October 7, 2019
Issue 12 2019

Artist in Residence enjoying New Zealand stay

American writer and director Jonny Walls is working on his latest screenplay as this semester’s Artist in Residence at the Square Edge community centre.

The Artist in Residence program has been running at Massey since 2004 in a bid for artists to focus on their own work as well as collaborate with students and other local artists for one semester.

“My plan was to have one draft finished by the time the 12 weeks was over… I got my first draft done in four weeks, and so then I had my fourth draft done by week five,” Jonny said.

Since arriving in New Zealand, Jonny has given talks and featured in some lectures at Massey, as well as a workshop with some students on the Manawatū campus. 

Jonny said coming to New Zealand was ‘a great change of pace’.

Jonny’s latest film ‘Bluegrass Spirits’ had its sneak peek pre-screening at Square Edge in Palmerston North on October 4th. 

His second film “All About the Afterglow” hit the screens in 2018 with his first film “Couch Survivor” being distributed in 2017. Both films have been screened in Palmerston North in promotion of his work. 

The 36-year-old grew up in Kentucky and went to university for three semesters before deciding to quit university.

“In that period I was waking up to thinking in cinematic language and it all made sense,” he said.

After working for a few years, he went back to university to study film.

Jonny moved to Los Angeles nine years ago, where he immersed himself in the heart of filmmaking in the US. 

“It’s all so exciting because there’s so much energy and so much creativity the people who are really fighting for it, that’s where they are.”