A local short film being described internationally as “the best film about men in love out of New Zealand since Lord of the Rings” is having its Kiwi premiere at the Rialto Cinemas in Newmarket, Auckland next month on Thursday July 14 as part of its Film Talk series, supported by the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand.
The Colonel’s Outing, which tells the story of two World War II veterans who find love together in a rest home under the watchful eye of an interfering Matron, has captured hearts and acclaim at festivals around the globe since its world premiere in Miami in April.
It’s the third short film to be produced by charitable arts trust Number 8 Films, formed by producer Andy Jalfon and director Christopher Banks in 2009. Their previous two shorts, Teddy and Communication, have won multiple awards, achieved international distribution as well as DVD releases, a rare achievement for short films.
“The film has been programmed in over twenty festivals so far in a few short months, including some major screenings in Toronto, San Francisco, and Italy where we won a special jury mention,” says producer Andy Jalfon. “We’re really grateful to the support of the Rialto Cinemas in assisting us to bring our film home for local audiences to enjoy as part of their Film Talk series in July.”
The road from script to screen was not an easy one, with The Colonel’s Outing being rejected for funding by several local film funding bodies before the Mental Health Foundation’s Out Of The Blue programme came on board with a grant which allowed the film to be made. The remainder of the film’s funds were raised through some corporate donations, and a crowdfunding appeal over the internet.
“We rarely see stories where older people are put front and centre as the heroes on film, let alone older gay men,” says director Christopher Banks. “The Mental Health Foundation had the vision to support a story about positive aging and inclusion which audiences worldwide have found entertaining and moving, and we’ve been chomping at the bit to get it seen locally.”
The Colonel’s Outing was shot in Auckland and weaves famous locales such as One Tree Hill, Cornwall Park and Alberton into the fabric of the story.
“This is unashamedly a New Zealand story, with a very strong sense of place. These are characters and landscapes you wouldn’t see anywhere else in the world, and international audiences have really responded to this slice of Kiwi life that they wouldn’t normally get to see,” Banks says.
In addition to the film itself, the 70-minute premiere event will contain behind-the-scenes clips from the making of The Colonel’s Outing interspersed with a cast and filmmakers Q&A, an opportunity to discuss some of the issues raised by the film and the challenges involved with bringing this story to the screen.
Tickets are available to purchase online from the Rialto Cinemas website: http://tiny.cc/g7act
Express: “Number 8 Films’ Christopher Banks and Andy Jalfon have really found their feet with this film. Their passion for their work and consistent drive to tell stories untold makes for fun and entertaining watching – you can just feel how much fun this shoot would have been and can’t help but get wrapped up in the glee Tristan and the Colonel share throughout their time together. Rich in colour and stunningly shot, The Colonel’s Outing is an absolute treat to watch and is highly recommended.”
GayNZ.com: “…a gentle and tender tale which includes complexities which make its length of just less than 17 minutes seem almost inconceivable. The filmmakers have an art of fitting just the right amount of depth into their stories, through subtleties and cleverly-timed dialogue, allowing surprises to gracefully wade in.
Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival: “Best film about men in love out of New Zealand since Lord of the Rings…a beautifully made film with a unique story that was both funny and touching.”
Frameline Film Festival, San Francisco: “This touching tale of romance in the twilight years offers plenty of poignancy and more than a few surprises.”
Todd Camp, Artistic Director of QCinema, Fort Worth’s Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival: “When Christopher Banks first sent us “Teddy” back in 2009, I immediately recognized a filmmaker I’d be keeping an eye on. Improving his talents on “Communication” and then “The Colonel’s Outing” this year, my instincts proved to be spot on. Beautifully shot, nicely acted and expertly crafted, “The Colonel’s Outing” is a delightful twilight years romantic comedy that gives us all hope that there might still be happiness on the horizon once the bars get too loud and the parades too crowded. I can’t wait to see what else Chris has up his sleeve.”
Philadelphia Qfest: “The majority of characters in gay-themed films are under the age of 30. It’s so refreshing to see a gay movie that focuses on a late-in-life romance – and the consequences that it might have on a family. On top of that, The Colonel’s Outing is a skillfully directed, emotionally rewarding experience.”
Kansas City Gay and Lesbian Film Festival: “A well-made, intelligent film about a subject and characters too often ignored or trivialized in contemporary cinema. It is an important story with well-crafted characters that underscores the universality of the LGBT experience regardless of your age, culture or country.”
Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival: “Beautifully shot, well written, and superbly acted. We chose the film because of its message of love and acceptance for all – especially when you least expect it!”
Vancouver Queer Film Festival: “”Not only are our gay elders underrepresented in media, they are underrepresented, period. Christopher Banks has already demonstrated his keen ability to tell tender and authentic gay stories on film (TEDDY, COMMUNICATION). In THE COLONEL’S OUTING, Banks gracefully reveals a endearing gay character, closeted by age and isolation, who finds companionship again.””
Pink Apple Film Festival, Switzerland: “With age there comes a certain loss of control about one’s life. It addresses love beyond a certain age in a very touching way. Strong pictures, and a story with a real thread.”
El Lugar Sin Limites Film Festival, Ecuador: “The theme that it’s never too late to be who you are is shown in a sweet way, and the photography and staging is excellent.”
Torino LGBT Film Festival, Italy – International Jury: “The film is funny and touching at the same time. Worth a special mention because it reminds us that it is never too late to come out.”