Mistaken identity leads to award-winning short film

A red car, a blind date and two women named Sue are the subject of the Grand Phoenix Palm Award winning film at the Raglan Arts Film Festival Awards (RAFFA).

Order for Sue is the brainchild of first-time filmmaker Sue Bellerby who turned her short story about a case of mistaken identity into a film shot entirely on her mobile phone.

“If I waited until I could afford all the equipment it was never going to happen,” she laughs.

“Looking at some of the other movie entries the quality and sound is better but you shouldn’t let that hold you back.”

With help from another local filmmaker Ray Diprose and a friend Rick in Queenstown, Sue was able to utilise their technical skills to edit the movie to fit the required timeframe.

“Rick came up with some really good suggestions and was really clever at showing me tricks on how to shorten the film.”

The story about a blind date and two Sues in red cars turning up at the same location is based on an incident that actually happened to Sue.

In the movie Derek, the character meeting the blind date named Sue, is played by local Mark Reynolds, the blind date Sue is played by his wife Tish Taylor, Sue plays Mark’s nagging wife and the other Sue waiting for her order of fish and chips is played by Hayley Hailstone.

In between jobs, Sue had taken up writing to pass the time and get down on paper some of the interesting experiences she has had, including the mistaken identity one.

It was a toss up between this story and another one to turn into a film, but the simplicity of filming Order for Sue won out.

“The ‘Sue’ story was easier to do – I had to consider the location, who is going to be in it. You can’t just do a film about going into space – it needed to be quite simple.”

Shot in Raglan and enlisting the acting skills of her friends, Sue had originally thought the film would only ever be shown to friends and family but encouraged by Ray, who is also a RAFFA judge, she decided to go ahead and enter.

“I was very insecure about the movie, it’s a totally amateur production. I had to get through that.”

While the story is based on Sue’s own experience, the characters and the storyline took on a life of their own once filming began.

“Although I knew what the beginning and ending was going to be as I started filming it morphed.”

Sue hopes her win at the RAFFAs will encourage other budding filmmakers to have a go at making their own short film.

“You don’t need expensive equipment or money – all you need is your phone and some friends,” she says.

Sue has some projects in the pipeline for next year’s awards and while she’s not in it for the win, she loved the filming experience and the award was just the icing on the cake.    

Janine Jackson