A short film by Jonno Baker and Chris Leishman called “Do the Knight Thang” (see below) was recently screened in the St James Theatre, Gore, to much acclaim. The film had just won the regional final of the V48 Hour Film Making Competition in Dunedin and was described as a “damn fine film” by one of the judges. Jonno was a pupil at St Peter’s College from 2005-09 and Chris from 2007-10 and it was here that their interest in Media Studies developed, although Chris had a keen interest in film, theatre and drama while still at primary school.
Film making was part of their Media Studies course and they were also able to make a few films together in their spare time. While at school, Chris also developed as an actor, taking the lead in a school production of ‘Henry’ in 2010.
Their teacher Barbara Fraser recalls Chris’s great passion for film-making and the long hours he spent editing and re-editing to gain just the right effects. His knowledge of music tracks was extensive and he was always able to find a perfect match for his visuals. One of his horror movies was made at her old house, and in keeping with his desire to capture quality takes, what was to be one evening’s filming actually turned into several appearances with his video camera and cast in tow! His methodology was very much in the Peter Jackson style of just getting on with it all, and once during a 48-hour film competition, he managed to persuade a Milton policeman who had stopped to investigate their night-time activities to feature in his film! Such was his enthusiasm to fully explore all crafting possibilities, Chris was known for going way beyond the recommended time limits set for films for internal assessment, but his peers and teachers certainly enjoyed the results.
Jonno came into film-making in his last year at St. Peter’s and his interests were more in the realm of fight scenes than horror, and he also spent many hours persevering with changing casts and setting up times for locations in Gore as well as around the countryside. He quickly gained confidence and was able to reflect his quirky sense of humour into his storylines, and it is no surprise that he has flourished both in photography and in his film-making!
Their growing interest in film led them both to decide that they wanted to pursue it as a career and the next step was enrolling at S.I.T. to study the Bachelor of Digital Media course, where they are now in their second year.
Jonno is enthusiastic to pursue directing, while Chris hopes to become a writer for film. In the meantime they will gain as much experience as possible working on short films, music videos and commercials. Their first priority is to graduate and pass their course, but they hope that their year’s short films might be screened in Gore before too long – maybe as a prelude to their first blockbuster!