'The little film that could'

Producer Aaron Watson yesterday reviews his film <i>In Safe Hands,</i>  which will have its world...
Producer Aaron Watson yesterday reviews his film <i>In Safe Hands,</i> which will have its world premiere in the New Zealand International Film Festival. Photo by Jane Dawber.
A Dunedin film-maker is looking forward to the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival, which starts next week.

Sabertooth Films producer Aaron Watson will finally see the world premiere of his film In Safe Hands on the big screen.

"We couldn't have done this film anywhere else but Dunedin," Mr Watson said yesterday.

"Just about all the cast and crew were from Dunedin and Queenstown. The Southern Trust gave us a $3000 seeding grant to get going, Brett Mills, who does all the big Hollywood shoots in Queenstown, gave us a full lighting truck, a top-of-the-line camera and two of his technicians for a week. Everyone came to the party.

"Gillions gave us a coffin and even Dunedin Hospital shut down a floor for us for a day. Then Peter Jackson's Park Road Post gave us four days' free post-production between doing Tintin and The Hobbit. We ended up making a $120,000 film for $3000. It was the little film that could," he said.

In Safe Hands is an 11-minute dramatisation of the 2002 Greenlane Heart Registry controversy, in which dead infants' hearts were collected without the knowledge of their parents.

"Dunedin is the best place to do a film, because we have all this great architecture and beautiful, natural locations and you can get everywhere really quickly."

In Safe Hands was filmed in Dunedin and Central Otago in April and May 2010, and features Dunedin actors Victoria Bernard, David Corballis, Kay Thompson, Nadia Shaw Bennett, Clare Adams, Adrian Moore and Mr Watson.

Mr Watson formed Sabertooth Films last year, after filming television documentaries with comedian Te Radar in East Timor, Israel and Palestine.

The production company has completed four short films, which have screened in international film festivals in Germany, Russia, Japan, France and the United States.

Mr Watson is also developing two feature films with the New Zealand Film Commission and has television docomentaries in production on Dunedin band The Clean and Team Gallagher's row across the Tasman Sea.

In Safe Hands will screen at the Rialto on August 9, 11 and 13.

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz


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