Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Paolo Rotondo talks Orphans and Kingdoms for the NZIFF

Writer/ Director Paolo Rotondo talks Orphans and Kingdoms for the NZIFF

Tell us your film

Orphans & Kingdoms is a poignant drama about how adults need kids as much as kids need adults. Set on stunning Waiheke Island, it's about three teenagers on the run, who break into an empty holiday home to hide out. It's party time for the siblings until the owner unexpectedly arrives home, is knocked unconscious, and one of them is seriously injured. The best night of their lives takes a massive turn as they discover the man is harbouring his own dark secrets. Over the course of a tense night an unlikely bond begins to form. The next morning the law comes calling and the owner must decide their fate.

Where did the idea come from?

I lived on Waiheke Island for 10 years. Pushing the pram with my new baby, I literally began to look around me and see the world a bit differently. I was blown away by the massive disparity between people’s wealth and lifestyles that is even more pronounced on the Island and I wondered about those kids who weren’t as lucky as mine.

What was the easiest part of putting this together?

The actual creative work of writing, directing, having a vision, communicating, expressing something, choosing locations or lenses or people was challenging but it gives back to you, so it was easy even if it was hard.

What was the hardest part?
Sustaining my family financially and sustaining personal energy for 3 quick years.

What’s the one moment in your film that you’re impressed you got on celluloid and why?
I shit you not, every frame is a miracle on a micro-budget film. We made a film whose quality is worth 10 times its budget.  Pushing your resources that much is a dangerous adventure.

What’s the one moment you were devastated you had to leave out and why?
There is a story thread of the film that I cut out entirely because the film’s narrative drive forward is faster and without it is more exciting. These few moments contain some themes that I would have loved to explore further, life, death and infidelity were all tied up in there, so they were quite juicy.

What will it feel like to have it play / premiere at the NZIFF in 2014?
I can’t wait for an audience to experience it. For us this screening is a big THANK YOU to heaps of supporters before we do a full release next year. We also want to get people excited. There is a touch of butterflies in there if I’m honest.

What would you hope audiences would get from your movie?
If audiences walk out having had a little chuckle, shed a tear, been nailed to the screen and feel satisfied. I’m sure they will think about the film’s themes in the days beyond.

What’s the one other film at  the NZIFF you’re wanting to see and why?
Can’t wait to see ‘The Dark Horse’ - it looks amazing. Cliff Curtis’ performance looks outstanding and I love the creative team behind the film.

Finally, tell us why NZers should go to see your movie
I think Kiwis will be surprised by this film. It is distinctly Aotearoa but it has a totally different feel from many other kiwi films. I know that people will connect to the story in a profound way, it's not a shy story, it's proud and has something really beautiful to say.

Orphans and Kingdoms premieres in Auckland on July 20th.
Get more information on the NZIFF website.

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