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A group of all-female Southern Institute of Technology students have taken away the Best Art Direction Award at last weekend’s red carpet Rialto Channel 48 Hour Awards in Dunedin.

The 14 member all-female cast was named ‘The Lady Bugs’ and was made up primarily of Diploma in Performing Art students with only three others coming from the digital media and visual art degrees. The team was one of five groups that came from SIT, with four walking away with awards on the night.

SIT Bachelor of Digital Media student Mel Larsen said the brief was provided to the aspiring film makers at 7pm listing a character name, props needed within the film, a line of dialogue and the potential for an extra mark if point of view shots were used. “We had a team of screen writers to decide on the script. We chose the best ideas and put them together into one story. We had access to costumes and a car from the 1920’s that we sourced on the night.”

Their film 'City of Elidae’ is likened to a 1920’s film noir with a similar feel to Frank Miller's 2005 film Sin City says Ms Larsen.  "The whole world was females; it’s a crime movie with the main character having a split personality.  By day she’s normal and at night she’s a murderer who kills off political figureheads. When she wakes up in the morning she doesn’t remember anything. The detective who’s hunting her down is her sister, unbeknownst to both.”

Ms Larsen was the only film student in the group which resulted in her picking up the titles of Team Leader, Cinematographer, Director, Producer and Editor.  Locations for the film shoot included several alleyways in Invercargill and Demolition World, contributing to the film's feel. “It’s a silent film (black and white)... unfortunately we had a few problems with the music which made it really silent!”

SIT Dramatic Arts programme manager Fiona Forrest said the student actors experienced significant growth and applied techniques learnt at this year’s SIT film training with Robert and Duncan Sarkies. “This all-lady team threw themselves wholeheartedly into the intense film making process as actors, scriptwriters and art production technicians.”

Following their success The Lady Bugs plan to work on another short film - a paranormal thriller titled ‘Left Behind’.  Three other groups from SIT who entered the competition picked up awards during the night (listed below).  The national results are to be announced in Auckland in July.

The Lady Bugs:
Best Art Direction

Team Members: Mel Haeata Larson, Jaimee Jennings, Heather Freeborn-Gordon, Christene Earl, Shanon Smith, Anna Obers, Kayla Davidson, Rose Freeborn, Gabbi MacClure, Ashley Seales, Debbie Johnson, Courtney Hughes, Melissa Cooper, Elizabeth Murphey, Denise Murphey.

Electric Shoelace:
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Costume
The Audience Favourite award

Best animation

Best DQ’d Actor
Best DQ'd Film

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