22 Jun 2018

Success for Otago brothers' silent film

From Nine To Noon, 9:35 am on 22 June 2018

A Kiwi homage to the slapstick comedies of the early 20th century has found favour with international film judges. 

Otago brothers Benaiah and Thomas Dunn clinched second place at the International Youth Silent Film Festival finals in Portland, Oregon this month for The Chase.

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Photo: supplied

The Chase was one of three Kiwi entries in the festival, which is open to filmmakers aged 20 and under from the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Competitors are provided with 10 pre-recorded three-minute soundtracks which they have to then create a film around, says David Tauranga, one of the organisers of the NZ division.

He was immediately struck by the Dunn brothers’ entry, which centres on a madcap chase scene through Middlemarch.

“Basically The Chase is just a brilliant piece of filmmaking, captures your imagination right from the get go and carries your attention all the way through to the end. There’s so many beautiful and amazing moments in it.

“The stunts are amazing. When we first received the film and we saw what they had accomplished we were just blown away that they were teenagers.”

Benaiah (the film's director and a student at Taieri College) told Kathryn Ryan he and Thomas (the cinematographer) went back to the classics for inspiration.

“We looked at all the old Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton style films, and we decided we were going to try and copy some of that.”

No high-tech trickery was involved.

“We just used a basic handheld camera and a tripod, just a real basic set up.”

Beniah is keen to pursue a career in filmmaking.