Students' film aimed at building careers

Sophie Worner, who plays the lead in short film M.U.M as a toy factory employee, holds her...
Sophie Worner, who plays the lead in short film M.U.M as a toy factory employee, holds her character prop at Invercargill's Southern Institute of Technology. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A face-off between a toy factory employee and an over-controlling health and safety machine plays out in a new short film made by Southlanders.

Students from the Southern Institute of Technology created the film, M.U.M, with the goal of getting their project into national and international film festivals.

A group of 17 students from the polytech, worked together with fashion designers, sound engineers and composers.

The story follows film lead and toy factory worker Sophie, after her boss introduces a system in the hopes of increasing business productivity - the "Minimising Undue Misfortune'' bot.

With M.U.M making it impossible for her to do her job, Sophie decided to take it on.

After more than five months of planning, production and post-production, the crew will host its first screening next Friday, at Centrestage in Invercargill.

A strong cast includes lead actress Sophie Worner, who had previously acted in Grease and Wicked, as well as Conrad Broad, who was an actor in the Shakespeare Pop-Up Globe.

Neon Shrimp Productions producer Jacqui Bree said it was a "big endeavour''.

"It had a really long journey from the original idea, which was to make a cutesy Pixar-style film. It took about eight weeks to develop and sharpen down to what we have now.''

She said they were "very lucky'' to have help from New Zealand author and performer Duncan Sarkies, who had worked on the likes of Scarfies, Two Little Boys and Flight of the Conchords.

Animation student and art director Nik Bartlett said the venture was a learning experience for everyone.

"We kind of came in without proper knowledge of all of the software that we were working with, so it's been literally figuring out how things work as a team.''

Ms Bree said it was one of the biggest productions she and many of the team had worked on.

"It's really a launchpad for the rest of our careers. We plan to submit it to as many national and international film festivals as we can.''

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