From our good friend Bruce Hopkins: “1nite” wins at the NZ Screen Directors Guild Film and Television Awards 2005

One of NZ’s most highly regarded films is now available for you to own. Go to Bruce Hopkins and Amarbir Singhs web site or, check it out and buy your own copy of the DVD, with interviews by Bruce Hopkins, director Amarbir Singh and award winning DOP/Editor Cristobal Araus Lobos,…you know you want to!!!

An award winning digital feature, 1nite is the debut film from director Amarbir Singh and features a cast comprising some of New Zealand’s finest actors including the bloke on a horse called Charlie, who helped save Middle Earth from the evil one, Bruce Hopkins ( aka Gamling ).

In July 2005 1nite was selected as one of two finalists (along with the superb documentary from Florian Habicht, “ Kaikohe Demolition”) for the best digital feature at the NZ Film Awards. DOP/Editor Cristobal Araus Lobos won the award for best technical contribution to a digital feature at the same presentation, so, for a debut feature film shot solely with a miniDV camera ( no other equipment!!! ) and a budget of $400, 1nite is proof that it’s talent that maketh the movie!

1nite had its world premier in 2004 at the Auckland International Film Festival, receiving rave reviews which resulted in the two screenings being sold out, and Q & A sessions that the director of the film festival described as the best attended and most engaging of the festival.

Peter Calder in the New Zealand Herald newspaper said: “Stylistically, it recalls early Jim Jarmusch or Paul Auster’s Smoke. But the Bombay-born Singh, who arrived here only seven years ago, has an immigrant’s watchful alertness to the particularities of his new home, he and (the cameraman) Cristobal Araus Lobos, a Chilean émigré, put a distinctively local stamp on the genre, …an accomplished and entertaining film.”

In the film festival programme, director Bill Gosden, said: “The semi-improvised nature of the project favours conflict over resolution and gives the talented cast ample opportunity for charged performances.”

Gosden went on to say that Lobos’ camera work “dogs the characters, staying in close, in agile verite style”.

The cast includes Bruce Hopkins ( Lord of the Rings, Jubilee, Savage Honeymoon, Macbeth ), Rajiv Varma ( Price of Milk, Toy Love and the sell out stage show “From India With Love “, Jon Brazier ( Scarfies ), Karlos Drinkwater ( best actor at the drifting clouds film festival ”When The Jars Are Done”, stage production “Whale Rider” ), Anna Hewlett ( Macbeth ), Lauren Jackson ( Alex, Perfect Creatures).

Amarbir says he chose the digital medium as a vehicle to best tell the story.

“The digital style in this film brings out a voyeuristic realism to the characters, often digital as compared with film is seen as a compromise but this was the opposite – I wanted to use digital because the feel needed to have that rawness that comes from the street.”

Amarbir wanted to create a pared back sense of realism and so worked closely with the actors to semi improvise the whole script.

He wanted to involve the viewer in the actors’ emotions and in order to do this used no props or any formal script.

Using a hand-held digital camera and improvised dialogue, the film captures the exciting dynamic of the street with the 24-hour timeline creating an urgency as the plot evolves.

Shot in and around Auckland’s Karangahape Road, the storyline centres around a young immigrant Sikh taxi driver (Rajiv Varma) who struggles to sustain his optimistic view of the opportunities New Zealand provides. Two old friends (Bruce Hopkins and Nial Greenstock) get drunk together and uncover bitter feelings and rivalries. A good samaritan (Karlos Drinkwater) recovering from a recent breakup helps out a crippled ex-cop (Jon Brazier). A prostitute’s (Anna Hewlitt) bad night is made that much more difficult by her obsessively watchful boyfriend (David Van Horn).

To any film maker looking for inspiration 1nite is a fine example of what can be achieved without access to major resources. Using only a Canon XL1 digital camera (no lighting or sound gear), a crew of 2 and coming in on a budget of $400.00, 1nite utilizes the talent of the actors and the crew to create an engaging piece of work.