The Six Dollar Fifty Man: The World Gets a New Hero

The Six Dollar Fifty Man: The World Gets a New Hero

The Six Dollar Fifty Man is an inspiring short film directed by Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland, produced at New Zealand’s Sticky Pictures for NZ Shorts. The award-winning short film premiered with Special Distinction in Cannes 2009, received the Jury Prize for Filmmaking at Sundance 2010 and was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.

The Six Dollar Fifty Man tells the story of eight-year-old Andy, who is forced to cope with daily struggles against bullying and abuse at a suppressive elementary school in rural New Zealand. The gutsy little boy has created a fantasied superhero world, in which his wild imagination allows him to perform extraordinary physical feats to withstand pain, scale buildings and leap from tall rooftops to deal with the school bullies and his constantly disparaging teacher. However, when Andy gets into trouble with the headmaster, he realizes that in order to save himself and his only friend, he must find the courage to confront his problems in the real world.

The Six Dollar Fifty Man: The World Gets a New Hero

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Double Happy: The Anatomy of a Tragic Screw-Up

Double Happy: The Anatomy of a Tragic Screw-Up

Double Happy is an unusually observant short film written and directed by the young New Zealand filmmaker Shahir Daud, which has been selected for presentation at the Montreal International Film Festival, HOF Film Festival (Germany), Interfilm (Berlin), CFC Film Festival (Canada), Winterthur Film Festival (Switzerland), and Show Me Shorts (New Zealand).

A film of rare quality and power, Double Happy is a lovely film to look at and it possesses a high level of technical excellence. At its heart, the film is a character drama, relying on expertly presented profiles to build its story, showing, rather than telling, the essential details about its characters in order to relate their motivations. Finally, it displays a subtlety and patience in unfolding its drama, only to upend you at the climax in a shocking fashion.

Double Happy presents a detailed look at the inevitable emergence of a huge social fuck-up, the slow buildup to the moment you eternally wish you could take back. It’s been said that almost all extremely terrible, destructive actions have their origins in positive desires, and in this simple drama about four New Zealand teenagers in tne 1990s, we are, in a very shocking fashion, made witness to that truism.

If there is one particular feature that makes Double Happy stand out, it would be that it is an unusually observant film about young people, their shy gestures and bold dares, as well as the sometimes very strange characteristics of their group dynamics; the constantly fluid shifting of in-group and out-group designations achieved and enforced through secrets and put-downs. At this age, one discovers that even when you care, you can end up trampling on one another out of simple inexperience, fear and carelessness. Double Happy paints an impressively clear and nuanced picture in which the emotional and physical denigration of its protagonist slowly builds, causing his anger to mount and ultimately leading to its tragic misdirection.

Double Happy: The Anatomy of a Tragic Screw-Up

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