09 March 2018
‘It’s not everyone’s fiction. Be careful what you share.’
That’s the message two 15-year-old Wellington filmmakers, Finn Culver and Grace Medlicott, want everybody to take notice of in a new social media film they’ve created on behalf of the Classification Office.
The short film, which Grace produced and Finn directed, focuses on the ways that personal experiences shape individual responses to media – and what’s ok for one person might not automatically be ok for another. Grace describes it as “centering on the… idea that somebody wants their friend to watch something that they are not comfortable watching.”
The new film is part of our ‘Minds Over Media’ campaign encouraging young people to ‘Watch carefully – think critically’ when consuming entertainment media. We contracted the young filmmakers to develop a film that we could use on social media, and we gave them full creative licence. They were mentored by the creative team at Wellington’s Capital E, led by Melissa Conway.
Chief Censor David Shanks says that when our office decided to start developing a social media campaign targeting young people, the new approach merited a whole new way of creating the message:
“Technology has fundamentally changed how teens watch and share media. They love the freedom but our research tells us there can be some real downsides.
“We know that young people often have the best insights in this area. They live and breathe this stuff. So it was really important to us that Finn and Grace were given the creative freedom to develop their own ideas around the key message and how to get it across.”
“The wide open brief and the complexity of the subject would have been a huge challenge to any creative team, but we were blown away by what they came up with.”
Finn and Grace storyboarded various ideas and the film went through a series of iterations before the final concept and strapline were decided. They put together their own creative team, and after multiple reshoots the two are confident about their work. Grace believes the film will connect with teenage audiences “because it’s not something made by adults who don’t really understand.”
Finn is hopeful too. “At least like when they are showing their friends something they will think twice maybe and ask them first.”
I had so much fun filming with a professional cast and crew who are all my really good friends as well! It's fantastic to be part of something like this that sends an important message about how film content can affect people. All in all it was a great experience and I hope to do more work like this!
I had a great time working on the film and it was satisfying seeing the whole project come together. I hope to do similar work in the future.
I had an amazing time working alongside Grace and Finn throughout the production of the film.
Much like New Zealand film icon Sir Peter Jackson, Finn Culver and Grace Medlicott began creating their own films at a very early age. The two Wellington High School students started working on their own films in Year 3, although Grace says the pair ‘started serious film making’ after they finished primary school, and in intermediate they started entering competitions. The young cousins are now making a name for themselves in the New Zealand film industry. In 2017, Finn and Grace’s short film Shelter, about mental health and domestic violence, was Supreme Winner at the Roxy5 Short Film Competition, presented by Capital E and Miramar Events Trust.