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Grad film for Cannes

University of Auckland, Auckland, 17 March 2015: University of Auckland film graduate Linda Darby has had her Masters short film After Wonderland accepted into the Cannes Short Film Corner, as part of the 68th Festival de Cannes 2015.

After Wonderland tells the New Zealand story of an only child Alice, who struggles to stay visible in her 1960’s oddball family. She falls for the temptations of Dylan who leads her to a kind of wonderland, away from the dark truth of her parent’s double life. When Alice’s choices begin to unravel and threaten her life, her distant father emerges from his hidden war room to reconcile the damage. Alice realises a thread of hope is possible to mend their pain.

The 10-minute film is based on a true story of a rebellious youth in social realism set in the 1960’s with a strong focus on family dynamics. It has seven originally composed songs written and performed by Manaf Ibrahim, also a University of Auckland graduate. Linda has worked with Manaf as the composer on her last five short films, “all of which have been greatly anchored and enriched by his soulful scores”.

Linda submitted After Wonderland for selection this year in February. She found out about her success after the festival coordinator emailed her the news.

“I was thrilled to open the email and see I had been successful. I had to read it twice,” Linda says.

Many countries have short films selected into the Cannes Short Film Corner, which is an area where accredited guests, film buyers, film festival programmers, producers and sales agents come to watch selected short films in the digital film library and theatrettes.

The short films that are selected for the Cannes ‘Official Selection (Short Film)’
will be announced later in April.

Linda says she is particularly grateful to her cast and crew for their dedication to her film project. Many of the crew are graduate film students who have worked together on and supported each other’s films over the past three years. Because this is her Masters project, she has some crew from the film industry this year, notably her Director of Photography, Alexander Jenkins, to whom she attributes the beautiful look and tone of the film

“Working from the same page with your director of photography and first assistant director is crucial to the success of any short film,” Linda says

“A film is a collaborative effort of the cast and crew which is evident in this success for After Wonderland. We are very honoured to be representing New Zealand as part of this global collection.”

It took five 10-hour days to film, which is the allotted time for Master’s students, and all post-production was done in the media suites provided by the University’s Film, TV and Media Studies department.

The film was jointly funded by Creative Communities, Kickstarter Crowdfunding and Linda’s own company Brightspark Creative Media.

Linda has been a writer, director and producer of short films over the past five years. Her company, Brightspark Creative Media Ltd has received 11 rounds of Grant funding since 2003 from the local branch of Creative New Zealand; Creative Communities in Manukau.

Linda successfully applied for two grants for After Wonderland technical and post-production funding. “My partnership with Creative Communities has been a huge support to my artistic growth which began with live puppet theatre in 2003 before developing into moving image work in 2008, and then into short film dramas.”

She currently works as Arts Coordinator at Pakuranga College and lives in the Eastern suburbs with her husband David and three school age children, Jacob, Lucy and Ethan. All her family has in some way or other been involved in her films or, in the case of her husband, done catering while in production.

She has a Bachelor of Arts (HONS), Screen Production and completed a Master of Arts (M.A.), Directing Drama, both at the University of Auckland.

As part of BA HONS in 2012, two short films Mackeral and Velveteen were completed, both of which have had success in local and national festivals. Velveteen was selected for the Hong Kong NZ Film Festival in 2013.

Linda is very grateful to her University supervisors Professor Annie Goldson and Dr Shuchi Kothari for their guidance, and the practical hands-on tech support of Peter Simpson, Martin Hansen and Graeme Bibby.

Linda is going to attend the Festival de Cannes this May and is looking at crowd funding to ensure she gets there. Please see https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/3283-get-a-kiwi-film-maker-to-cannes

You can read about After Wonderland here: http://aliceshortfilm.blogspot.co.nz/

To view a trailer of the film please click here: