British film-maker Tajinder Hayer first had the idea for the film – which he called ‘Islands’ – three years ago while studying film in England, when one of his tutors said to try writing something without dialogue.
The story he came up with is a “story about love, and a quest for independence”, he said.
The main character is a young woman named Vaine who lives on an island and is in an oppressive relationship. She falls in love with a man on another island, and Hayer said the story is about the decisions she makes.
He said creating a film without dialogue has its pros and cons.
“It’s less of a challenge in that you don’t have to worry about the talking, but it’s more of a challenge in terms of, how do you tell the story with just pictures and sounds.”
The movie is around 15 minutes long and has no words or music, but does contain “rhythmic sound” such as the sound of waves, he said.
“It’s using the environment as rhythmic accompaniment.”
The filming took place on Motu Oneroa in Muri – which Hayer said was a great setting for the movie, even if the crew left the set with a lot of mosquito bites.
Hayer said he has learned a lot about the Cook Islands during the Film Raro experience, including the significance of wearing a flower behind the left or right ear – something that features in the film.
“I didn’t know before I came here that a flower behind the right ear means you’re single and behind the left ear means you’re married – it was useful information for the film.”
Hayer is the co-writer and director of the film, and is part of a team of four who are collectively known as ‘The Four Beards’ due to their facial hair.
The other members of the crew are cinematographer Scott Dulson, editor and first assistant director Mark Bull, and Daryl Peat who put together the sound for the film.
The four met while studying film at Sheffield Hallam in England.
Hayer has written for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Peshkar Productions and Menagerie Theatre Company. He has taught on the Creative Writing degree at the University of Bradfordsince 2004.
Film Raro is a cultural exchange organised by Auckland company Drum Productions Ltd, where six crews from around the world travel to Rarotonga and work with locals to make six short movies. The films will screen at the Film Raro International film Festival on Saturday May 25 from 6pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $4 for adults and $2 for children.
A screening for ‘Islands’ will also take place in Auckland on May 30 at AUT University.