Horror film fest success for Tauranga movie-maker

Monday 31 October 2022

Rising Tauranga horror film director Gary Davies has topped a run of success for his short film Be Quiet, winning Best Horror Short Film at the Golden Lion International Film Festival in Kolkata, India - just in time for Halloween.

On top of the win in the country of 1.2 billion people, the Kiwi short film - which tells the story of two Kiwi kids menaced by a late-night monster - has been included in the upcoming Terror-Fi Fest, October’s DJANHO! Brazilian Film Festival and London’s Halloween Horror Fest.

2021 was the start of Be Quiet’s run of success, with Be Quiet receiving official selection for the Atlanta Horror Film Festival 2021- a significant US horror film festival - and picking up a nomination for Best Horror Micro Film at the Austin After Dark Film Festival in Texas. This year, Be Quiet also received the Princeton Tiger Award for excellence in filmmaking at the Nassau Film Festival, and over its run has appeared at film festivals in places including Spain, Arizona and Nelson.

The film was the result of what Davies describes as “a burgeoning film-making scene around Tauranga.”

A writer and director of what Davies describes as “a no-budget feature” and numerous short films across two decades, 47-year-old Davies works as a professional house sitter around the Bay of Plenty.

Davies says after extensive location scouting, Be Quiet was shot in one day in May 2021 in a historic farmhouse at Pyes Pa. The film was completed in July 2021.

“Most of the cast and crew were locally-based,” Davies says. “Tanya Horo of BOP Actors Studio did a brilliant job of casting and coaching our wonderful young actors, Iisha Harris and Marlo MacDonald.

“Everyone worked hard to get the film in the can and looking like a big-budget affair. Whakatāne-based Producer Simone Ashton ensured we achieved high production values for the film and put together a thorough festival strategy to maximise its reach.”

Davies has a slate of horror features he is working towards getting into production, including ‘In the Moonlight,’ a real-time horror-thriller which received script development funding from the NZ Film Commission, and which he hopes to get made in the BOP.

Be Quiet was released publicly in October and can be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo and through Facebook.