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Curtin filmmaker featured at international film festival

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“At 16, I saw films that blew my mind.”

The cast and crew for the film These Final Hours
The cast and crew for the film These Final Hours

Fast forward several years later and Zak Hilditch is the one making the mind-blowing films. The Curtin graduate’s latest fully funded feature film These Final Hours just premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival and was borne out of a short film called Transmission which just so happened to pick up the Best Screenplay Award last year at the Australian Academy Cinema and Television Arts (ACTAA) Awards.

These Final Hours is an apocalyptic film. “A 30-year-old man called James is on his way to the party of all parties on the day the world ends when he saves this little girl and has to help her find her father,” Zak summarised over the phone from Melbourne where he was writing a speech and preparing for a Q & A session after the screening. “It’s a film about doing the right thing before you die.”

His first film Boxing Day was made as part of his honours project and was rather dark, and many of his films are about intense situations and emotional experiences. “There is a sense of optimism though,” he said. “But I think it’s to do with the kind of films that interested me when I was younger.”

He rattled off a list, and Tarantino movies featured heavily on it. “I was just really lucky as a kid – my mother let me watch anything on TV and I would stay up watching films. And at 16 or 17, I was just starting to think about what to do with my life.”

It led to him enrolling at Curtin then after graduation returning to tutor. “Curtin has been my career – without Curtin I would not have made my first film,” he said honestly. “I had a lot of support and it’s great to go back and pass on my experience. Ken Miller and Ron Elliott were wonderful as lecturers.”

“Zak was an exemplary Film and Television student who progressively developed his skills as a director and filmmaker throughout his undergraduate and honours years at Curtin,” Dr Ken Miller said. “Our students have been lucky enough to have him tutor in a number of units and it was fantastic to see him have this opportunity to direct his first fully funded feature film.”

The premiere is not the only coup for Zak. Nathan Phillips of Wolf Creek fame stars as James and fellow Curtin alumna Jess De Guow plays Zoe – only to have her star catapulted higher after getting a role in hit TV show Arrow partway through filming. “It was great to bring her back for the film,” Zak said.

Zak won’t be venturing over East or Hollywood’s way anytime soon though. “I will go wherever the work is but right now there is a lot of money in Perth and a lot of people willing to invest in its film industry,” he said.

As for what’s next, the filmmaker said he has nothing concrete as yet since his focus is still on These Final Hours.

“Next on the list is the Cinefest Oz event in a few weeks’ time,” he said. “Down in Busselton.”

Perth, prepare to have your mind blown.

For further information on the film: These Final Hours Facebook page


Share your thoughts on this story (comments are moderated in advance).

This story has 2 comments

  1. Rach says:

    Congratulations Zak! Can’t wait to see it.

    And congratulations to Marisa – this is a really well-written article.

  2. Clare says:

    I attended the premier and would highly recommend making the trip to Busselton!

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