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A Short Filmography of Grant Lahood

Grant Lahood (left) at Cannes in 1994, along with Jonathan Brough, Lee Tamahori, Neil Pardington and Niki Caro

 
When you think about New Zealand short films, several names come to mind, one of which is often Grant Lahood. Starting out in the New Zealand film industry as a cameraman, Grant went on to make his directorial debut in 1989 with the short film Snail’s Pace. Since then, he has directed, written and produced a number of short films, many of which have been screened to international audiences and have achieved great film festival success.

Known for his idiosyncratic storytelling, quirky humour, and ability to extract beautifully nuanced performances from his actors, Grant’s work truly encapsulates what makes New Zealand short films so great. In this edition of the Screening Room, I would like to share with you three of my favourites from Grant’s impressive oeuvre of short films.

 

Snail’s Pace

Grant Lahood (1989)

Snail’s Pace is a time-lapse film that follows a snail’s journey across a busy main road in its search for a meal. Filmed entirely from the snail’s point of view, it is sweet, simple, and strangely captivating. Grant Lahood’s humour really shines through, with a fantastic soundtrack mimicking the snail’s movements and a twist at the end that makes you sympathise with a snail in a way that you didn’t think was possible. With director, producer, and writer credits, Snail’s Pace was the short that launched Grant’s directorial career.



 

Bad Dates

Grant Lahood (2005)

Featured in our 2006 festival programme, Bad Dates is a hilarious exploration of the sometimes awkward, sometimes charming, but mostly down-right cringe-worthy experience of speed-dating. Grant gradually draws us into a world of larger-than-life characters, led by an ensemble cast of Toi Whakaari students (including many familiar faces!). I love the way the story unfolds in this short: the writing, editing, and twist at the end are a true testament to Grant’s impeccable ability to weave a tale of both comical and outlandish proportions.



 

Sprung

Grant Lahood (2013)

A finalist in 2013 Tropfest, Sprung captures a boy on a mission to bring his innovative idea to life. Under the glare of his sneering peers, the boy perseveres, although it’s not certain until the end of the short whether his plan is pure genius or just incredibly idiotic. Beautifully shot and undeniably engaging, Grant brings out the best in his actors in this film. I also really love his ability to make the audience root for the underdog and this film is a great example of that. Showing Kiwi ingenuity at its finest, Sprung is the perfect balance of odd and endearing.


 
Thank you for joining us in this month’s installment of the Screening Room. I hope you’ve enjoyed this selection of short films, and that Grant’s work has inspired you to go out there and make your own! Join us again next month for more of our favourite shorts!