When Pukekohe’s Simon Huggett had his application to TVNZ’s new film-makers competition rejected he was determined to prove his knockers wrong.
In fairness, he wasn’t really a new film-maker, he’d never picked up a camera. But his next move was to apply for a Franklin Local Board arts grant. "I filled in the forms and forgot about it but then I actually succeeded, and I thought, 'now I actually have to do this'."
I Am Franklin was about to become a reality.
He set about approaching people to be in his documentary-style film and soon had Zac Dell, Nikita Horan and Dan Millward signed up, not to mention a talented voiceover artist who fell under his spell and did the work free.
"I sold them on the theme, which really tells the story of people who aim high, work hard and are rewarded for it," Simon says.
Zac is a talented swimmer who has qualified for the world champs, Nikita suffered from lack of self-confidence but is competing in Miss World, and Dan, well-known in Pukekohe as a tennis coach, is now in the United States pursuing his music dream.
"I just made a 14-minute film, they are the ones with the talent," Simon says, which is understating things given he taught himself the entire film process by watching You Tube videos on writing, filming, directing, editing and producing, all while looking after his elderly mother.
"Without the board’s grant none of it would have happened. It was the push I needed, and I hope people who see my film will take the motivational message out of it."
Simon is already in talks about his next project and has taken on his own message. "Now that I’ve made the film I’m on to the next one, and I wouldn’t mind building a film empire."
I Am Franklin premieres at the Pukekohe Library on June 8 at 11am.
Entry is free and locals can help Simon out – he’s terrified he’s going to be the only one there.