Bernadette maintains that Whakatiki has a way of attracting the right people at the right time and this has been borne out on several occasions, including Louise’s and my introduction to the project.
Bernadette wrote the script but didn’t know who she could trust it to, so it sat in her bottom drawer for two years before she decided to enter it in the Screen Canterbury pitching competition. She won runner-up at that event, but perhaps more significantly, Bernadette was introduced to Louise by one of the judges. At last, a possible director for her project. After a couple of long sessions over coffee and chamomile tea, the pair decided they could work together and went full steam ahead developing Whakatiki for the New Zealand Film Commission’s prestigious Executive Shorts Funding Scheme. Whakatiki was shortlisted by this Scheme in 2008 (one of nine projects from 212 applications) but not green lit. Undeterred, Louise and Bernadette submitted the film the following year to the Independent Filmmakers Fund (a joint initiative between Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission) and found success!
At this point, I was introduced to the project by fellow producer, Costa Botes, who was unable to continue assisting on the project. I am drawn to strong women’s stories and I loved the script on first reading. It gave me goosebumps and I knew that I wanted to be involved. When it initially seemed that the dates would conflict with a feature film I was line producing, I was gutted, but serendipity was again to play its part when production on the feature was delayed and I was able to start work on Whakatiki right away.
Whakatiki is a great story and a great journey – pure and simple. It draws people to it. Just about everyone we spoke to wanted to be involved.
On meeting Louise I was impressed with the clarity of her vision for Whakatiki. She has a lot of drama experience behind her and fantastic attention to detail. Everyone knows where they stand with Louise and it was a happy, productive shoot despite the challenges of working with children, variable weather and underwater cinematography!
Whakatiki is a hugely ambitious film relative to its budget. It really is testimony to the enormous generosity and commitment of the cast and crew, that we were able to produce such a high quality film on the funds available.