18 Aug 2016

The Expats: Nathan Morris, NYC film-maker

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:24 pm on 18 August 2016

Filmmaker Nathan Morris is a lad from the Hutt Valley now based in New York, and his first short film is making critical waves there.

Nathan has only been in New York for eight months, after 16 years in London, but is already enjoying life there.

His film At Dawn has just won the directors’ choice award at the Rhode Island international film festival.

He sank his life savings into the film, which he says has been a useful calling card as he works to break into the New York industry.

“There’s a lot of work here, but it’s very hard as a director to get your foot in the door.”

Nathan says his reasons for moving to New York weren’t entirely professional.

“My heart, it was for a girl that I met.”

And so far he has had no regrets about the trans-Atlantic move.

“New York is a very, very convenient city; the people are lovely, intelligent, smart and super friendly.”

He spent 2 to 3 years writing At Dawn.

“I’m a very slow writer, I thought about it a lot. It’s about an insomniac who drives around London at night delivering ice to bars and cafes and night clubs.”

He was struck by that nocturnal service when he lived in London.

“I thought that was very odd. Why don’t they just have ice machines? And then I met a guy, he was an insomniac, insomnia ruined his life couldn’t hold down a job."

So he put the two things together to make the central character in At Dawn.

New York isn’t without challenges, Nathan says.

"It’s hard to break into the industry here, there’s so much trust involved in directing, you’ve got to prove yourself - even though I’ve been doing it for 20 years.”

Although being a Kiwi in New York is no disadvantage, he says.

“You meet people in New York and they say, ‘Where are you from?’ and you say ‘New Zealand’ and they say, ‘that’s amazing’

“I’ve even achieved something here just by being born!”

Get the new RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes

Subscribe to Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

Podcast (MP3) Oggcast (Vorbis)