Q'town teen wins film award after being secretly entered by teacher

When a letter was handed to a Wakatipu High schooler in the pouring rain at Branches Camp he had no idea what it was about.

A moment later and Kane Viggers was elated — winning New Zealand On Screen’s ScreenTest schools’ comp after his teacher secretly entered him.

Jennifer Smart had encouraged the budding filmmaker to enter the national competition, but he’d shied away having not come up with any movies to match this year’s theme of ‘justice’.

Kane, 15, still had no intention of entering the comp when he was later struck with a moment of inspiration, exaggerating his own misery to formulate the plot of a short film called Miss You.

‘‘About two years ago my dad moved to Australia for a job … having a father in another country isn’t as easy as it sounds and you miss him,’’ he says.

‘‘Then I was at my friend’s place one day and wanted to make a film … I was thinking, ‘what can I write about that is sad?’ … I thought, ‘well, my dad is gone and I miss him’, so I took it further and pretended he had died.’’

Kane Viggers staring in his film 'Miss You'. Phot / NZ On Screen
Kane Viggers staring in his film 'Miss You'. Phot / NZ On Screen

Within two hours of starting the project, Kane storyboarded, shot and edited the piece on his own using a camera and tripod.

He released it on his YouTube channel and his teacher spotted it.

The judges were most impressed by the maturity of the piece and his ability to tell the story with clarity.

Kane, who’s already got another two projects in the pipeline, will now fly up to Wellington to spend time with film production teams from the Weta Group.

They previously worked on blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor and The Hobbit.

Kane follows in the footsteps of another Wakatipu High youngster, Lachie Clark, who won the ScreenTest competition in 2018 with Alone.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz

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