Design Technology student film selected for NZIFF Animation NOW! 2018

Master of Design Technology student short film, Tom, has been selected to screen in the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) in Wellington.

Poster of the film Tom, showing a skeleton and people at a desk.

Animation NOW! 2018 is a showcase of some of the year’s best and brightest international animated shorts. Tom, a four-minute long film, chosen by industry professionals as the 2018 Capstone project for the Master of Design Technology (MDT) programme, was directed by David Midgley and will feature in NZIFF this August.

“It was a collaborative project done with all the students in the MDT programme over the summer semester. We all pitched an idea, and my idea was chosen.” says David.

The story of Tom was inspired by major films with a particular focus on mental health, “The two big inspirations for Tom were Shutter Island and The Mechanist. Both films are heavily themed around mental illness and deal with the protagonists’ conflicting ideas of reality. From Tom’s perspective, he sees himself as a victim from an experimental facility, which has caused him to see himself as a monster. However, in reality, he is a mental health patient, suffering from hallucinations caused by schizophrenia.”

The Capstone project is a short narrative piece, which culminates areas of specialty learnt during the MDT programme, such as visual effects, character animation, compositing and motion graphics.

“Our supervisors, MDT Programme Director Raqi Syed, and industry mentors Areito Echevarria and Kevin Romond, oversaw our work but it was largely self-driven. We also had the chance to meet industry professionals and discuss certain areas of production, such as scheduling and script writing.”

“The highlight for me was working as a team with my classmates, Claire, Murali, Murizio and Nicola to complete this. I couldn’t have asked for a more hard-working team.” says David.

David hopes that the film will challenge viewers and to create more awareness and dialogue around mental health. “I wanted the film to create a little confusion and cause discussion as to which perspective was actually real. I hoped to convey that people’s experiences with mental health are subjective. What they are going through, no matter what that may look like to anyone else, feels very real to them.”

MDT Programme Director, Raqi Syed has been impressed by the level of technical abilities coming through the programme. “Tom is a wonderful showcase for the kind of storytelling and technical skills we’re building in the MDT. It’s also an enormous vote of confidence for our Class of 2018 — a group of very talented artists with incredible careers ahead of them.”

Tom is screening as part of Animation NOW! 2018 at Reading Cinema, Wellington, on the 2nd and 6th August.

To see more of David’s work, visit his website Dare Design.

This story was originally published on the Wellington ICT Graduate School's blog on Medium.