Local doctor wins in Hollywood

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Oamaru general practioner, David Whittet, has again been recognised amongst Hollywood’s greatest film-makers with his second movie in the trilogy, Amiri and Aroha.

Amiri’s Child has just won an Award of Excellence at the Accolade Competition and an Award of Merit at the prestigious Best Shorts Competition in Hollywood.

Dr Whittet said the Award of Excellence was especially gratifying as it put him up there with Hollywood’s greatest, alongside Liam Neeson and the Oscar winner for Best Short Documentary.

The final movie in the trilogy, Rere’s Children, is finished and all three will be viewed at the World Premiere at the Dome Theatre in Gisborne on Saturday.

The movies are a Maori take on Romeo and Juliet, a love story set against a background of gang rivalry and tribal warfare. One of the main characters, Aroha, tries to escape her gang and origins and Amiri, who is a big shot businessman from Auckland, promises her a new life away from the gang. Aroha is haunted by a childhood ceremony which threatens to prevent her from ever breaking free of the gang.

Most of the films were shot in the Gisborne region, however a significant part of Amiri’s Child was filmed in Oamaru and the Waitaki Valley.

Mr Whittet said he was particularly pleased that Amiri’s Child won a Best Shorts Award for the overture, a two-and-a half minute roller coaster ride using explosive images of the story that is about to unfold.

“In an age where we are bombarded with fast and furious images in the media, on television and on the internet, it can be hard for the film-maker to seize the audience’s attention,” he said.

“In the digital age, we must find new ways to create atmosphere and captivate our audiences. “

“We believe an overture can be a powerful device for achieving audience engagement.”

In 2011, Mr Whittet won awards at the Best Shorts and Accolade competitions for the first film, Amiri and Aroha, which has gone on to win multiple honours at international festivals around the world.

By LINDA MCCARTHY

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

PLEASED: Oamaru film maker, David Whittet, pictured with his awards for the trilogy, Amiri and Aroha.