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Kiwi film Runaways heading to AFI film festival

Tuesday 23 Oct 2012 10:17 p.m.

By Jenny Suo

A Kiwi movie shot on leftover film from a Hollywood blockbuster is heading back to LA as an entrant in one of the world's most prestigious film festivals.

Runaways will show at the American Film Institute's film festival next month, alongside big names like Steven Spielberg, Anthony Hopkins and Harvey Weinstein.

“Runaways is about an old couple that lives deep in the South Island who don’t get along anymore - but in this film, two young people turn up on their property and they drive them to their breaking point, where they fall back in love,” says director Jordan Dodson.

Next month, Mr Dodson and his fiancée and producer Alix Whittaker will be swapping their Auckland editing suite for the red carpet in Hollywood.

Runaways is one of 56 short films selected from more than 3000 entries to screen at the AFI fest, and it has them a little nervous.

“I remember watching Indiana Jones when we were kids, and now we're in the same festival as Steven Spielberg, and now we're at the same festival as him it's horrifying,” says Mr Dodson.

The couple are horrified, but also excited that the long process of making the film paid off.

Instead of going digital the couple wanted to shoot on 35mm film - the idea was to add soul by capturing the old couple on an old format.

But the film itself was rare and expensive, Mr Dodson put out a plea for help and a producer of the US film Trade responded, offering up his leftover film.

The only problem was that after sitting in the hot Mexican sun specialists said it was unusable.

“We decided to do the dumb thing and bring a ton of people to Waimauku and shoot for three days on something that may not have ended up even giving us a picture,” says Mr Dodson.

Luckily it did, and now the film's going back home to LA, and it could make more than one appearance - if it wins its section it'll be shortlisted for an Oscar nomination..

But for now they have other concerns.

“One of my  biggest fears is that I’m not going to recognise someone, and I'm going to be standing next to someone and I'm going to say "Hey I’m Alix from New Zealand, who are you?” says Ms Whittaker.

But meeting Hollywood elite might be something they'll have to get used to, with the couple hoping to make Runaways into a feature film one day.

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