Film’s maker hails support from Otago

A short film made in Dunedin detailing an elderly man’s survival during a harsh winter is appearing around the globe.

Winter's Blight, which was animated entirely in stop-motion by Dunedin production company Shine On Films, has been featured in international film festivals since it premiered in 2019.

But none of that would have been possible without support from Short Film Otago, the film’s director Claire Campbell said.

Sitting in the editing suite, producer Jon Wilson is proud of his team’s award-winning short film...
Sitting in the editing suite, producer Jon Wilson is proud of his team’s award-winning short film Winter’s Blight. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The film was screened as part of a private showcase in Dunedin on Thursday night, alongside other local short films.

It has featured in 20 international film festivals, such as the Montreal Film Festival and the Berlin Animation Film Festival.

It won best animation at the 2019 Yucca Valley Film Festival in California.

Production began in 2016, after director and animator Campbell pitched the film to Short Film Otago, an organisation focused on supporting local film-makers.

Short Film Otago requires film-makers to reside in Dunedin or have strong family ties to Otago. Any film funded by it must be shot in Otago.

The organisation is primarily funded by the Otago Community Trust.

Ms Campbell said the film probably would not have been possible without the funding.

"I don’t think I would have ever undertaken something so ambitious without it."

Producer and cinematographer Jon Wilson said Short Film Otago supplied Shine On Films $8500 to begin with, and a little more once the film was complete.

He said the budget for the film was either "brave or crazy".

"We had to decide whether to rush through the film and get it done, or to commit our time and screw the schedule to create a film that we’re really proud of."

Mr Wilson said he was grateful that Short Film Otago trusted its team as film-makers to get the work done.

"It was kind of mad from a producer point of view. We knew we were pushing our luck."

His employer, Otago Polytechnic, paid them to create a multiplane camera that was used in the film, and is now used at the polytechnic.

And the Dunedin City Council helped with marketing.

Short Film Otago chairman Tom Koykka said projects such as Winter’s Blight were what Short Film Otago was all about, and he hoped it would inspire others.


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