Kit Reilly’s Turbulent Kingdoms was shot in different New Zealand locations including Waiheke’s top destination points. Photo Views from an airplane window scene

Island dancer Kit Reilly will be screening his first film, Turbulent Kingdoms, at Waiheke Cinema on Friday 9 December. The movie is a series of nine short films of dances at different New Zealand locations, including Waiheke.

Kit says he came up with the idea of a film during the first lockdown in 2020.

“It came at a time of self-reflection and a lot of rapid change in the world. It was my way of reflecting a multitude of scenes through different vibrant colours, dances and locations.”

Every short film can stand on its own, says Kit. Still, they all follow a cohesive creative line through the fusion of colour, dancing and music.

“Each of the films is different on purpose, but they’re all part of the same universe.” He says they can all stand alone and operate individually.

With the film, the Waiheke dancer was looking to push the boundaries of what dance can do on the big screen.

“It’s all done through dancing and no dialogue,” says Kit. “I wanted to provide a cinematic experience that would appeal to everyone, not just dancers.”

True to the DIY generation, Kit played many roles, both in front of and behind the camera.

“I did almost everything: editing, music composition, directing and some camera work.”

The films are doing well in festivals all over the world, including in the USA, Italy, France, Canada and Brazil. The shorts Views from the Airplane Window and Remain won four awards, including best young director and best sound design.

“For the last couple of months I’ve been submitting the films around the world, and I’ve been slowly receiving feedback about them. The films have won four awards already, and they’re part of seven festivals so far,” says Kit.

For locations, Kit has chosen a wide range of New Zealand landscapes, including some in his beloved Waiheke.

“The locations are a mix. Some scenes were shot in Auckland, in various locations and some in Waiheke in places like Stony Batter, Fossil Bay and my garage,” says Kit.

Interestingly, Kit won an award for best production design for the short he made in his garage that he meticulously arranged to soften the fierce light of the New Zealand sun.

Due to the film festivals’ positive response, he says he feels encouraged to keep experimenting.

“Being able to integrate all my skills felt natural to me so I definitely want to create more things like this in the future. This is exactly what I was meant to be doing,” he says.

Turbulent Kingdoms is Kit’s directorial debut, and it will have its first screening on Friday 9 December in Waiheke Cinema. After this, the film will be shown once a week indefinitely.
• Silvia Massa

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