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Hobo with a Shotgun eyes Unnatural History

Dutch actor Rutger Hauer will head Locarno’s Pardi di Domani jury, assessing films from directors “who have not yet completed their first full-length feature”. Alex Backhouse’s Unnatural History is in the sights.

Funded in 2012 under the NZFC’s Fresh Shorts scheme, Unnatural History scored $10,000 which it supplemented with a little over $2,000 raised through a PledgeMe campaign.

The pseudo-doco is a story of disappearances and forbidden knowledge, centred around the Rangipo Desert – where in 1979 a series of bizarre ‘energy field’ experiments were conducted by Theo Velasquez, American-born author and amateur physicist.

The short is Backhouse’s first, although he’s well-used to short form content, having worked as an editor on NZ On Screen’s ScreenTalk interview series. His debut short is also screening closer to home in this year’s NZIFF, playing ahead of Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy.

Unnatural History

Alex Backhouse explores Unnatural History

One Australian title gets a run out in Locarno. Scott Hicks’ 1995 Shine screens as part of the programme of films showcasing the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, German actor Armin Mueller-Stahl.

Locarno runs 6 – 16 August.