A filmmaker whose short films made the V48 Hours national finals for the last three years running, has won the Unitec Aspiring Filmmaker Study Prize.
Alan Parr, who finished a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts in Directing and Writing for Screen and Theatre at Unitec in 2008, will use his award to return to the institution in 2012 for post-graduate study.
The talented director, who has worked on several corporate and music videos since graduating, as well as working in children's theatre and in a cinema, says he's looking forward to making the absolute most of returning to Unitec.
"When you leave your place of study, you can look back and think, wow, I really wish I'd made the most of that," says Parr. "It's the sort of place that if you're any good, and you show you're keen and they see that in you, they really want to get involved. Pretty much every one of the teachers actually does the job they're teaching - it's not just theory, they're still practising. I think that's what makes the difference for the students, and why it's such a valuable experience."
"Definitely, when I come back, I want to soak up the place - the people, the resources, the opportunities that are there, and make full use of it." The New Lynn resident, who emigrated with his now-wife from Liverpool, says he hopes the post-graduate study will set him up to work towards his ultimate professional goal - directing a feature film.
The former comic strip writer, playwright, actor and cameraman describes his storytelling style as starting with a 'what if?' scenario. He likes to have the freedom to cross genres, and can't imagine making films that are too serious. "It has to have something in there that makes people laugh. To the characters that are in it, the things that are happening in the film might be tragic, but to everyone watching, it's funny."
Parr's V48 team, Idiotvision, have entered the V48 Hours competition numerous times, and have been a consistent favourite with the judges. This year, their short film Headshot was a national finalist. Their film's lead actress, Mia Pistorius, won best actress at the awards ceremony on Saturday night (July 2).
In 2010, their film, Confessions of a Fabricator, was put through as a 'wildcard' selection by Hollywood hotshots, Sir Peter Jackson and Guilermo del Toro. The film came runner up, and the prize money has gone towards writing, directing and producing an exciting new short film - 50% Off Mail Order Bride - due to be completed in August.
Idiotvision's The Revenger went through on the wildcard in 2009. The V48 Hours Study Prize is offered through Unitec's Department of Performing and Screen Arts, and open to all V48 participants.
In previous years it was won by emerging filmmakers Yamin Tun (2010) and Gemma Duncan (2009), who were both selected on their commitment to their craft, and their ability as filmmakers to demonstrate a strong point of view.
Film lecturer Dr Scott Wilson says Parr's his high level of motivation and appealing filmmaking style amply fit the criteria. Hearty endorsement by one of New Zealand and Hollywood's favourite son's, Peter Jackson, didn't hurt Parr's application either.
"Alan graduated at the end of 2008, and since then has managed to win Peter Jackson's 48Hours wildcard selection twice, as part of his team, Idiotvision. Given such credentials, we are very pleased to be in a position to help him formally further his education. We are very excited by Alan's continued success, and we are looking forward to further assisting in developing his career."