Mickey Treadwell

Hot Chocolate

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THE FILM: Hot Chocolate is a short drama by David Hay shooting in May 2019.

It tells the story of Maddie (22), a young woman who arrives home, only to discover the body of her flatmate. Nothing in her life has prepared her for this and to make matters worse, her sister Nina (8) is waiting in the car outside. With no time to think, let alone prepare, Maddie has to come up with the best course of action to do right by her late friend, and protect the innocence of her little sister.


David Hay is an award winning film and television director. Following the success of Cold Fish, 2017, Hot Chocolate will be his second short film set in Dunedin. For this project he is collaborating with long-time television producer Tess Whelan and the multi-talented Amie Richardson as executive producer.

Contributing their creative talents to the project are production designer Andy King, casting director Cindy Diver, editor Ben Lamar, and DOP Dominic Fryer.

For full bios, see the profiles in the updates section below.


Thanks to the small cast, contained setting and the crew's connections with Dunedin's generous film community, we've come up with a modest budget that will realise our vision.

We've determined we need to raise $4500 to cover production costs. This money will go towards gear and vehicle hire, cast and crew expenses, props, set dressing and feeding everyone.

Beyond producing a world-class short film, our goal is to foster the film-making community here in Dunedin. We want to engage with our best creatives, actors, workers, amateurs and professionals to nurture future collaboration and get more projects off the ground in our city.


We've already received generous support from NHNZ, Petridish, Aart on St Andrew, Jared Hunter Mason Photography, and BrandAid, but we still need your help to make this film a reality.

By donating, you're joining the Hot Chocolate team. Every backer will be listed in the credits and, when we premiere at Cannes, you can hit up David and Tess for a free hot chocolate.

From all of us on the Hot Chocolate team, Thank you so much for pitching in.


  • UPDATE: 75%!

    6 DAYS AGO

    UPDATE: We just hit 75% funded! We are beyond stoked with the amount of generosity and encouragement sent our way this first week. Every little bit really does count.

    From David, Tess, Mickey, and on behalf of everyone on the team: THANK YOU!🧡

    UPDATE: 75%!
  • Meet the Team: Art Director Andy King

    6 DAYS AGO

    Self-professed creative design addict Andy King got his start as an apprentice sign-writer. He went on to study Design at Otago University, but the brush has never been far from his hand.
    Not a man to be boxed in- neither by material, nor by medium- Andy has created ship interiors, graveyards, whales, English pubs, and most things in between. You might recognise his work from such indie gems as Wolverine, Perfect Creatures, King Kong, Walking with Dinosaurs, and Top of The Lake. He has also crafted long standing tableaus for the Otago Museum, Cadbury World, and more recently Toitu. We can't wait to see how Andy brings the Hot Chocolate set to life.

    You can check out some of his fantastic work online at https://www.andykingscenicartist.com/

    Meet the Team: Art Director Andy King
  • Meet the team: DOP Dominic Fryer

    1 WEEK AGO

    We are extremely excited the latest member of our team, a man whose work you’ll almost certainly be familiar with: director of photography Dominic Fryer

    Dominic has been working as a DOP for the past twelve years, working on projects with NZ’s most renowned film-makers – including Annie Goldson, Justin Pemberton, Leanne Pooley and David Farrier.
    In 2016, Dominic shot Sundance hit Tickled with David Farrier. In 2017 he followed up with feature doc Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web which premiered at SXSW. Most recently he has completely filming on Netflix series Dark Tourist.
    Dominic brings the technicality of a seasoned stills photographer and the story-telling of a true documentarian. We are thrilled to have him behind the lens on Hot Chocolate.

    Meet the team: DOP Dominic Fryer
  • Meet the team: Casting Director Cindy Diver

    1 WEEK AGO

    The hunt is on for Hot Chocolate's leading ladies, and the leading the search is Ōtepoti's own casting powerhouse: Cindy Diver.

    Cindy is a Dunedin based casting director, professional actor, director, writer, and the owner-manager of Theatreworks Ltd. Over the past twenty eight years she has worked full time in the theatre, television and film industry in a wide variety of roles including; production manager, casting director, playwright, stage manager, producer, actor, director, technician, and events manager. For ten years she sat as the performer’s representative on the Fortune Theatre Trust Board, was a founding member of Kilimogo Productions and Stage South, and is currently on the board of Wow! Productions Trust. Cindy has also been teaching and managing InterACT Drama Classes since in 1996, is passionate about teaching performance skills and loves working with independent filmmakers.

    Cindy worked with Dave on his previous short: Cold Fish and we're thrilled to have her help again for Hot Chocolate.

    Meet the team: Casting Director Cindy Diver
  • Meet the team: Editor Ben Lamar

    1 WEEK AGO

    A fellow NHNZ and Cold Fish alumnus, Ben "Golden Boy" Lamar has been in high demand since he cut his first sizzle.

    After earning his MSc in Natural History Filmmaking at Otago University, Ben started his career in television as an editor at Natural History New Zealand for the children’s television network ZooMoo. Since then, Ben has edited NHNZ’s most prestigious titles including Big Pacific for PBS and Fish My City for National Geographic. Outside of television Ben has edited on a number of film projects including the David Hay's previous award winning short: Cold Fish. When he isn’t in the edit suite, Ben can be found playing video games or on the basketball court.

    If you're familiar with Ben's work, you'll know that the Hot Chocolate edit is in very, very safe hands.

    Meet the team: Editor Ben Lamar
  • Meet the team: Production Manager Janine Baker

    1 WEEK AGO

    Production management is not a skill for the faint of heart. If you've never had to make sure 8 people and $30,000 worth of camera gear arrive safely in Singapore for a 5 week shoot on a shoestring budget, count yourself lucky. There's a reason they call her Janinja.

    Janine has been working on and off in television since 2007. Hailing from a tiny village in Cambridgeshire, her credits include such quaint titles as: Big Brother, Million Pound Drop, Strictly Come Dancing, Soccer Aid 2016, and Saturday Kitchen Live. Since jumping the ditch to NZ, she has been lending her boundless energy to NHNZ on Jackie Chan's Green Heroes, Fish My City with Mike Iaconelli, and Megastructures: Quarry Hotel.
    When she needs to relax and restore some energy, you’ll find Janine hiking, doing CrossFit, playing netball, or working as a Kaitiaki volunteer for DOC. We’re glad she’s on our side.

    Meet the team: Production Manager Janine Baker
  • Meet the team: Producer Tess Whelan

    1 WEEK AGO

    The beauty of film production is that it is a collaborative process, bringing together multitudes of talented people to realise the creation of a singular piece of art. Of course with multitudes of people comes multitudes of emails, phone calls, deadlines, budgets, promises, threats, and compromises. Defending Hot Chocolate from these forces of chaos is the indomitable Tess Whelan.

    Over twenty years Tess has refined her skills in the industry as a researcher, location scout, casting assistant, location manager, production manager, writer, director and producer on everything from kids’ TV to true crime. She’s recently been honing her multi-tasking and budgetary skills by juggling three children and a huge home renovation.
    She’s excited to bring her extensive experience and local knowledge to this production, and is thrilled to be onboard with such a fantastic team.

    Meet the team: Producer Tess Whelan
  • Meet the team: Writer and director David Hay

    1 WEEK AGO

    David is the mastermind behind Hot Chocolate: the latest in a long series of international film and television projects.

    David’s film career began with award winning short documentary An Introduction to Henry: The Navy Years (2001). He produced two more shorts in 2003 before getting ‘distracted’ by a career in factual television. He has directed, written, produced or edited 100s of hours of shows for international and local networks (including National Geographic, PBS, Channel 4, and NHK) that have won multiple awards including a BAFTA and a QANTAS. He returned to filmmaking in 2014 with Chloe and made Cold Fish in 2017. It has played in over 20 international festivals, picking up a jury mention in Sienna, and the Best Short Film prize in Ravenna. His first feature script won a NZWG SEED grant and his second won the inaugural Dunedin Shanghai Screenwriters Exchange.

    David has set roots in Dunedin, and if he isn't behind a camera or a keyboard, he's probably working on his home - a converted turn of the century chapel.

    Meet the team: Writer and director David Hay