Coming of age short Dirty Dishes will premiere at Palmerston North

Ben Pryor (left) and Zain Collins star in Dirty Dishes, a heartfelt short film about a teenager reassessing his relationship with his single mother. Photo / Arlo Macmillan

Zain Collins was at a Christmas Eve party when Arka Gupta said he wanted him in his next movie.

Not only that, but he wanted Collins to play Max, the main character. Gupta says he had seen Collins on enough shows to know he could pull it off.

Short film Dirty dishes premieres in Palmerston North next Friday, with a second showing the following night.

A fall Boosted campaign raised $11,200 for the film, and Palmerston North Creative Communities Scheme gave Gupta $11,950 – exactly what he asked for.

In addition to renting equipment and feeding the cast and crew, Gupta wanted to be able to pay everyone – not just industry professionals, but emerging talent as well. He managed to achieve this.

Gupta, a scientist at the NZ Leather and Shoe Research Association, wrote, directed and produced Dirty dishes.

Collins’ first show was Joseph and the Incredible Technicolor Dream Coat in 2103 at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School. He played Benjamin.

Collins did Grades 2 and 3 theater at Boys’ High School. In 2015 he was Fat Sam in Bugsy Maloneand went on to play Larry in Complaint of the foreskin and the purser everything is fine.

The 22-year-old now works at McDonald’s and Timezone, pursuing his love of acting through the Massey University Drama Society where he met Gupta. They did Ax of Murder together in 2019.

be part of Dirty dishes was amazing, plus it was his “first paid gig as an actor”. He wants to do more actors on screen.

Collins says he has a lot in common with Max.

“When I was around his age, I was also a little immature myself, thinking I was ready for all this and all that.”

Max is 16 and trying to finish high school. He also tries to find out who his father is and deals with his mother trying to keep it a secret. Max suffers huge mood swings and escapes into online games.

“At first he thinks he’s ready to find out the truth, but once it happens it’s a bit of a shock to him, like something he actually wasn’t prepared for,” Collins said. .

After three months of pre-production – planning, finding funding and 12 rehearsals – the 20-minute film was shot in two and a half days.

Dirty Dishes director Arka Gupta with Zain Collins (Max), first assistant director Zak Rodgers and Ben Pryor (the father).  Photo / Arlo Macmillan
Dirty Dishes director Arka Gupta with Zain Collins (Max), first assistant director Zak Rodgers and Ben Pryor (the father). Photo / Arlo Macmillan

Ben Pryor plays George, Max’s father. Gupta says that Collins and Pryor are both phenomenal actors but were on screen for the first time and had a demanding script in terms of characterization.

They spent time getting to know their characters and what goes through their heads.

“In film, you have to make it believable, otherwise the audience won’t buy it because it’s not believable.”

One of Gupta’s goals with Dirty disheshis third short film, was to create a team around him.

“When you start you have to do all the jobs by yourself, you love the essence of filmmaking. I did it because I wanted to teach myself pretty much every aspect of filmmaking and I love every job that comes with cinema, I literally love it.”

He got in touch with Derrick Sims, “THE cinematographer in Palmy” and lecturer at UCOL. The Sims worked on Dirty dishes as director of photography and also did the sound design and coloring.

Jane Bennett is Max’s mother, Jane and Cameron Dickons and Sam Wyss appear as Max’s friends.

Gupta is preparing his next short film. It’s about a 5-year-old girl who is slowly losing her ability to hear. He takes sign language lessons because he wants to cast a deaf girl and direct her without using an interpreter.

“The story is a bit personal to me because I had a deaf friend when I was in elementary school and he was so overlooked by other people.”

Hearing loss is not a disability. “It in no way compromises your ability to learn.”

Gupta says Palmy is not lacking in movie talent, but is losing talent to big cities because there is no movie center here. He would like to change that.

His first two short films, also made in Palmy, Distancing (Atimari) and Udiyoman (Emerging) will also be screened at Dirty dishes first.

The details
What: Dirty dishes – Palmy Première
When: October 28 and 29, 7 p.m.
Where: Globe Theater
Tickets: from the room

This is a Public Interest Journalism funded role through NZ On Air

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