Richmond film-maker Patsy Burke is making her directional debut this Saturday as the Top of the South Film Festival comes to the Suter Theatre. Photo: Kate Russell.

Local film-maker celebrates film festival debut


Garin College hostel supervisor Patsy Burke is stepping up to the big screen.

The Richmond film-maker’s debut film has been selected as part of the third Top of the South Film Festival this weekend.

Judges from an independent committee in Auckland selected 16 shorts for the festival, and Patsy’s six minute and 27-second-long film, Breakthrough, was one of them.

“It’s about a young girl, Aria, who contemplates suicide,” says Patsy. “It takes viewers on a journey as she experiences different forms of bullying, leading her to a very dark place.”

“It is based it on some of my own personal experience of someone who was dear to me.”

Patsy says her love of films goes back a long way.

“I started writing journals quite young and really started taking it seriously when I had an opportunity to write a church production. From there it just kept developing.”

Patsy was involved in the festival behind the scenes last year and says she is excited to be featured this time around.

“I have to admit, I was just so proud to be picked this year alongside all the other amazing entries,” she says. “We’re all very encouraging and supportive of each other and I feel like we’re building that momentum and celebrating each other’s creativity.”

“I see it as a good boost and step-up and hope it will inspire other young film-makers.”

Patsy is now working on her first feature-length film, which she says expands on the themes in Breakthrough.

She will be writing her own original music for film, as she completes her Diploma in Arts and Media (Contemporary Music) at NMIT.

Now in its third year, the Top of the South Film Festival showcases the best of locally produced short films from Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough, ranging through comedy, drama, horror, experimental, thriller, noir and music video.

There are six entries from Nelson this year, and ten from Marlborough.

All proceeds from the festival go back to the Top of the South Film Production Society.
Last year the festival raised $7584.

Established in 2015, the society is a collective group of passionate filmmakers from the Nelson, Marlborough and Golden Bay regions.

They are are an incorporated society established to help filmmakers collaborate and network with other filmmakers from the Top of the South region to produce high-quality films.

The Top of the South Film Festival is this Saturday, October 28, at the Suter Theatre.

It kicks off with a red carpet event at 5:15pm with screenings at 6pm (now sold out) and 8:30pm.

Tickets are available from the State Cinema ticket counter, by calling 5483885 or online at