Posted on

Star on and off the screen

One Senior School student found success in front of and behind the camera as part of the HP 48 Hours film competition earlier in the year.

Head shot of Queen Margaret College. Ilena has won a poetry prize.
Ilena Shadbolt

Year 13 student Ilena Shadbolt won the Wellington ‘Best Female Filmmaker’ award, sponsored by Women in Television and Film and was nominated nationally for the ‘Best Solo/Duo Team’ award for her film Fused.

Ilena made Fused as a solo-artist and entered QMC as a school team. A lot of the short film was made at the College.

HP 48 Hours is a New Zealand competition where participants make a short film in 48 hours. Every team is given a theme and some specific film motifs to use. Ilena was given the genre “Technological Thriller”.

“My film centred on a machine-human fusion who escaped from a scientific research centre to live her life outside of the control of those experimenting on her,” Ilena explains.

“At the end it is revealed her world was a simulation to determine the optimum fusion of machine judgement and human emotion. In reality, a scientist is trying to find the right balance to fuse criminals with machines. She believes ‘fusing’ criminals and putting them into the justice system as judges will help them give back and get them on the right side of the law, even if this is ethically contentious and violates their human rights.”

This was the first time Ilena took part in the competition as a solo artist.

“I acted in another 48 Hours film in 2016. Ashley Williams, a director I’ve worked with and mentor to me, suggested I enter it by myself,” Ilena says.

Despite it taking place just a week before her IB school exams Ilena took the opportunity and entered.

“I borrowed some camera equipment from my friend and lighting equipment from the school and went for it. Saturday was rather painful as I ran out of space and battery in the middle of filming a scene but I managed to hand it in.”

“Acting whilst being the camerawoman was quite a lot to juggle, and it meant that any moving shots would not be possible. I achieved movement through holding the camera and filming myself to create quite a claustrophobic feel.”

As Fused was made specifically to HP 48 Hours guidelines Ilena says she is unsure whether she will take it further, however, she is looking to use the experience she gained creating the project in future short films.

“I also used some of the experience when creating my IB Visual Arts project.”

Ilena has also been successful outside of film-making this year. In August she was named the winner of the 2018 National Schools Poetry Award for her poem, Vignettes.