University of Otago, Dunedin, 18 July 2014: Recent film-making graduate Ashwika Kapur has hit the big time with her documentary ‘From Dud to Stud’, about Sirocco the kakapo, who is the only bird in the world with a government position.
Ash’s film has been selected as one of three finalists in the Newcomer section of one of the world’s most prestigious wildlife and environmental film festivals, WildScreen.
The film, made as part of her Postgraduate Diploma course in Natural History Film-making and Communication at Otago’s Centre for Science Communication, follows the intriguing life of Sirocco, who is New Zealand’s only animal ambassador.
Ash says that when she came across Sirocco’s story, it was one of those things; this story was a classic and she simply knew this was the documentary she had to make.
Sirocco caught a respiratory illness at three weeks old and treatment required being hand-raised and kept apart from other kakapo. As a result he became imprinted on humans and thinks he is one. In 2010, after several years taking part in conservation awareness efforts, he was named “Official Spokesbird for Conservation” by Prime Minister John Key.
“Sirocco is irresistibly endearing, cheekier than a monkey and remarkably bizarre in his mannerisms. He is an extraordinary character and his story is equally extraordinary; a true-blue ‘rag to riches’ tale, as it were. My film sets out to tell that story; the weird and wonderful tale of a kakapo catapulted, by a strange chain of events, to superstardom,” she says.
She’s currently working as an Associate Producer on NHNZ’s new ‘India’ series but plans to take a few days off from that hectic schedule to get to the WildScreen Festival in Bristol in October.
“Of course I hope to win the category, but just being at WildScreen will allow me a fantastic opportunity to network with the hundreds of producers and directors who attend,” she says.
Following the festival, Sirocco will be sharing the “global online premiere” of the film with his thousands of fans around the world.
‘From Dud to Stud’ furthers a long history of success for the Centre of Science Communication at WildScreen. The Centre has had its student films accepted as finalists in the Newcomer category in four of the last five festivals, and one took this Award in 2006.
Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eoVKmhCSFE