Young actor Zooms into role

Dunedin actor Ruby Walton (14) who will appear in a short film. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Dunedin actor Ruby Walton (14) who will appear in a short film. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Coronavirus alert level restrictions meant a long wait before young Dunedin actor Ruby Walton knew she had won a lead role in a short film to be shot in Central Otago.

Ruby (14), a year 10 pupil at Bayfield High School, will play the role of Lucy in the film, titled The Finding, which is to be shot in July.

"I’m very excited.

"It’s the biggest role I’ve ever had," she said.

She initially took part in a live audition early in the year, but the coronavirus restrictions meant her later follow-up performances were done via Zoom.

This will be one of the first film projects to start production in the Otago region since lockdown began.

The short drama is written and directed by Auckland film-maker, and former Dunedin resident Rebecca Tansley.

It tells the story of a teenage girl’s efforts to reconnect with her estranged father in a winter setting.

Ms Tansley said that, in terms of weather, there was only "a narrow window of time" to shoot the film, and the crew might be the only ones "praying for icy conditions as well as a reduction in the Covid-19 alert level".

Sara Georgie, of Dunedin, was also cast via online audition.

She has been an actor, director and choreographer for 15 years, and appeared in 13 productions at the Fortune Theatre.

The film’s cast and crew were mostly from Otago-Southland and the project aimed to show Dunedin was a good place to make films, Ms Tansley said.

She is best known for feature documentaries Crossing Rachmaninoff and The Heart Dances.

With this film, she returns to drama, and to Central Otago, having also shot her 2009 short film Eden there, during summer.

The Finding is produced by Tansley and Dunedin film-maker Sue Marshall.

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