Private Project

Actually Alex

Alex is getting ready for a visit from his childhood best friend Charlotte, but he has changed since the last time they met. Alex anxiously gets his house (and himself) ready in preparation for Charlotte’s arrival, and from the moment she knocks on the door things only get more difficult for him.
Fearing rejection Alex initially hides his real self from Charlotte, until her lighthearted probing forces him to reveal the truth about the man he has become.

  • Ness Simons
    Director
  • Ness Simons
    Writer
  • Jules Lovelock
    Producer
  • Bonnie Low
    Producer
  • Alex - Cole Meyers
    Key Cast
  • Charlotte - Tameka Sowman
    Key Cast
  • Kate - Fran Olds
    Key Cast
  • Aline Tran - Director of Photography
    Principal Crew
  • Kate Logan - Art Director
    Principal Crew
  • Jules Lovelock - 1st Assistant Director
    Principal Crew
  • Sally Gray - Costume Stylist
    Principal Crew
  • Kayleighsha Wharton - Production Manager
    Principal Crew
  • Chris Chandler - Gaffer
    Principal Crew
  • Chris Murphy - Best Boy
    Principal Crew
  • Joel Anscombe-Smith - Sound Recordist
    Principal Crew
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 18, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    15,500 NZD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    New Zealand
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HD (Canon 5D)
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.39:1
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Ness Simons

Ness Simons is a writer and director based in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a graduate of the NZ Film School and Whitireia Polytechnic, holding a Bachelor of Applied Arts majoring in Scriptwriting. While at Film School her script Tell Tale Tit was selected as a final graduation production, and she wrote and directed Fashism which played at the 2013 Outtakes ReelQueer Festival.
In 2009 her short radio plays Taking the Bait and Crazy in Love were produced by Radio New Zealand as winners of their ‘Student Shorts’ competition. In 2010 her feature script The Family Way was awarded the New Zealand Film Commission’s 1st Writers Initiative. In 2011 she was the recipient of the WIFT NZ Robin Laing Scholarship.
In addition to currently developing short and feature film scripts Ness works as a freelance film maker on both corporate and creative projects and continues to grow her skills as a story teller.

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Director Statement

I’m intrigued by the intimacies between people; what we reveal of ourselves and what we hide from others, whether we follow our hearts or act on other people’s expectations of us. As I add to my work as both a writer and director, I recognise that much of my exploration happens in this territory, and that my first serious dramatic film Actually Alex is no exception.
We all have little secrets. There are many truths about ourselves that we choose to hide or reveal depending on how brave or safe we might feel on any given day. But what happens when being your true self can’t be hidden, but revealing your secret means risking rejection from someone you love?
In 2011 Aotearoa/New Zealand was to conduct a census, a gathering of the nation’s statistics, that was postponed due to the Christchurch Earthquakes. When the census went ahead in 2013, it was still missing a tiny alteration that would mean nothing to many people, but would mean the world to the people who were affected:
3. Are you?: male female other.
In the middle of all the census politics I found Alex, and in Alex I found the heart that would allow people to consider the world from his perspective.
GLBTQI representation on screen is still marginalised and positive reflections can be hard to come by. The biggest challenge in bringing this story to life was always going to be finding the right person to embody the role of Alex, someone who could authentically portray the character and the complexities of his story. With that in mind, we threw the casting net wide and auditioned across a diverse range of gender, age and ethnicity. From the moment I auditioned Cole Meyers I was excited by the realism his personal experience brings to Alex.
Actually Alex explores the reconciliation of the past with the present from a fresh perspective, and provides the chance to give visibility to a community who struggle to be seen on a standard membership form, let alone on screen.