New Zealand, 2010. 4:17 min.
Team: Ruth Elliott, Sakara Branson and Makiko Chiba.
Home is a documentary that delves into the lives of eight individuals and their experiences at the bottom of the world in Dunedin, New Zealand. People come to Dunedin each year to see it’s wonderful scenery, exotic animals but above all the experience and the people.
Home is directed and produced by the film company MRS Productions Limited. The company was formed in June 2010 and has aspirations to conquer Hollywood. Makiko Chiba, Ruth Elliott and Sakara Branson are young film makers entering the professional world of film making and are the extraordinary minds behind MRS Productions Limited.
The cast of Home includes:
and Rachel Hui from Hong Kong.
The cast were selected due to their cultural backgrounds and enthusiastic personalities.
The final project emerged from a vision to highlight Dunedin and play with the travel genre, however many ideas were discussed before the idea of Home was decided on. Originally we decided that we wanted to highlight Dunedin and create an advert for the city in the form of a mockumentary. We were inspired by the advert “Where the Bloody hell are you?” advertising Australia. This advert is short and snappy and keeps the viewers attention. This original idea played with the voice over of the ad and commented on all the great things about Dunedin such as the scenery, accommodation, weather, food and culture. Although the voice over was to be complementary of the city the imagery was to be truthful but show the negative aspects of the city. This idea was to comment on tourism advertising. After story boarding this idea we decided the idea of degrading and laughing at Dunedin was overdone and we decided we wanted to show the positive side of our amazing city. Therefore we decided to look at why people choose to come and live in Dunedin and their experiences of the country and the city. This was to be done by showing real people and the real Dunedin. The idea insured we didn’t need actors however participants for interviews would be needed.
Before filming we decided which angle we wanted to direct the interviews in and discussed and wrote questions for the interviewees. Each interviewee was told before they agreed to the film of the overall subject of the film. This was important in starting the interviews however this was a starting point and from the interviewees answers discussion evolved. As we didn’t know how each interviewee was going to respond and as we were tackling a challenging genre of documentary we were not able to storyboard. Each interview lasted for around 15 to 20 minutes although the final film is just over four minutes. From these interviewees we then shaped the documentary and tried to highlight Dunedin and the opportunities it delivers.
While filming we ran into some problems with sound. The majority of our interviews were filmed outdoors and due to cars and the hospital helicopter filming had to stop at some stages. This meant interviews took longer than expected and was difficult when interviewees were on tight schedules.
Scheduling interviews was also a problem that needed to be addressed in a professional manner. Each location needed to be selected and the microphone and camera needed to be set up. The weather was very influential in the locations of each interview.
As each interview was so long we had a lot of footage which looked into a range of subjects. An original theme in the film was homesickness in Dunedin, however we decided after filming to remove this theme from the film. This was done due to the length of the film as four minutes was not long enough to go into such a specific aspect and it also created a negative mood to a film that was meant to be lightweight and and showing the positives of Dunedin. The film was shortened to keep it interesting and fast paced. This was taken from our very first film idea.
Animation was created to introduce ideas to the audience however it was decided the use of animation and music took away from the feel and message of the film.
Attention was given to the voices and people in the film as they were seen as the most important aspect of both the film and the city.
Behind the scenes
Home’s Backyard Blooper Reel
Working on this film has been a very positive experience as the film was to show the positives of Dunedin. From this film we saw how different people in the world view Dunedin and its importance to different cultures. We feel that the purpose of our film was fulfilled as although the film touches experiences that are not always voiced it is a lighthearted film on the importance of place and fit in society. We hope Home offers a glimpse into the lives of individuals who call Dunedin home and questions how you see yourself in the world.