The Catch not the one that got away

Kiwi movie maker looks to conservation themes in his work.

Kiwi movie maker looks to conservation themes in his work.

Lead actor Nicol Munro (left) and director Simon Mark-Brown after Saturday’s charity screening of The Catch, which is expected to start its Gisborne run at the Odeon Multiplex on Thursday.

THE Catch is the little film that could.

Director Simon Mark-Brown and lead actor Nicol Munro were in Gisborne for a charity screening that drew 50 appreciative filmgoers to the Odeon Multiplex on Saturday.

Mark-Brown nursed the idea for the movie for 12 years before using $100,000 of his own money to make it with a crew of 11 over 11 days last year.

He felt the film was blessed. Things fell into place: actors, location, support from the Kaipara Harbour community of Pahi, weather, soundtrack, and the bonus (for a small film) of a theatrical release. It seemed this film was meant to be.

It started as a dinner party conversation about a high-stakes fishing contest “up north” where the winning snapper was found to be a days-old fraud. The story was transposed to Kaipara Harbour, which sold itself as the location on its first audition.

“I saw it and thought, ‘If we do this film, that’s where we’ll do it’,” Mark-Brown said.

“We did a recce, and the locals got on board. All the bit parts are played by locals; we shot during a real fishing contest.”

Glenn Wood wrote the script, and the film almost got made eight years ago under a funding scheme for television.

But the scheme fell over and Mark-Brown shelved the idea, although it would not go away.

“Then I just thought, ‘Do it’, I’d fund it myself,” he said.

While this imposed limits, it meant he was free of any pressure to keep investors happy.

“It was liberating, the ultimate in freedom filmmaking.

“It was as lean as it could possibly be, and I’ll never do it that way again.”

It helped that Mark-Brown has been directing film in one form or another for 25 years. He is executive producer of “new media” company Kontent — their slogan: We Shoot Stuff. His background in television commercials, documentaries and short films, combined with the versatility of his colleagues, made the project doable.

Three of his key actors were available for only two days, and another actor, in an appealing cameo, was there for just a day.

Like a chess game

It was like a chess game. Mark-Brown had storyboarded it all so he knew where he was going. They shot “flat out” and were done in 11 days, but for a few tidy-up and drone shots.

The film’s music owes much to serendipity. At a 25th wedding anniversary party, Mark-Brown got talking to American-based Kiwi singer-songwriter Greg Johnson, who agreed to do the soundtrack.

“He whacked that music out in two weeks, and we got six original songs,” Mark-Brown said.

The soundtrack and Kaipara Harbour are like extra characters in this film, appearing as themselves.

The plot focuses on down-on-his-luck Scottish builder Brian (Munro), his fishing mate — and moral compass — Wiremu (Tainui Tukiwaho) and dastardly English fishing guide Marcus (David Capstick). As the annual fishing contest looms, Brian comes across a snapper big enough to win any competition. The film draws its dramatic tension from Brian’s plan to keep this snapper hidden and produce it on competition day. But this is a fishing movie, not a thriller, and humour is never far away.

The issue of overfishing is an undercurrent that Mark-Brown developed as the project gathered momentum. The Catch wears its heart on its sleeve in this regard, to the extent that LegaSea, the public outreach arm of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, is helping promote the film.

Mark-Brown told the audience after Saturday’s screening that Hawke’s Bay had been “ravaged”. The annual fishing contest there, 85 anglers out on 30 boats for a day, had produced two snapper, he said.

Kaipara Harbour, with its smaller population, was not so badly affected, but declining stocks were reflected in the falling number of boats fishing out of Pahi over the past five years. And the harbour’s status as a breeding ground made it important for the rest of the country.

Conservation theme for next project

Mark-Brown is eyeing another conservation theme for his next project. He is keen to explore the little-publicised bottling of New Zealand water, but says the subject may be better suited to television than film.

One of Mark-Brown’s team at Kontent, editor/cameraman Bertrand Remaut, also worked on The Catch, and it was his girlfriend, “Gigi”, who was pivotal in the recruitment of acting talent.

Gigi was part of the film crew, but she is also an actress, and Mark-Brown had asked her to recommend actors for The Catch.

“These guys,” she said, directing him to an acting class that included Nicol Munro.

A Scotsman from Edinburgh, Munro looks like he could have held his own in a New Zealand rugby scrum. Not any more, though.

Now 45, Munro gave up rugby five years ago after he broke three ribs, having broken two the year before.

“I’d played rugby for 34 years, from the age of six; my dad was a coach,” Munro said.

“I played the game in New Zealand, at Takapuna, in Australia, in Canada and in the UK, but not for money. I was a No.6 (blindside flanker) or No.8.”

These days, home base is in Browns Bay, on Auckland’s North Shore.

Munro studied at Edinburgh and Hull universities, earning a degree in economics that set him up for a career in banking. He married a New Zealander he had met in Hull, and eight years ago, after their “half-Scottish, half-Kiwi” daughters arrived on the scene, the family shifted Down Under. The daughters are now aged 12, 11 and nine, and keep Munro “very busy and entertained”.

As for his acting future, Munro has “a couple of auditions”. His old occupation holds little attraction.

“Banking is not healthy for me,” he said.

“I’ve found something I love (acting). I’d rather do something I love for no money than get paid lots of money and hate getting up every day.”

It’s that sort of sentiment that got The Catch made.

THE Catch is the little film that could.

Director Simon Mark-Brown and lead actor Nicol Munro were in Gisborne for a charity screening that drew 50 appreciative filmgoers to the Odeon Multiplex on Saturday.

Mark-Brown nursed the idea for the movie for 12 years before using $100,000 of his own money to make it with a crew of 11 over 11 days last year.

He felt the film was blessed. Things fell into place: actors, location, support from the Kaipara Harbour community of Pahi, weather, soundtrack, and the bonus (for a small film) of a theatrical release. It seemed this film was meant to be.

It started as a dinner party conversation about a high-stakes fishing contest “up north” where the winning snapper was found to be a days-old fraud. The story was transposed to Kaipara Harbour, which sold itself as the location on its first audition.

“I saw it and thought, ‘If we do this film, that’s where we’ll do it’,” Mark-Brown said.

“We did a recce, and the locals got on board. All the bit parts are played by locals; we shot during a real fishing contest.”

Glenn Wood wrote the script, and the film almost got made eight years ago under a funding scheme for television.

But the scheme fell over and Mark-Brown shelved the idea, although it would not go away.

“Then I just thought, ‘Do it’, I’d fund it myself,” he said.

While this imposed limits, it meant he was free of any pressure to keep investors happy.

“It was liberating, the ultimate in freedom filmmaking.

“It was as lean as it could possibly be, and I’ll never do it that way again.”

It helped that Mark-Brown has been directing film in one form or another for 25 years. He is executive producer of “new media” company Kontent — their slogan: We Shoot Stuff. His background in television commercials, documentaries and short films, combined with the versatility of his colleagues, made the project doable.

Three of his key actors were available for only two days, and another actor, in an appealing cameo, was there for just a day.

Like a chess game

It was like a chess game. Mark-Brown had storyboarded it all so he knew where he was going. They shot “flat out” and were done in 11 days, but for a few tidy-up and drone shots.

The film’s music owes much to serendipity. At a 25th wedding anniversary party, Mark-Brown got talking to American-based Kiwi singer-songwriter Greg Johnson, who agreed to do the soundtrack.

“He whacked that music out in two weeks, and we got six original songs,” Mark-Brown said.

The soundtrack and Kaipara Harbour are like extra characters in this film, appearing as themselves.

The plot focuses on down-on-his-luck Scottish builder Brian (Munro), his fishing mate — and moral compass — Wiremu (Tainui Tukiwaho) and dastardly English fishing guide Marcus (David Capstick). As the annual fishing contest looms, Brian comes across a snapper big enough to win any competition. The film draws its dramatic tension from Brian’s plan to keep this snapper hidden and produce it on competition day. But this is a fishing movie, not a thriller, and humour is never far away.

The issue of overfishing is an undercurrent that Mark-Brown developed as the project gathered momentum. The Catch wears its heart on its sleeve in this regard, to the extent that LegaSea, the public outreach arm of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, is helping promote the film.

Mark-Brown told the audience after Saturday’s screening that Hawke’s Bay had been “ravaged”. The annual fishing contest there, 85 anglers out on 30 boats for a day, had produced two snapper, he said.

Kaipara Harbour, with its smaller population, was not so badly affected, but declining stocks were reflected in the falling number of boats fishing out of Pahi over the past five years. And the harbour’s status as a breeding ground made it important for the rest of the country.

Conservation theme for next project

Mark-Brown is eyeing another conservation theme for his next project. He is keen to explore the little-publicised bottling of New Zealand water, but says the subject may be better suited to television than film.

One of Mark-Brown’s team at Kontent, editor/cameraman Bertrand Remaut, also worked on The Catch, and it was his girlfriend, “Gigi”, who was pivotal in the recruitment of acting talent.

Gigi was part of the film crew, but she is also an actress, and Mark-Brown had asked her to recommend actors for The Catch.

“These guys,” she said, directing him to an acting class that included Nicol Munro.

A Scotsman from Edinburgh, Munro looks like he could have held his own in a New Zealand rugby scrum. Not any more, though.

Now 45, Munro gave up rugby five years ago after he broke three ribs, having broken two the year before.

“I’d played rugby for 34 years, from the age of six; my dad was a coach,” Munro said.

“I played the game in New Zealand, at Takapuna, in Australia, in Canada and in the UK, but not for money. I was a No.6 (blindside flanker) or No.8.”

These days, home base is in Browns Bay, on Auckland’s North Shore.

Munro studied at Edinburgh and Hull universities, earning a degree in economics that set him up for a career in banking. He married a New Zealander he had met in Hull, and eight years ago, after their “half-Scottish, half-Kiwi” daughters arrived on the scene, the family shifted Down Under. The daughters are now aged 12, 11 and nine, and keep Munro “very busy and entertained”.

As for his acting future, Munro has “a couple of auditions”. His old occupation holds little attraction.

“Banking is not healthy for me,” he said.

“I’ve found something I love (acting). I’d rather do something I love for no money than get paid lots of money and hate getting up every day.”

It’s that sort of sentiment that got The Catch made.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you think tension between North Korea and USA will escalate to military conflict?