Meet an upcoming Melbourne filmmaker Kurt Horne, taking advantage of the upside of lock-down.
Is it possible to chase your dream during these tough, economic and social times? Absolutely!
When Covid-19 hit Australia in March, Kurt Horne worked full-time in tourism as a tour guide and part-time on a big short film called ‘The Little Pin Up’ – a project that has been a dream of his since he wrote the first draft of the script several years ago.
The inspiration came after he graduated from film school and continued to volunteer on other student film sets, a common way for film graduates to continue honing their skills beyond their studies. This particular set was the kind where people were walking off on day one. It was chaos, but Kurt, an avid fan of action cinema, decided to stay and learn from the production’s excellent stunt and pyrotechnics team. Exhausted and strung out by the end of the shoot, he decided that he could make a much better action film himself, and with that thought came an image into his head like an instant flash of lightning.
An image of The Little Pin Up, a real-life Pin Up girl with a heart of gold in a little red dress came straight into his mind. Carrying a shotgun, she was protecting a neighbourhood of children from being enslaved by The Evil Snow Bunny, a kind of blonde terror, a Marylyn Monroe Pin Up girl gone wrong so to speak.
An avid fan of Pin Up art, fantasy storytelling, childhood nostalgia and action cinema, Kurt decided to use this instant idea to blend these passions together, so he wrote the first draft of The Little Pin Up. Pin Up art itself has been around since the end of the eighteen hundreds. The Pin Up girl has been used in propaganda, advertising, for men’s entertainment and as a feminist symbol – not to mention that she is a superstar icon in the world of art, fashion and more. If you look back to tourism advertising right here in Australia from the ’50s and ’60s, you will see the Pin Up Girl enticing you to visit Bondi Beach, the Great Ocean Road and more.
So why hasn’t she been brought to screen yet? This question led Kurt to the creation of the films Pin Up women, all nine of them in fact. These colourful female characters are not only glamorous and beautiful, but they come with real depth and strong personalities, and the two leads, that one that appeared in Kurt’s mind on that films set so many years ago, end up literally going to war with each other. The Little Pin Up is an action fairy tale for grown-ups – set in an alternative version of the 1950’s – about female empowerment, good versus evil, childhood nostalgia and both the power and corruption that comes from needing to be loved.
As of September 2019, the script has been on the shelf (well, meaning in the laptop!) for too long, and it’s time to make it. Despite full-time work in tourism and other commitments, Kurt gets another producer onboard, Leanne Campbell, and they begin the search for the films extensive cast and crew around Melbourne – right up to until Christmas.
John Fox, Australia’s top screen armourer – being the guy who looks after all the guns and safety on a film set – comes on board to handle the extensive stunts and gunfire required for the film’s final showdown between The Little Pin Up and the evil Snow Bunny. Because there are kids in the film even though they won’t be there when the blanks are firing for the big scene, they felt it was important to get the best when it comes to safety!
The film’s poster is created and original one of a kind artwork for the characters is produced by local artist Andrew Law.
“Andrew has been amazing to work with, his interpretation of Kurt’s ideas has been amazing to see transformed into these original pieces that represent the characters of the film. We couldn’t have picked a better artist to develop these images with and we are proud to have him as a part of the journey.” Leanne Campbell
In 2020, Kurt and Leanne hit the ground running with extra casting sessions and ‘chemistry tests’ – a process where actors are brought together to see if they will connect on-screen – that took place in Toorak Bowls club. By February the film’s 18 speaking roles, half child, half adult, are locked in, as well as other crew members.
Then March comes, and with it, Covid-19. Kurt and Leanne were supposed to host a massive barbecue and script read for the films now established cast, as well as extensive interviews for the films camera and art department roles, on the second weekend of lockdown. Fear paralysed some people during the start of Covid-19; some people postponed their plans, their life, and their dreams. But not Kurt and Leanne, together they moved all of their social and production events to Zoom and carried on casting their crew and building their team online.
Tourism was the first industry that ‘went under’ with the virus, and rather than complaining and resigning to a life of Netflix and ice cream on the couch, Kurt decided to concentrate the majority of his time onto what he now calls, his ‘big short film’.
Within a month, the production attracted an excellent camera and art department team and they began with regular production meetings being held each week – all done online and without any social contact. Thanks to online communication and file-sharing programs like Facebook, email, Zoom, DropBox, Google Drive and Celtx, the entire film production knows what they’re doing and is able to add to the project in order to continue working towards the films shoot in November – if the funds are secured, and if the social restrictions have eased.
From budgeting to storyboarding (where each shot of the film is pre-draw to establish where to place the actors and camera) to planning and logistics, everything can be managed from Kurt’s apartment in South Yarra.
“It is amazing what can be done during isolation, I even found a location scout to help secure and then eventually manage the film’s 31 locations once the restrictions were relaxed in May-June. However, now that they are back in full force, that work is now being done on Google maps.” Kurt Horne
Rather than be turned off by the economic downturn, producers Kurt and Leanne have launched the films first crowd-funding campaign on Pozible – Australia’s number one crowdfunding platform, with a reach that extends all over the world.
They have a target of $25,000 in this all or nothing campaign and so far $1,635 has been pledged to the campaign with just 41 days to go in the campaign. I am sure any support with sharing their campaign or pledging will go a long way for these two who are forging ahead in the hope of filming this unique film.
So much of The Little Pin Up is about triumph over adversity and fighting for joy and love at all costs and Kurt and Leanne believe that this film is the perfect opportunity to bring some light into a world that desperately needs it!
For more information, or if you would love to lighten your walls up with some great, original Pin Up art of the original Pin Up characters in the film, then please check out the link below.