Another NZ Short Film selected for Venice

31 08 2007

Cargo New Zealand Short Film
Cargo New Zealand Short Film
A second New Zealand short film has been selected for competition of the 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival. Cargo, a short film written and directed by a New Zealander and shot in Prague will have its world premiere with Coffee & Allah at the prestigious festival this month.

Cargo portrays a young boy’s descent into the world of child trafficking. Director Leo Woodhead remembers the moment the idea for Cargo popped into his head. “A friend of mine was writing a script about restorative justice, and we got to talking about amnesty international and current topics in Europe. It was around the time of the Football World Cup in Germany, and there were a lot of reports about ‘legal’ brothels being set up to accommodate the whims of travelling fans. I got in touch with Amnesty and also La Strada, an organization that helps women and children without rights in countries like the Czech Republic, and they gave me some stories and facts to look over. “

Woodhead wrote and directed Cargo as his master thesis project. “It came as quite a shock to be invited into competition at Venice, especially as this was the first festival I submitted the film to! It was such an unbelievably stressful experience making the film in a foreign country, but I had great support from the Czech cinematographer who shot the film, Martin Preiss.”

Woodhead adds, “Weirdly – one of the main advantages of being a New Zealand filmmaker overseas was the association with The Lord of the Rings. I could barely speak the language – but the moment I told people where I was from, their eyes would light up. One man who was letting us use his land to film on told me New Zealand was his dream place to live, and asked me why I chose to come to the Czech Republic to make a film. In my atrociously bad Czech, I told him it couldn’t be done anywhere else and be realistic.”

Leo Woodhead will travel to Venice with support from the NZFC.

Cargo is produced by Vanessa Alexander and Woodhead, and was made as part of his final year thesis for the Masters of Screen Production at the Department of Film, TV and Media at Auckland University. Woodhead’s relationship with Czech cinematographer Martin Preiss prompted a student exchange organised Auckland University and FAMU in Prague. “I’d worked with Leo on the project for a long time at Auckland University and was extremely pleased with the film that ended up being shot. For me – the pleasure of this film is that it’s actually about something – and yet it isn’t preachy – it just takes you by the hand and ever so quietly moves you,” said Alexander.

Cargo was funded independently by writer/director Leo Woodhead with post production funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

Venice is the oldest film festival in the world. This year is the 75th anniversary of the festival which began in 1932, but because of war and other reasons, the festival wasn’t held every year. It is directed this year for the fourth time by Marco Mϋller and organized by the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia .It will be held on the Lido de Venezia from 29th August to 8th September 2007.

The aim of the festival is to encourage the awareness and the promotion of all the various aspects of international cinema as art, entertainment and industry, in a spirit of freedom and tolerance.

The Jury for the 75th anniversary will be composed entirely of directors, just like the 50th anniversary in 1982. Jane Campion has been selected as a member of the Venezia 64 section Jury. The Corto Cortissimo (Shorts) section Jury is Yasmine Kassari, Roberto Perpignani with Francois-Jacques Ossang as the president.

The complete list of short films selected for the Corto Cortissimo – In Competition section of the Venice Film Festival is:

Eduardo CHAPERO-JACKSON Alumbramiento – Spain
Paddy CONSIDINE Dog Altogether – UK
Caroline COWAN Fritt Fall – Sweden
Marcal FORES Friends Forever – UK
Zoltan HORVATH Dans la peau – Switzerland / France
JUHN Jaihong Fish – South Korea / USA
Sejla KAMERIC, Timur MAKAREVIC Sta ja znam – Bosnia / Slovenia
David MICHOD Crossbow – Australia
Laszlo NEMES JELES Turelem – Hungary
Claudio NOCE Adil e Yussuf – Italy
Justyna NOWAK Wazki – Poland
Valentin POTIER Tony Zoreil – France
Leonid RYBAKOV Stone People – Russia
Matthew TALBOT-KELLY Blind Man’s Eye – Ireland
Esben TONNESEN Sykggen af Tvivl – Denmark
Sima URALE Coffee & Allah – New Zealand
Leo WOODHEAD Cargo – Czech Republic / New Zealand
ZHANG Yue Guo dao – China

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