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This story is set along the dark and arid coastline of New Zealand. 'Tangaroa' is based around a middle-aged Benjamin, who was deeply scarred as a child. He returns to his empty and dilapidated home by the sea, trying to heal and re-attach his severed roots, (The story returns to his youth) Benjamin's mother died when he was very young, but remembers well the bedtime stories she told him of 'Tangaroa' (the Maori god of the sea). From his imagination he carves out the mythical sea-god and in that place, between sleep and wake where he continues to looks for her.

Tangaroa eventually betrays him and he is forced to leave his home, but never is he able to reconcile with his past...until now. (The story reverts back to the middle-aged Benjamin) Through his own courage and with the help and love from one old man, who spends his day's eeling up the river, he is able to free himself from the shackles of his childhood memories.

* NOTES (before reading) These are the final few pages of the second draft of the script (to be further refined). It focuses on Benjamin's re-unification with his mother and brother, but also the unification of three generations (the family tree 'whakapapa').
Benjamin - Main character
George - The Old man
Ana - Benjamin's wife
Joshua - Benjamin's son
Huia - Benjamin's daughter

{Script begins} EXT. In the shallows LOW ANGLE CU < On their feet > The seawater runs up around the old man's feet, the two children on either side, jumping around with enthusiasm, * The sound of the waves echo throughout the bay, FADE OUT to darkness * The sound of the grass in the wind FADES IN, EXT. On the hill side LOW ANGLE MCU < Above the grass line > The knee high yellow grass is bustled by the wind. The blue sky, washed with white clouds that travel on overhead,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > What is healed? And what is forgotten? Faces, scents and voices eventually fade, yes... But the grief remains... warped into the grain, ...Of my tree

DOLLY MCU < Side angle of Benjamin's head as he climbs > Deep in thought, we some sense peace,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > I am a broken child, -- I understand that now,

DOLLY MS < Side angle > They move slowly up the hill. George is supported by one of the children who is holding his hand,

DOLLY MCU < Side angle > The little child and the old man walk together, EXT. On the hillside (on a small plateau) < Rear of the group > They stand close together, a child on either side of George, Slightly

HIGH ANGLE MS < Frontal of the group (the coast and clouds beyond) > They stand before the graves, MCU Mother and sun lie together under the earth, FULL (REVERSE ANGLE) < Looking between the two headstones > Benjamin kneels down and his daughter moves in aside him,

BENJAMIN This is your uncle Thom and Your grandmother... She moves in closer to her father, 1a FULL < Frontal of George and the boy at his side > George lowers himself down beside Joshua, 1b PUSH IN to MCU < George whispers in Joshua's ear > GEORGE Do you like fishing Joshua? JOSHUA Yes, GEORGE Your uncle Thom was a great fisherman, and Your grandmother a singer... -- She was a brave woman, your grandmother... 1a MCU < Side angle of Benjamin > The wind brushes up against him,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > My own flesh and blood, those I had known my whole life were taken from me...I built a temple around the memories of mum...

1b DOLLY < Around to the other cheek >

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > I relived a brush of her hand across my cheek... and In my ears, her voice rang down the long corridors, -- I enshrined her in the bedtime stories she told me before I slept...nice stories like... -- A child finding tenderness under the arms of a Pohutakawa tree...in early summer, before Christmas when the red flowers come out... -- A little girl befriending a bird, and upon his back she travels all the way... From the watery forehead to the tippee-toes of Tangaroa... -- A Boy fishing up a kingdom from the deepest part of the river, Discovering a whole tiny world under the grass, just above the roots...an entire world no less!

1c DOLLY Back to < frontal >

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > But stories of loneliness never did she tell... Never was the boy left behind... Neither lost within the cracks of his childhood, In the dark... -- I broke...like china on a concrete floor, MCU < On Thom's grave > The grass, pushed around by the blustery, warm winds from the sea,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > and All this happened as Thom slept 10 feet from my head, It struck me how timid his breath was, I realise now that he was a child too... CU < 45-degree rear of Benjamin >

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > I remember the shape of his words, Tender and broad edges..."Little brother" He was a fisherman and I remember the smell of salt and Kawaii, CU (REVERSE ANGLE) < 45-degree rear of Benjamin >

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > I remember the big brother, Who left his boyhood years behind... In order to be a guide for me... DOLLY 1a CU < Side angle of Benjamin as he descends the hill > They climb down,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > and Of the night of the storm, His death? 1b PULL BACK to MCU

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > What can be taken from a boy when he felt that there was nothing left to take? I'm still frightened? Deeply frightened to think about it, SLOW MOTION DOLLY MS < The family slowly descend the hill >

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > I come back to my question, What heals and what is forgotten? What is boarded up with nails? and What is gently laid to rest? What is it? When it all passes... Maybe there is no reconciliation in the end, just acceptance... Building wall after wall, DOLLY MCU < Side angle of Joshua >

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > Or maybe it's the pure eyes of my children that look at me now... As I once looked at Thom... Asking for my safe hand as a guide and shelter DOLLY MCU < Side angle of Joshua >

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > Or maybe it's the singing voice I hear from my daughter, handed down from my mother... With the same inflections and the same angel, EXT. On the road DOLLY FULL < Frontal of George > Happily contented, yet tired they make their way home, DOLLY CU < Side angle Of George > The deep contours of his weathered and wise face,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > An uncle who gave me his words to write, blended with my own, Slightly LOW ANGLE DOLLY MS < Frontal of the whole family > Tightly woven together, they walk down the middle of the metal road,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > The family as a whole...the roots that descend from our feet, MS < 45-degree frontal of the cottage > They are having a barbeque as the day begins to dissolve towards darkness. The fresh movement that surrounds the once dead cottage, The smoke rising from the chimney,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > The branches, the finer twigs.... and the trunk that feeds them... INT. In the cottage INSERT 1a CU < The old family photograph of Benjamin's dead mother and brother > 1b PULL BACK to FULL The photograph on the mantle piece, aside it rests the photograph of Benjamin's own family,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > Or maybe in the end, it's just brute strength, EXT. Outside the cottage SLOW MOTION MCU < Frontal of Benjamin and his son > In Benjamin's arms his boy laughs merrily, tickled by his father,

BENJAMIN (VO) < As an older man > Or moments of love, Like a thread through my life...stopping to think and appreciate them, The notion that the gift of giving is the best healer... and Nothing's forgotten, it's just carried under my tongue, A fragment of it in every single syllable or word I utter, Or write... I don't know, I really don't know, I'm sure it's different for everyone... FADE OUT

Ika (A prelude to Tangaroa) | Top


Set in a sleepy seaside town on the east coast of New Zealand, Young Daniel and his father are both broken by the death of their mother and wife. Since her passing their relationship has disintegrated, as father considers his son only to be a reminder of the pain he must endure. He drinks himself into a stupor everyday and has completely detached and alienated himself from his friends.

He chooses only to wallow in the empty spaces around him, Daniel spends all his days upon the rocks as the Pacific Ocean washes up around him. He loves to fish, but his real reason is the spiritual freedom that the sea represents, thus he dwells there until the last fragments of daylight fade. He returns home always to the same bitterness and alcoholic malaise from his father. As he lies in bed at night, the sound of the Pacific Ocean resounds in the distance and it is there that he revisits the memories of his mother, thus finding a few moments between sleep and wake to feel comforted.

Daniel is alone... Father's anguish comes to a head when an old friend visits him and reveals the damage he is inflicting upon his own flesh and blood, and also how devastated his wife would be to discover of his lack of strength and responsibility, but most importantly he stresses the vulnerability of Daniel, his only son. He initially reacts violently and wounds the boy on the deepest level, attacking the cherished memories of his mother. Father unknowingly drives his son to the edge of death... He awakes to his own treachery and pleads forgiveness from his unconscious son.

* NOTES (before reading) Joseph visits father at home afraid for his friend, but most importantly the well being of young Daniel.

Father (Ben)
Joseph - Benjamin's forgotten friend

{Script Begins}
JOSEPH A lot has changed Ben, -- Josh McGowan and Sophia Pomare got married... -- There's a new service station and Brown's store is struggling because of it... That stores been here for 47 years, they may close soon, -- Jenny and Brian had their fourth child, Christina. She was born on the 14th of January in the early morning. Brian was so stoked that they finally had a girl... -- The rugby club is struggling for players, but they always have. There's a rumour that one of the shepherds in the hills, played for a King country a couple of season ago. They reckon they might be able to get him to play... We'll that's what old Thom Halbert is saying at the pub, anyway... -- and Summers turning to autumn, Ben Joseph turns to look at Ben,

JOSEPH (Half humorous) You wouldn't even know that if Daniel didn't tell you! Joseph turns back around, You wouldn't even know that if Daniel didn't tell you! CUT BACK to MCU < Frontal on Father > He becomes a thoughtful,

FATHER All he ever does these days is fish, CUT BACK to MCU < Frontal on Joseph > Joseph remains casual,

JOSEPH Yeah, I saw him last night coming back from his little secret fishing spot... CU < Cut closer to Joseph > He closes in on the jugular, JOSEPH You know where it is? CU < On Father > (Long pause)

FATHER No, CUT BACK to MCU < Frontal on Joseph > He nears the middle section of his smoke,

JOSEPH He's a good kid, Daniel... I've always liked him, since he was a baby... -- Getting quieter by the day though... CUT BACK to MCU < Frontal on Father > He immediately becomes defensive,

FATHER What do you mean? 1a CUT BACK to MS < Frontal - Joseph in the foreground and father beyond > 1b PAN to PUSH IN < Camera travels left slightly and pushes in as the tension begins to build > Joseph becomes more assertive,

JOSEPH He's got no friends bro! Haven't you noticed, man... We had heaps of mates at his age, He spends all day, everyday by himself, CUT BACK to CU < On Father > He grows angry as his face reddens,

FATHER He can go out if he wants! CUT BACK to MCU < Frontal on Joseph > Joseph delivers with integrity, carefully holding his ground,

JOSEPH Yeah he can go all right, Without any love from his father... Right now it seems that you couldn't give a shit about him, MCU < Side angle - Joseph to the right and father to the left > The tension builds,

JOSEPH You've both had it hard Joseph, but Daniels your boy... Remember you lost your wife, but he also lost his mother... That pain is not all yours... CUT BACK TO CU < On Joseph >

JOSEPH He's just a child...and he needs his father, CUT BACK to MCU to PUSH IN < Frontal on Father > Father spits back,

FATHER and Who the fuck are you to preach! You don't even have a fucking job! Have you ever held a job for 6 months! , 1a CUT BACK to MS < Frontal - Joseph in the foreground and father beyond > Joseph stands and turns towards Ben, OTS - Father < Looking towards Joseph > Joseph remains composed and compassionate as he prepares to leave,

JOSEPH Ben, you need to sort your shit out, mate... Ana was a great woman and we all miss her... and I know for sure that she wouldn't want her only son to grow up fatherless, Or worse a father that destroys his own son... CUT BACK to CU < On father > Yelling at Joseph,

FATHER Fuck you! You idiot! MCU < On Joseph as he stands > The concern and pity is written across Joseph's face,

JOSEPH Your dying alone mate... You're killing yourself... But what's worse is that you taking your son, a young boy... To the grave with you,

Isolate-desolate | Top

A man disillusioned with his own domestic existence goes AWOL. He shirks all responsibility and disappears into the desolate landscape of the Tongariro National Park, where he lives in a one-man tent. However, in a pied piper scenario, mysteriously a freak-show of disillusioned others begin to arrive and the man unwillingly finds himself canonized as the founding father of this odd community. Disillusioned further with his newfound role, he begins to pine for his wife and children, hence realising the things he had taken for granted in his regular daily life. Finally, one morning he simply pulls down his tent, packs up and returns home, leaving behind his disciples as they sleep unsuspecting.

* NOTES (before reading) By the riverside in the arid landscape and under firelight he writes, lamenting his two children back home. He agonizes over them, but cannot find the strength to return.

John - Middle-aged man

{Script begins}
EXT. On the bank of the rushing stream, under firelight - Night FULL < Side angle of John > In the flicker of the orange light, OTS - John < Looking down into John's lap > He remains under the firelight, he has an old scrap of paper and a pencil in hand, Slightly HIGH ANGLE ECU [hh] < On his writing > He scrawls, * The scrawling sound of pen and paper, amongst the rushing water from the stream, EXT. Over the stream LOW ANGLE MS < The water runs beneath us > The reflections from the firelight as John pours out his anguish, EXT. On the bank 1a FULL < Side angle of John > In the flicker of the orange light, 1b DOLLY slowly to < the opposite side >

JOHN (VO) To you, When you were born it felt like my first breath had been taken. I forgot everything that existed before that moment... And in your tiny hands I remembered the sound of the ocean... Slightly HIGH ANGLE CUT BACK to ECU [hh] < On his writing > He continues with the ragged and blunt pencil,

JOHN (VO) The white fingertips of the clouds left an impression in my eye. A reflection like heaven, lying in my wife's arms... CU < 45-degree frontal on John's face >

JOHN (VO) -- Children I dream of you...but my soul is empty ECU < Frontal on his eyes > They grow heavy, laden with tears,

JOHN (VO) I tendered the cuts on your tiny feet, when the shells broke... Straightened your hair in the southerlies... Burnt a whole through the palm of my hand, in order for you to see... --I dream of you...but my soul is empty CUT BACK to FULL < Side angle of John > He pauses to wipe the tears from his face, 1a MCU < Rear of John > The fringes of the firelight, pokes around his back, 1b DOLLY slowly to FULL < Directly back >

JOHN (VO) Tonight, the crackle of a fire and the whispering of grass... I feel like I'm standing on the edge, agape as the water runs up and around me... Slightly HIGH ANGLE CUT BACK to ECU [hh] < On his writin g>

JOHN (VO) Looking down, I carry you in my voice and with each stride I disappear into the place from which you were conceived, 1a CUT BACK to CU < 45-degree frontal on John's face > He lowers his head heavily in shame, accepting of his lack of strength,

JOHN (VO) -- Forgive me children...but my soul is empty,, Let me rest..., 1b PULL BACK to MS He sits quietly in the firelight,

Pohutakawa (4 shorts) | Top

These 4 short films are related only by their connection to one particular Pohutakawa tree. Each film individually represents the essence of the 4 seasons and each is visually and emotionally symbolic of the different shades of human nature, within a continually changing environment e.g. 'Us within the greater hand of mother nature'.

The Pohutakawa tree represents the common thread that runs through us all, a thread that most of us are unaware of (I will not disclose the subtle connections of the first 4 seasons) Set in various locations around New Zealand and despite using a spectrum of different characters with completely different values, pasts and general make-up, we soon detect a likeness as if the entire 4 stories were simply a reflection of the different emotional sides of one person.

Autumn Set amongst the urban hills of Wellington, A young male artist becomes embittered by his lack of recognition and financial instability. She is a promising lawyer whose career is gaining momentum. They have been lovers since they were teenagers, however there respective career choices have put them in opposite worlds, and thus they are struggling to hold onto their relationship, despite being in love. The story really revolves around his insecurities and his retaliation and resentment of the security that she provides. Having emotionally forced himself into a corner, he turns ugly...and turns on her...but not without a price.

Winter Set along the northern beaches, An older brother returns from the city, where he is studying in order to break the traditions of a blue-collar family. His mother and sister are extremely proud of him, however his younger brother is bitter and jealous of his talents, talents that he was obviously born without. The younger brother plays a sinister hand, during a fishing trip that was once ritualistic before he left for the city, A storm brews overhead...

Spring Set upon a wealthy estate, An old gardener lives at the bottom of a great garden. He has not left the grounds for many years, and knows nothing beyond the high walls. Immersed in a world of opera and old childhood stories, he has grown out of sync with the morals of the world, The urban myth amongst the local kids is that he murders those who trespass into his garden, burying them beneath the roses. Over dinner and late night drinks, the adults in the village speculate on his reasons for cutting himself off, wondering 'What really happened 13 years ago?'

The old man is oblivious, A local child stumbles into his fairyland in a 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' kind of way. The child is broken and young violinist looking for the soul of his music, but the old man's moral purity and love for music and the cello in particular restores the child's faith and helps him discover the essence of the music he plays. Quickly they become friends and finally does the child ask the question that rests on everybody's lips...'Why won't he leave?'

Summer Set under the Pohutakawa tree, along the warm eastern tip of the North Island, Four generations of one extended family celebrate Christmas under the arms of the great tree. Looking back on the challenges, accomplishments and tales of an entire family, they commemorate those that have passed on and celebrate those still to come. In an melange of Polynesian foods and conversations that travel back and forward through time, they come together as they always do, each year under the same tree, The Pohutakawa tree.

Arch | Top

"I only hope that life is but a mirror and that you reap what you sow..." This story revolves around that idea. Set amongst the dank backstreets of New York, A homeless old man and his sick old dog, live beneath a small clump of trees in a park. Every morning he follows the same routine, chasing the morning sun along the sidewalks and watching his favourite weathergirl on the TV through the shop window. He lives in hope of seeing the Pacific Ocean, but realistically settles on saving for a paperweight (depicting the Pacific) he saw in the window of an antique shop. To get the money he needs he recites his own brand of poetry, slowly inching closer to the $11.95 he needs... The central character is the old man, however we get glimpses into the lives of 3 seemingly random New Yorkers, whose lives coincide when the old man is mugged, beaten and left for dead in a dark alley, just short of the money he needed. A sure test of character strength... Just when all seems lost, his fortune turns and in this case fate is fair.