(Big thanks to Jo)
He’s a Hollywood hunk with a social conscience who just happens to be a Kiwi. Actor Daniel Gillies tells Jo Bailey how he plans to raise the awareness of poverty-stricken countries through his movies.
It’s been a few years since he left New Zealand, but there’s definitely a bit of “number eight wire” mentality behind Daniel Gillies’ latest project. The talented 31 year old Kiwi has managed to write, act, direct and produce an hour-long film ‘Wait for Me’ on an incredibly modest budget of just US$4,500.
The movie was filmed over ten “crazy” days in Panama, using one cameraman (his friend, music video director and animator Geoff Oki), a small HD (high definition) camera and one body microphone. Gillies didn’t start writing the script – about an American guy searching for his lost love – until he was on the plane to Panama, a country he had never visited before. “I wanted the whole experience to be completely foreign and difficult as I thought that would be more interesting to film.” Local people were enlisted to play bit parts, and random conversations were captured on camera. Gillies and Oki filmed at a frenetic pace in Panama City, deep in the Panamanian jungle (where they stumbled across a group of naked pygmies) and on the forgotten islands of Kuna Yala, which are only accessible by small plane. “It was so much fun, although we didn’t sleep the whole time.”