NZIFF Review – ‘Chronesthesia’ (dir. Hayden Weal)

If you’ve seen your fair share of 48HOURS films, you’ll probably have a seen at least a couple films by Moffilaide, whose films I’ve always looked forward to. If you’re familiar with the standard their work brings to the screen, you’ll probably have a good idea of the expectations I had when I was going in to see the premiere of Chronesthesia – and the film exceeded all those expectations by far.

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K-Culture Festival Wellington 2016

On Sunday the second Wellington K-Culture Festival was held in Shed 6. Like last year there was a neat little array of food, stalls, and cultural performances. Here’s a little retrospect of some of the goings-on!

Soundtrack: ‘Departure’ – Imagined Herbal Flows

Michelle can be found on Facebook and YouTube and can also be supported on Patreon.

Lightning Lab XX 2016 (Media Roundup)

From March through to June I had the privilege of being the in-house videographer for Creative HQ‘s Lightning Lab XX Accelerator Programme. An intensive three-month business incubator, LLXX was a venture on Creative HQ’s part to boost the visibility of women-founded startups and help close the gender gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem – indeed, the only prerequisite to apply for XX was that the company have at least one female founder, resulting in eight diverse and interesting companies all coming together in the same space to learn and grow together!

During my time at LLXX I was able to meet so many interesting people and learn so much. I was initially contracted to create a series of weekly videos spotlighting the different startups participating in the programme as well as some retrospectives of happenings in and around the space, but I also had the opportunity to create content specifically for some of the companies, which was a really awesome experience. Every single day of the three month programme was in preparation for the big Demo Day in mid-July, where the CEOs of each startup presented a pitch to a room full of sponsors and investors. Being the mic-depacker for the evening I had front-row seats to the entire show, and I’m really proud of the progress that everyone made over the course of LLXX.

Now that Lightning Lab XX is over, everyone has gone their separate ways, but I’m sure each of them will be successful in their own rights, and I look forward to hearing about their ventures in future! Here’s a roundup of videos I produced for both Lightning Lab XX itself as well as the startups that I worked alongside during the programme. If you’d like to find out more about the startups mentioned, I’ve provided a series of links at the bottom of the page.

Little Yellow Bird | Ama | NoticeMATCH | Patternsnap | Geo AR Games
Music Ecademy | Sipreme | Liangma | Hive

To view the recorded livestream of Demo Day, click here!

Michelle can be found on Facebook and YouTube and can also be supported on Patreon.

Sweet Release Cakes and Treats: Mount Cookie

If you’ve got a major sweet tooth then Sweet Release Cakes and Treats is just the place for you. With brownies, muffins and cupcakes galore, Sweet Release also provides a lunch menu and makes treats suitable for people with special dietary requirements, like vegans, coeliacs, or people with multiple food allergies (like me!)

Recently Sweet Release launched their newest of their creations – the magnificently decadent (and frankly quite intimidating) Mount Cookie. Check it out! 

Sweet Release Cakes and Treats sits in Willis St Village in the heart of the Wellington CBD and is a haven for all those with a sweet tooth and/or special dietary requirements. From donut muffins to Afghan brownies, banoffie pies to thickshakes, Sweet Release has it all to satisfy your sugar cravings, and just recently they launched the latest, greatest and sweetest of all their creations yet – the Mount Cookie (formerly known as the Cookie Dough my Goodness). Yum!

Music: ‘Pop ‘N Go’ – AudioTreats

Just make sure you bring a friend along for you first venture up the mountain. Mmm.

Michelle can be found on Facebook and YouTube and can also be supported on Patreon.

Play by Play Independent Games Festival 2016 (Media Roundup)

From the 18th to the 23rd of April, the inaugural Play by Play Independent Games Festival was held at Thistle Hall in Wellington. The first event of its kind, Play by Play was a venture to showcase some of the best and brightest of the New Zealand and Australian indie game dev scene. Organised by the amazing Lucy Morris of Group Pug and Peter and Robert Curry of Dinosaur Polo Club, the event consisted of an Awards Arcade (with eighteen jury-picked games by Australasian devs), Conference Day and Awards Night, Play by Play was a fun event for gamers of all ages and sorts, and was a huge success all around.

A keen gamer myself, and with plenty of friends in the game dev scene, I contacted Lucy prior to the event asking if I might be able to do a series of videos on the event and the developers that were featured in the Arcade. She graciously allowed me to do so, and so began my furious week of filming in and around the event whilst at the same time juggling my then-newly-started work contract! Seven days, six interviews and 80GB of footage later, I had a mountain of game-related excellence to sort through, and over the month or so following I produced, as initially intended, a series of videos spotlighting the wonderful individuals who helped shape Play by Play into the amazing festival that it was.

So without further ado, here is my media roundup from the inaugural Play by Play Independent Games Festival, and may there be many more to come!

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NZ National Parkour Gathering 2016 (F&S Media Roundup)

Over Easter Weekend of 2016, the New Zealand Parkour National Gathering was held in Wellington. As part of the weekend a small awards ceremony was held, where I was lucky enough to have been presented with a beautiful piece of pounamu (New Zealand greenstone) for my work on MOVE (Flow Like Water): A Parkour Documentary. Nga mihi, Tauhokai Aotearoa!

As usual there was plenty of great parkour to be witnessed and no end of good vibes to soak in. Far more happenings went on over the weekend than I can even hope to put in any small amount of words, so instead here’s a little roundup of some of the media F&S produced or helped produce from the event.

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Out in the Park (Wellington Pride Festival 2016)

Last month the annual Wellington Pride Festival took place, consisting of a week of events ending with a parade and fair day. Out in the Park 2016 not only celebrated the 30th anniversary of the event, but also the 30th anniversary of the NZ Homosexual Law Reform. Held in Waitangi Park, there were stalls, food, and performances galore. Here’s a little look back at some of the happenings of the day!

For more information on the Out in the Park and Pride Festival events, make sure you check out and!

Soundtrack: ‘1901’ – Phoenix

Michelle can be found on Facebook and YouTube and can also be supported on Patreon.

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition [Te Papa Talks/Workshops]

Unless you’ve been soundly sleeping for the last two decades straight, you’ll probably have seen at least a few features from DreamWorks Animation in your time. Whether it’s their more well-known franchises of Shrek or Kung-Fu Panda, or some of the older films like The Prince of Egypt or The Road to El Dorado, or even some of the more recent releases such as Rise of the Guardians and How to Train Your Dragon, films by DreamWorks have been a staple of our animated feature intake for a long time. As of October last year DreamWorks is now a good 20 years old, and as part of the celebrations for its anniversary, Wellington’s own Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand brought a very special and exclusive event to its main exhibition all – DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition.

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition

From the studio that brought you the animated classics ShrekMadagascar, and Kung Fu Panda comes an exhibition exclusive to Te Papa in New Zealand – a behind-the-scenes celebration of 20 years of DreamWorks Animation!

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition features over 400 items, including rare concept drawings, models, interviews, and original artworks. Adults and kids can get creative with real animation tools, and soar above the clouds in the immersive Dragon Flight experience fromHow to Train Your Dragon.

Lose yourself in the extraordinary worlds created by DreamWorks’ award-winning artists, and travel with your favourite characters from first sketch through to final creation.

As part of the exhibition, Te Papa held a public seminar and a series of workshops at their premises on the 19th and 20th of February, exploring the animation industry and other related disciplines. Tickets sold fast but I was able to snaffle a couple for myself and my sister for the Te Papa Talks Animation: Exploring Digital Storytelling event on the night of Friday 19th, as well for as two workshops on Saturday 20th on Motion Graphics (held by John Strang and Leo Chida of Dusk) and Animation Production (held by Kelly Cooney of DreamWorks Animation). There was also a Character Design workshop held by illustrator Tim Gibson which I was pretty interested in as well, but unfortunately it was scheduled for the same time as the Animation Production workshop, meaning I had to make Choices – and while I am myself an avid artist, I felt that Animation Production might be more useful in the long run in the running of my own business.

I always love hearing insights from creatives about the fields they work in and are passionate about, regardless of whether or not they’re areas I actively engage in; so given the opportunity to hear a few industry professionals talk about fields that I am a part of was something that I definitely couldn’t pass up.

This is a pretty long writeup – way longer than I’d anticipated – but fortunately I also took way too many photos of the exhibition, so feel free to scroll through for those if you want. If you’d like to skip the seminar/Q&A session writeup and go straight ahead to my recount of the DreamWorks Exhibition, feel free to click here. If you want to read about the Saturday Workshops, click here.

#1 for both workshops! Guess constantly checking the workshops page was good for something, haha.

#1 for both workshops! Guess constantly checking the workshops page was good for something, haha.

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New Zealand Festival 2016 [SILA / Arquitectura de Fira]

The New Zealand Festival is enjoying its 30th birthday this year, and as usual there are some pretty cool events happening in and around Wellington. If you’ve never attended the NZ Festival before and don’t know what it is, this is  how their website describes it:

Committed to originality, excellence and making the world a better place through art, the New Zealand Festival every second year transforms Wellington into a buzzing culture zone with three weeks of the finest international and home-grown music, theatre, dance, visual art and writers.

There are way more events than I can list here, but the Wellington Jazz Festival and Writer’s Week are a part of the NZ Festival, as was the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo this year. The Festival is still currently ongoing and will be due to finish at the end of March, but in the meanwhile here are a couple of videos from two of the events that I’ve attended – SILA: The Breath of the World, an outdoor musical performance piece composed by John Luther Adams and performed by Orchestra Wellington and the Orpheus Choir; and Arquitectura de Fira, a Catalonian junkyard fairground by Spanish Theatre company Antigua i Barbuda.

SILA: The Breath of the World – John Luther Adams
(Orchestra Wellington, Orpheus Choir)

Did you see the NZ Festival performance of SILA down at Civic Square over the weekend? Sixty musicians from Orchestra Wellington and Orpheus Choir of Wellington were allowed to play (or sing) at their own tempo for an hour with no conductor to lead them, their only shared attribute being that each “sustained tone or rising phrase [lasted] the length of a full exhalation”. If you missed it, here’s a condensed version of it – if you saw it, what was your favourite part? I was particularly fond of the trumpeters on the roof.

The Contact Festival Playground
Arquitectura de Fira – Antigua i Barbuda

Has anyone else been to Antigua i Barbuda‘s ‘Arquitectura de Fira’ down at Frank Kitts Park yet? Another one of the NZ Festival events (and part of theContact Energy Festival Playground), Arquitectura de Fira is a junkyard fairground straight out of a fantastical turn-of-the-century dream. There’s a bicycle-powered carousel, a hand-cranked ferris wheel*, an olive-pip shooting range, a pedal-powered bicycle race (my personal fav), and even more – altogether seven rides, each made out of recycled materials and scrap iron, and each relying on “parent-power” to run!

Classical music blares through the speakers and at nighttime everything is brightly lit – these, as well as the presence of the enthusiastic ride attendants (actors from within the Antigua i Barbuda theatre company) really set the atmosphere of the fair, and it’s an awesome and thoroughly enjoyable experience all around.

If you haven’t been yet, you’ve got until this Saturday (19th March) to do so – you can check out the opening times here ->

*Technically I was light enough to be able to ride the ferris wheel if I wanted (45kg weight limit) but I would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb amongst all the <10 year olds going for it… haha.

This year I’m working on posting more Facebook-exclusive video content, so don’t forget to head on over to the Fish and Swallow Facebook page and give it a like to keep up to date with all my work and updates on local happenings!

Michelle can be found on Facebook and YouTube and can also be supported on Patreon.