Skip to Content


Manu and the Runaways

by Whangārei Mushroom Enjoyers

The debut short for Whangārei Mushroom Enjoyers with special thanks to Creative Northland, Northland Youth Theatre, Ann Midson, Whangarei District Council, Quarry Arts Centre, Bell Tech, and the people of Whangārei.


If you get abducted, I'm gonna get kicked out of the babysitters union..

Loved the ending!! The 48 Hour Film Festival needs a best dog award, and Manu should win it

This team had a great sense of humor throughout the short film. There is some rough stuff but that's pretty typical of the 48-Hours. There were some great-looking shots as well. I got the impression that the twist of the film is they were actually after the dog all along but I couldn't be 100% sure if I got that right or not.

A film with a joyful sense of adventure, with go big or go home themes that could very much only ever be made in New Zealand, and celebrates community in the best possible way.

Essentially an on the run film, as children now identified as threats look for sanctuary in the wilderness, with an expert tracker and his unit hot on their heels with lots of comedic touches.

The team here made very strong use of genre, with Manu the family dog working as the brains of the operation for the escape and quickly garnering our attention as an audience by paying just as much attention to the broadcast warning as his teenage companions, and then seemingly thinking outside the box by 'suggesting' camping gear and leading the way.

Further ticks like linking the animal with the tracker via smells and tastes gave this some really nice laugh out loud moments. I also appreciated the well edited POV animal shots that felt well placed for giving the film movement and urgency.

Technically some really fantastic work with expert framing, focus, grading and drone work making this at times a visual splendour. Audio super clean with the confident trumped centred soundtrack driving the film quite uniquely whilst the deliberate avoidance of modern technology gave the film a timeless aesthetic.

Performances strong here in particular the tracker. Where I think the film could have been elevated a bit further were driving home the high stakes that were so clearly loud out with some emotional gravitas.

Don't get me wrong, this ticked a lot of the boxes from a storytelling perspective; asking a dramatic question very early (kids a threat, have to run - where will they go?) and ultimately we end up with tenderness and an endearing film. I just wonder if the tonal consistency was just broken up a little bit more if we'd have seen this in the Auckland final. Also it looked like you got an amazing amount of coverage and the fun of everyone making through shone through on screen, but could that coverage have been tightened up just a little bit in the edit? Just my minor nitpicks. Great job though team!

Add a review

Sign in to post your review