The journey of a group of teenagers training for and competing in the Coast to Coast has made the big screen thanks to support from David Reid Homes.
East to East documentary director Vanessa Wells says funding from David Reid Homes allowed her and her team to re-edit the original TV-length documentary, making it longer and more cinematic, leading it to be selected for screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival.
The original documentary followed the high school students from Aranui in Christchurch as they trained and took on the challenge of the Coast to Coast, at the time the youngest people ever to do so.
“Thanks to David Reid Homes, we could hire a drone and camera operator and go back to film the race in 2017. This meant we could get some more wonderful scenic shots and put some more space into the film,” Vanessa says.
“Then we went back to the edit suite and added an extra few minutes at the end where we interviewed the students a year on. It’s a lovely ending to the film and it was the most common question I had after the TVNZ version screened; ‘what happened to them?’.”
With very little funding behind her, Vanessa had to rely on the support of the community to pull the documentary together, and it was always the dream to turn it into an international film.
“It’s such a wonderful feeling to see this story get to the New Zealand International Film Festival, and we hope this is a launch pad to see the film head overseas too.
“The only way we could get to where we are now was through the wonderful support of so many people. DRH allowed us to get the extra footage and re-edit, and once it was accepted to the Festival, the NZ Film Commission helped us get to the cinema,” Vanessa says.
Thanks to the support from sponsors and the community, the film is also being trialled as a resource for the education sector.
“David Reid Homes’ support also helped us develop the education cut and we have been testing it with schools this year. It’s been really well received and we are rolling out to more high schools in the second half of the year,” Vanessa says.
“There’s a resource pack linked to the New Zealand curriculum teaching students about grit, determination and wellbeing. It’s a very exciting area to be working in.”
David Reid Homes chief executive officer Ben Allan says the company loves a challenge, with a number of directors having completed the Coast to Coast themselves, one finishing 12 times.
“When we heard this inspiring story of challenge and adventure, we wanted to help out so that more people could hear this wonderful story. We love the challenge that these young people took on, and we love the Coast to Coast, which is such an epic event,” he says.
The film can still be viewed as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival at Hoyts Northlands, with a Q & A afterwards on Sunday 19th August at 11.30am.