Delinquent: A Student-Made Fundraising Film

The Project

Delinquent was a student-made fundraising feature film, screened in October 2014. The making of Delinquent involved 50 students across various high schools throughout Dunedin. Because of this, the primary theme of Delinquent was pitched towards dealing with frequent dilemmas present through adolescent life such as alcohol use, drugs, bullying, depression and friendships. Collectively, the cast and crew had invested over one thousand hours of their own time to make Delinquent a reality.

When Peter, an ordinary quiet school boy arrives at his new school, he adequately falls in with a group of friends. This is until Paige, the outgoing and self-professed leader of the group displays her blatant dislike for the more shy and timid character of Devyn for him to see. Peter has hesitations, but before he knows it they are stuck together on a camping trip. Despite Paige and Devyn’s previous connections, conflict between them is unavoidable, causing further rifts between other members of the group. The accumulating teenage emotions clash and flare, ending in a nightmare.

How It All Begins

11th July 2013, the day we received a confirmation email from Youth Fund Dunedin that we had been granted $600 for our small film project. It was only a team of 15 members at that time.

The group, known as Deep Dark Productions at the time was planning to make a feature film, sell DVDs and donate money to charities around Otago. That was just a dream. A dream of a few students who have the will and the belief that they can change the wider community -who believe that the power of passion can change the lives of people. With little experience in filmmaking, we didn’t quite know where to start. We got in touch with various organisations and people, telling them what we were planning to do. No one really cared. Until we found Youth Fund Dunedin while searching for funding for youth. Without any hesitation we submitted an application for funding.

Two months later, after a few meetings with Helen Beamish, $600 was granted to us. It was the very first transaction to appear on our bank account. We were so excited yet we didn’t know where to start off. We approached our school’s only drama teacher for advice and guidance. She helped us promote the project to other schools. A few more people expressed their interest in acting and working behind the scenes in the production. In early October, we conducted an audition. 20 people from various schools around Otago turned up and gave it their best. Seven made it through to the film. With no time to waste the writers started on the scripts and a few weeks later we started shooting the film. 19th October 2013 marked the first day of filming. 30 cast and crew showed up. It’s the day where we made many new friends that have the same interests as us. An Otago Daily Times reporter came to report on the story. It was published in the 22nd October 2013 edition.

The Good & Bad

Just like other projects, there were bumps along the way. Some people left the project and never came back. Some got promoted from a boom operator to an assistant director. More people joined the project along the way. There were hard times, when we thought we would never get the film done, when we thought that we should’ve never started with this project. Looking back to day one, we reminded ourselves of who we are doing this for; the community.

More funding applications were sent to more organisations and businesses, hoping that some will reply. An appointment was made with the Mayor of Dunedin, Dave Cull. Advice was given and we applied for funding from Creative NZ for post-production. $1,000 was granted as a result of this in November 2013. This is when we realised that this project is getting bigger than we thought it would be. We renamed the group to Shadowlight Studios. After news spread that funding from Creative NZ had been granted to us, more people expressed their interest in the project and joined.

Over $10,000 has been spent for this film to become reality. The aim of this film is to address the ever changing common problems amongst teenagers that adults don’t usually see, such as the use of alcohol and drugs, depression and relationships.

2014 – The Year of Success

As at September 2014, Shadowlight Studios has over 50 members from five different schools around Dunedin, working on various film and video projects. We are an official sponsor of The McGlashan Messenger, a John McGlashan College student-made newspaper.

Short films and videos were made throughout the year for different competitions around the country. Recently we were awarded for 1st Place national winner (senior category) for the Gigatown video competition. The prizes include 10 GoPro cameras and $2,500 for John McGlashan College and Shadowlight Studios. The total prize value was over $7,000. Dunedin was bumped from 4th place to 2nd place overnight because of our effort. 300,000 points were awarded to Dunedin towards Gigatown competition.

Thank You

From a small dream of a few students that turned into a successful non-profit group and one that has been recognised at a national level. We would like to say thank you to Youth Fund Dunedin, for providing us with a $600 funding kickstart in 2013, and to Creative New Zealand, City of Dunedin, and John McGlashan College for their support. It was a life-changing moment for all of us at Shadowlight Studios. For without the funding and support we could not have started the project and all these great things would have never happened. You didn’t only grant us funding and provide us support, but you granted us the opportunity and ability to change the community into a better place, the opportunity for us to be able to work with professional equipment and facilities, the opportunity for us to meet and become friends for life, the opportunity for us to gain in experience that is not easy to find, and the opportunity for making our dreams come true.

From a small group of 15 students to a national-recognised non-profit group made up of over 50 members, we would like to say a huge thank you all the sponsors and supporters for making this become a reality.

Koon Chakhatrakan
October 2014

Project Sponsors

In The News

High Flyer News Volume 6 Issue 4, November 2014

“Delinquent” – the Dunedin student-made film with more questions than answers

By Teresa Wasilewska / Photo by Allison Images

Inspired by Peter Jackson, Koon Chakahtrakan has been constantly developing his passion for film production since his arrival at John McGlashan College in 2012. After making several short films, he set his sights on production of a longer one, and so the concept began.

The then year 12 student accepted the challenges his age, time and funding presented in creating a film. He decided on a teenage theme, as his actors would be in this age group. The concept of “Deep Dark” was born. Finding no suitable filming and production equipment available to him, he purchased these as a base for his ongoing work, and established Shadowlight Studios as his brand.

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Otago Daily Times Friday 3rd October 2014

Teen dilemmas topic of ‘Delinquent’

By John Lewis / Photo by Linda Robertson

It’s not likely to break Hollywood box office records, but pupils from five Dunedin secondary schools are hoping their film Delinquent will raise enough money to help five New Zealand charities.

The film is the brainchild of John McGlashan College pupil Koon Chakhatrakan, who says the project combines two of his greatest passions – humanitarian work and film-making.

More than 50 pupils from John McGlashan College, Columba College, St Hilda’s Collegiate School, Bayfield High School and King’s High School acted as cast and crew and had invested more than 1000 hours of their own time since the project began in June last year, he said.

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Otago Daily Times Tuesday 22nd October 2013

Lights, camera, action

By Hamish McNeilly / Photo By Stephen Jaquiery

Director Koon Chakhatrakan (16, far left) is joined by cast members (from left), fellow John McGlashan College pupil Callum van Dyk (16), and Ihlara McIndoe (15) and Mhairi Rowbottom (15), both of St Hilda’s Collegiate School, on the first day of shooting for a debut feature film at the weekend.