First-time filmmaker Gwen Daley on the red carpet at The Top of the South Film Festival, screened at the Suter Art Gallery and Theatre on Friday night. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

First-time filmmaker takes out festival

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The who’s who of the region’s filmmakers and rising stars walked the red carpet at The Top of the South Film Festival on Friday night.

Screened at the newly-renovated Suter Art Gallery and Theatre, the night showed 11 short films and a music video to a sold-out crowd.

Organiser Tim Hawthorne says it was a great night for local film. “It was like a Hollywood evening – lots of energy and the crowd was buzzing about the quality of the films. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it looks like we’ll need to expand the festival to two nights next year.”

Amongst the films up for judging was Late Equalizer, a 19 minute drama by local Gwen Daley.

Gwen, a first time filmmaker from The Wood, has been involved in theatre since she the 80’s, but has never produced a film.

Late Equalizer is about a former professional kiwi footballer whose wife finds out she is pregnant but doesn’t want another child.

On the otherside of the world, the world’s greatest footballer dies in a car crash and is told he is to be reborn to the kiwi couple. After finding out the mother doesn’t want any more children, he has to convince the footballing father that he will be their child.

Late Equaliser was nominated for eight awards, but ended the night winning best screenplay, best supporting actress and the people’s choice for best film.

Gwen says she is ecstatic after winning the awards and showing the film to the public for the first time.

“We couldn’t believe it, it was brilliant, people really enjoyed it and it was great listening to the audience laugh, it was a really, really wonderful and enthralling experience.”