Genre.net.nz

The New Zealand Genre Content Network

Song of the Hunted – A film by Peter Haynes

Song of the Hunted is quite possibly a perfect example of a project that genre.net.nz hopes to champion.  In fact it, and the larger body of work from it’s creator Peter Haynes, are at least part of my inspiration for developing genre.net.nz.

A feature length independent fantasy film, Song of the Hunted exemplifies the sort of ambitious project that New Zealand content creators with a passion for a genre can pull off with surprisingly few resources, a lot of sweat, help from friends and – unfortunately – an inordinately long amount of time.

Currently being released episodically on Youtube by Haynes Film – the very first trailer for this dv era fantasy film was posted online back on July 11 2006. Just in case you can’t remember, in July 2006 Youtube was barely a year and a half old and Facebook was still restricted to American College and High School kids only.

Fast forward five years later and the film is seeing the light of day online, so far without much fan fare, as Peter posts new portions to Youtube and the lets people know about the release through status updates on his Facebook page.

Now – I don’t know how wide an audience there will eventually be for Song of the Hunted, nor what lessons fellow New Zealander genre creators could learn from it’s lengthy inception, creation, and it’s current eventual release. But I know personally, as a content creator, when I consider the amount of effort that must have gone into this project across such a long period of time, it probably deserves a better chance to find it’s potential audience then it has achieved so far. By putting it online I am sure Peter feels that it deserves an audience as well.

It is easy to imagine however – considering how long it has taken the project to reach this stage – that putting the time and effort in to making its release a bigger event could be a bit of a bridge too far for this prolific film maker. Especially when more recent works are finding their own successes, and new work is undoubtedly taking up his time as well.

This sort of project fatigue is exactly the sort of thing I am hoping genre.net.nz can help combat, especially as it is an experience I have gone through myself with Big Bad Wolves – a short that was coincidentally finished in July 2006, put online to little fan fare a couple of years later, and yet seemingly miraculously received its first screening at an international A list festival just this year – a milestone we had long given up on ever happening.

Song of the Hunted, with its very ambitious production values (especially costuming), good use of New Zealand’s varied scenery, and what appears to be an intricate and detailed Fantasy setting undoubtedly has many thing for both New Zealand and international fantasy fans to like about it – although I would  wait to discuss overall quality until after the whole project is available to watch.

One thing that is clear – Song of the Hunted is a film that has both been hindered and helped by the relentless march of technology.

Having been shot in standard resolution, I am sure Peter would regret all that art department work not being captured on the amazing, lower cost, higher resolution film making tools that even hobbyists have plentiful access to today.

On the other hand, it’s clear that improved desktop computing power has allowed Peter to make up for many of the problems with the format of the time with considerable post production efforts, both in terms of colour grading and subtle effects to up the production value in a way that would have probably been impossibly time consuming and expensive if it was attempted to be all done at once back in 2006.

I am hoping Peter will talk to me a bit about this project – both it’s history, his thoughts on it’s place within his filmography and his decision to release it now episodically online.

As an example of New Zealand Fantasy film making, it certainly deserves some recognition, if only to ensure that Lord of the Rings doesn’t remain the only entry on the New Zealand Fantasy Film Wikipedia page. I hope you check it out, and that we can get some words from Peter about the project in an update soon.

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