirocco's story she knew this was the documentary she wanted to make.

''Sirocco is irresistibly endearing, cheekier than a monkey and remarkably bizarre in his mannerisms.

''He is an extraordinary character and his story is equally extraordinary; a true-blue 'rags to riches' tale, as it were.

''My film sets out to tell that story; the weird and wonderful tale of a kakapo catapulted, by a strange chain of events, to superstardom,'' she said.

The film was made as part of her postgraduate diploma course in natural history film-making and communication at Otago's Centre for Science Communication.

Sirocco had to be hand-raised and kept from other kakapo.

As a result he became imprinted on humans and thinks he is one.

In 2010, after several years taking part in conservation awareness efforts, he was named ''Official Spokesbird for Conservation'' by Prime Minister John Key.

Ms Kapur is working as an associate producer on NHNZ's new India series, but plans to take a few days off to attend the WildScreen Festival in Bristol in October.