I wrapped up my Film Festival experience on Sunday evening with the screening of the NZ indie film How To Meet Girls From A Distance. To truly appreciate this self-described “Peeping Tom Rom-Com” you should know how it came to be produced.
This film is the result of Ant Timpson’s Make My Movie competition, in which various contestants sent in scripts to be selected by Timpson and his crew. The winner received $100,000 to make a full-length feature film. Now, anyone who knows anything about film production will know that $100,000 is pocket change for most film budgets. So, when a group calling themselves Traces Of Nut learned they won the prize in January, they were chuffed, but under quite a bit of pressure to come up with something of quality. That pressure rose tremendously when the New Zealand Film Festival announced that they would screen the resulting film in August. Considering that the film wasn’t finished until the middle of July, that was a big leap of faith from the NZFF and now that faith must held by the audience.
Fortunately, the folks at Traces Of Nut (Dean Hewison, Richard Falkner and Ruth Korver) not only don’t disappoint, they pretty much exceed any expectations.
The fact that How To Meet Girls From A Distance is a comedy raises the stakes even higher. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than an unfunny comedy. But the film’s script is its saving grace.
Briefly the plot revolves around Toby (played by Richard Falkner) a likable guy who has problems meeting girls (on attempt led to him being stabbed in the throat in a café). After a few sessions with the oily date coach Carl Stewart (comedian Jonathan Brugh) Toby spots the lovely Phoebe (Scarlet Hemingway) and proceeds to, well, not woo her, but stalk her. Fortunately, Toby’s stalking method rather charming so the “ick” factor remains low.
The results are funny, endearing and downright clever.
Even though the film was shot in a matter of days and spent a relatively short time in post-production, the results are top notch. All of the performances are fine, the editing is especially good and the soundtrack features plenty of original material by local indie faves like The Eversons and The Broadsides.
Kudos to everyone involved in this project. Let’s hope How To Meet Girls From A Distance gains a wider release after its film festival run. It deserves it.