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It's not everyone's fiction

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.”

The Cast

Zoe Crane, the lead actress in the short film

Zoe Crane (Actress)

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!

Caitlin Matheson, an actress in the short film

Caitlin Matheson (Actress)

I had such a good time filming this with everyone involved. I think the message is a really powerful one and I am happy to be a part of it.

The Crew

Roman Barlow

Roman Barlow (Actor and Composer)

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.

Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris (Composer)

I had an amazing time working alongside Grace and Finn throughout the production of the film.

Camera lens; Ian requested that we not put a picture of him up

Ian Blackburn

I believe that the message behind it is one that is not heard enough, particularly now that we’re in the internet age and have easy access to media content - with little to no warning of any distressing elements that may show themselves. So I’m glad that someone finally realised this and even happier to help spread the message.


Still from the short film

The Creative Team

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.

Finn Culver (Director)

Finn Culver, director of the short film
I have been making films like this for a very long time, but still managed to learn so much - especially about editing. The concept and message were very difficult to get right and we went through a number of ideas and scripts. That was definitely the hardest part, but I think we got it right in the end.

Grace Medlicott (Producer)

Grace Medlicott, producer of the short film
Finn and I have been making films since we were 8. We have kept this up and have gone on to enter our films into competitions and have occasionally won some of them. In the making of this project I not only learnt a lot of new skills, I also had a lot of fun. The cast and crew were fantastic and I think the end product looks really good. I think the message is really important in this age of accessible media. I hope that young people see it and listen to what we are trying to say.