The 48-hour film festival is back, self-isolation style. While the judging panel is deciding the winners, The Spinoff is showcasing seven films from the competition. We’re sharing one a day in the lead-up to the one-hour awards special, airing on TVNZ2. Today we’ve got It Was Sol from team Piwaiwaka.
A family heirloom is broken, but who did the crime, and more importantly, who’s gonna do the time? It Was Sol follows two parents investigating which of their household broke the priceless object.
Piwaiwaka is made up of the Arahanga whānau, who whakapapa to Kai Tahu, Waitaha, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Rangi and currently live in Wellington. The writer and director of the film, Ruby, is only 18, while parents Becs and Sonny are film-makers at Awa Films. The rest of the cast, Mai, Tu and Sol, are all kids by profession.
We talked to the family to get an idea of what it’s like shooting in lockdown as a full-on family affair, and where the idea for their whodunnit film came from.
What’s the story behind your team?
Our team name, Piwaiwaka, comes from our kaitiaki bird that keeps flying into our house every day to play. We have made films with the kids before, but never all of them at once, and not by ourselves.
Did you do any preparation for the film, and how did that set you up for the film shoot?
Luckily for us, Sol the four-year-old had broken one of our favourite plates that day (which we fished out of the rubbish to make the film) and that gave Ruby the idea for the film once we got the whodunnit genre.
What were the big difficulties of working in lockdown?
Definitely one of the biggest challenges was working with a four-year-old! He was awesome… but only for about three minutes at a time and there’s only so much chocolate you can promise. Also, Sonny had to do the bulk of the technical, so this was toughest on him, especially the editing.
What are your favourite things about the film you’ve made?
The film is fun but also unfortunately reflects the dynamics in the house! Let’s just say it wasn’t too much of a stretch for those teenagers to blame the little one.
What’s been the best part of this entire experience?
It definitely brought us closer, having to work it out together. Each of the children injected their personalities into the roles and inputted dialogue and scenes. I just love that we all did it together and the kids were stoked with the end result. It was crack-up as.
What was it like making a film with the whole family?
Making a film all together was challenging and fun. Each of the kids stepped up and learnt different aspects of film-making. They all had a go at holding the boom, making script suggestions and adding their own quirks. It was definitely our first time having all the children be involved and having to do it all ourselves.
They all watched it three or four times once it was done. They were proud of all our efforts.
This interview was edited for length and clarity. You can find the other films that The Spinoff has selected to showcase here.
Piwaiwaka is just one of a record-breaking 2,111 teams who created three-minute masterpieces from their bubbles. The Vista Foundation 48Hours judging panel, including Sir Peter Jackson, will select finalists to be screened on TVNZ2 in a one-hour awards special on Friday, May 8, at 9.30pm.
VF48HOURS: LOCKDOWN is made with the support of NZ On Air, New Zealand Film Commission and The Vista Foundation.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.