Short BIO
Ant Timpson : Filmhead

The inaugural winner of

They called him Mr Filmhead.. then ran for their lives. Cinema obsessed from an early age, Ant left a law degree in the mid 80s to become a production runner before going on to be one of the most prolific individuals in the New Zealand film landscape. From managing one of NZ's most beloved arthouse cinemas, to creating a boutique distribution company (releasing everything from Slacker to The Room), to operating the longest running independent film festival in NZ, to programming for the NZ International film festival, to programming for MGM, to creating NZs largest film competition with Peter Jackson as mentor, to starting the film fund initiatives 'Headstrong' and "Make My Horror Movie" to finally producing the successful features 'THE DEVIL DARED ME TO, THE ABCs OF DEATH 1 & 2 for Magnolia Pictures, DEATHGASM – a splatter-metal comedy for MPI/ Media Group. The multi-award winning co-production TURBO KID with EMA Films, HOUSEBOUND & the soon to be finished THE GREASY STRANGLER with Elijah Wood's Spectravision, Drafthouse Films, Rook Films & Madman. His latest feature is THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL which was selected as the first crowd-sourced equity investment project for Indiegogo. His doctor said his resting BP is 180 and maybe he should think about gardening more.


{from the website NZ On Screen}

Those who know him call him Filmhead (n.) an individual who lives and breathes film 24/7. He has spent every year since 1985 getting kiwis to watch films on the big screen.

Ant Timpson's love of film ranges across many genres, but he has made his reputation with movies that will do almost anything in their urge to entertain: exploitation, horror, genrebenders, and varied titles that fell foul of international censors. His parents are probably partly to blame; it was they who took him "at a tender age" to experience 70s movie classics Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now.

By the time he got to university Timpson's brain was becoming permanently twisted by exploitation fare like Shogun Assassin and local title Death Warmed Up. The movie persuaded him and the rest of "Aotearoa's collective horror heads that we too could make gleefully gory genre films". After directing his first, supposedly unwatchable short film in 1987, Timpson began creating fanzines exploring his enthusiasm for celluloid's outer limits. By now movies had taken over his life — he worked on the effects for kiwi classic short Kitchen Sink among other film industry gigs, and later completed his own short, Crab Boy.

Before abandoning law studies at Otago University in the mid 80s, Timpson had begun organising marathon filmwatching sessions for fellow students. After approaching legendary Auckland cinema showman Charley Gray, he was given the go-ahead to organise a festival of bad taste films. Despite being consisting of titles like Hot Spur, Blood Diner and Troma's Surf Nazis Must Die, the no-budget fest was a hit, spurring further cult film slots at Charley Gray's.

By 1992 Timpson had taken over management of the single-screen cinema. After the indie cinema lost the battle with multiplexes, he set up specialist film distribution company 2Brothers releasing specialist fare like Slacker, Accion Mutante, Tango and The Adjuster.

The Incredibly Strange Film Festival began touring Godzone in 1994. Following various changes of title and venue (including a year at Auckland's 2300 seat Civic theatre) the festival won an ongoing home inside the New Zealand International Film Festival where it continues to show provocative cinema annually.

In 2005 the Film Commission funded company Headstrong to provide funding for digital filmmakers. Run by Timpson, Leanne Saunders and Paul Swadel, Headstrong set out to develop features that Timpson argued "actually wouldn't benefit from four-to-five years of development, there's a chance they'd be tinkered to mediocrity".

The two films that emerged were anarchic stuntman comedy The Devil Dared Me To, from Back of the Y perpetrators Chris Stapp and Matt Heath, and Gregory King drama A Song of Good. This tale of a man trying to redeem himself from his criminal past won headlines for its distribution, after it was the first NZ feature freely available to watch online for 24 hours.

In 2008 Timpson presented a season of Incredibly Strange double features for Sky TV's MGM Channel. By now he had amassed an impressive collection of 35 millimetre film prints. Some screened in his yearly 24-hour movie marathons, and some overseas. He had also begun renting out portable movie screens for outdoor screenings.

A keen fan of the idea that good films can be made cheaply and fast, Timpson had also encouraged 10,000+ New Zealanders to stop procrastinating and pick up their video (and now digital) cameras. His 48HOURS filmmaking contest attracts amateurs and professionals across the country.

48HOURS contestants are assigned their own genre, plus a small number of script elements to include in their film; they have just two days to write and complete the result. Among the many emerging talents to win awards in the contest are Taika Waititi (Boy) and the downlowconcept (7 Days).

Since 2005 Peter Jackson has regularly picked three 'wildcard' films to make it to the Grand National final, and in 2012 Elijah Wood, Scott Foundas, Larry Karaszewski joined the judging panel too.

In 2011 Timpson and NZ Herald entertainment editor Hugh Sundae won funding to create the Make My Movie project. Contestants marketed their feature film ideas via a website, and the public joined judges in helping whittle down 750 entries to 12, before a final winner was chosen. The winning team, 48HOURS contest veterans, had $100,000 and two and a half months to complete romantic comedy How to Meet Girls from a Distance. The finished film was selected for the 2012 round of NZ Film Festivals and has been wowing audiences with its low-fi charm. It was also picked up by Madman Entertainment.

Recently he was awarded the Inaugural Arts Entrepreneur of The Year for his services and exploits to film. When Auckland's Arts Regional Trust honoured Timpson with the award in February 2012, co-judge Jennifer Ward-Lealand argued that the 48HOURS contest had made filmmaking achievable "for anyone and everyone".

Inspired by his son's ABC books, Timpson instigated anthology movie The ABCS of Death, which sees 26 directors from around the globe each assigned a letter as a springboard for their own short horror tale. The film is produced by Timpson and another film exhibition veteran: Tim League, co-founder of legendary Texas cinema The Alamo Drafthouse. It is having its World Premiere in the 2012 Toronto Film Festival

He developed the project with Canadian cult hero Jason Eisener (Hobo With a Shotgun); Turbo Kid is a post-apocalyptic BMX action & gore soaked comedy, the filmmaking collective RKSS from Montreal directed it. The film premiered to much acclaim at Sundance in 2015 and then went on to win the Audience Award at SXSW in March.

He is presently working on lots of projects. Some may even get made.