France Hervé

Like an Octopus by its Own Ink Erased

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Wendy is losing her memory... what drove her to tattoo her back with a Māori motif on her 80th birthday?

The event is such a shock to her sons, it causes them to make an urgent decision over her future.

Meanwhile, they have their own imperatives to settle. Owen, the eldest, designer in aeronautics, is out of reach. Dalman, an actor living between hotels, is out of work. Joe is out of his depth in his new position as private driver for Ray, a tentacular powerful man. However, Joe takes his mother into his home: a very small house with an idyllic garden where with Patricia, his wife who is a landscaper, he places all his dreams. Their only bedroom is prepared for Wendy. But that very night she passes away.

It is only after scattering her ashes into the sea, that the brothers realize they did not take the time to discover what their mother had tattooed on her skin. What had seemed meaningless now holds a mystery that contains them all. On their way back, in exchange for their mother's remains, the Ocean summons them to save the strangest of creatures: an original mythical being, escaping the temptation of definitive outline - an Octopus.

Why this Story?

The short film script deals with a topic that is close to people's hearts which is memory loss and the impact it has on the families involved. Conceived as a contemporary tale, suspended time and abstraction introduce a raw visual poetry to the parallel realities of the drama: the loss of our World-Ocean; spanning Māori, Celtic and Mediterranean world views in the face of our own impending ecological devastation.

Why the Octopus?  

Both biotic and mythic, you may not know that  the Octopus -  Te Wheke - is implicated in the discovery of Aotearoa, and in Pacific myth is considered the lone survivor from a previously ruined universe. An inconceivable form of intelligence without bone structure, governing in the depths of the oceans, her shape-shifting faculty and confusing metamorphoses are inherent in the spirit of this film.

Why the Tattoo?   

Of course we cannot reveal yet the mystery behind the Māori motif but be sure that this key scene is in good hands, thanks to the know-how of Tattoo Artist Mokonui-a-rangi Smith, a specialist in the art of traditional tattoo, transmitted via his family origins and mentor Croc Tatau.


This year, thanks to author and artistic director France Hervé, we have already obtained via French sources a budget of $15,000. The script has become tighter in collaboration with first assistant actor/writer Frédéric Prévost and extremely valuable mentorship in its final stage from renowned film director Guy Girard. Based and inspired by the culture of Aotearoa/New Zealand, its natural landscapes, history and people - the script has then been translated into English by Kenneth Spiteri, an experienced actor also playing the lead role of Joe in the film.

We need to raise a further $6,000 to go towards the real costs of making the short film. Shot in both interior and exterior locations as well as in hired studios, the film strongly incorporates graphic, textural elements and rear-projection backdrops imposing sense of scale and heightened realism. These funds will ensure feeding and transporting our dear cast and crew, securing all locations and providing extra lighting equipment, projectors, specific furniture, costumes and props.

Dream Team

Like an Octopus by its Own Ink Erased is comprised of award winners both on screen and behind the scenes. More important to us, they are bold artists recognized for their hybrid creative talent in various fields.

France Hervé Writer/ artistic director of FHK multi awarded Under Lili's Balcony.

Ed Davis Filmmaker/Director of Photography/ Special effects/ Editing. Three-times winner of Best Director at Kodak Awards.

Music Composer is Bill Direen, a legend of New Zealand music who has released more than twenty LPs and CDs, some important albums to the success of the fledgling Flying Nun Label. In 2017, Bill's creative life was portrayed in the wonderful documentary 'A Memory of Others' (dir. Simon Ogston) at the International Film Festival, currently screened around the world.

The Cast   

Kilda Northcott (The mother) is considered a national treasure, one of New Zealand's most accomplished contemporary dancers working with Limbs Dance Company, Douglas Wright, Michael Parmenter and featured in Alyx Duncan 'Pandora' film.

Jeremy Randerson (Dalman) has strong foundation in writing and comedy festivals, working as an actor for Taika Waititi , Jackie Van Beek, Gaylene Preston and sister Jo Randerson.

Kristian Larsen (Owen) is an award-winning choreographer and multidisciplinary performance maker for renowned artists such as Jerome Bel, Min Tanaka and Lemi Ponifasio.

Kenneth Spiteri (Joe), currently plays lead Role in 'the Crucible' production at the National Theatre of Malta and includes credits in feature films such as 'Beneath Hill 60' (Australia), 'Abschuss Fahrt' (Rat Pack Productions, Germany) and most recently 'Paul, Apostle of Christ' (Sony, Affirm Productions).

Last but not least, Bridget Kelly (Patricia) dancer, actor and multi instrumentalist has worked for such numerous brillant artists around the world including Red Mole the best-known avant-garde theatre company in New Zealand. Check out our website for team updates and bios.

The film's creation is a force to be reckoned with: including Tessa Mitchell  (MA in Spatial Design from AUT) as Line Manager, also securing children's casting and coaching and the bright  Jenny Stevenson  as Executive Producer, who has worked on numerous productions including co-producing three consecutive Kōwhiti Festivals. Thanks to Stevenson, we're grateful for wonderful support from the Art Council of Malta and Corban Estate Arts Centre.

More reasons to support us!

Shooting is scheduled for mid-July 2018. Currently in pre-production, we are ready to go. We've got nearly everything we need to give this short film an entrance for the best festivals with first showings in France and New Zealand. As a highly experienced team we are committed to the belief that low costs do not mean "cheap". We are committed to working creatively.

Of paramount importance, Like an Octopus by its Own Ink Erased is also the essential element of a Live TRIPTYCH Inter-Arts creation that will be world-premiered in Auckland, March 2019. Bringing together choreographic, filmic, audiovisual and scenographic arts, this short film is the centre piece from which its two other ends are constructed.

Completing our full creative team we are proud to count with us New Zealand's most sought after designers:  Martyn Roberts (Lighting), Steven Lloyd (Architecture), Dorita Hannah (Architectural Performance Design), Matthew Gauldie (Fine Arts) as well as Ya-Ling Huang (Hologram Expert from Taiwan) and our exciting collaboration with NIWA principal scientist Geoffroy Lamarche (Marine Geology) who is donating data to use in an artistic context.

By supporting us, you can be part of this adventure...

There are many ways you can support the making of this film: through donation of course, and sharing our campaign with your friends, family, professional network. Also, if you see that regarding the needs listed you may be helpful to us (i.e. equipments, catering), we will be all ears to your suggestions. Unity is strength.

You can follow us step by step with advancement of the film by consulting our Website and by following Like an Octopus by its Own Ink Erased on Facebook


NZ income earners qualify for a 33% tax credit on their donations from the IRD.

Thank you so much for your support !