Child jumping film wins 48-hour film challenge

8 July 2011

Screen and Media Studies

Star Chumpers: From left to right, winning filmmakers Andrew Wrench, Tim Armstrong, Tim Batt, Cam Neate, Tom Furniss.

A film about chumping – that’s child jumping – has seen a group of former Waikato University students take out the grand prize in this year’s national V48 hours Furious Film-making Challenge.

Tom Furniss, Tim Armstrong and Cam Neate all went to Mt Maunganui College and all studied screen and media studies papers at Waikato before graduating at the end of last year.

Cam Neate, who plays Swedish backpacker Johann in the film, says they teamed up with other filmmaker friends in Auckland to make the short film The Child Jumpers. In the challenge every group is given a theme or genre, and certain elements that must appear in their films. More than 800 teams entered the challenge from eight different regions.

“Our genre was ‘fad’ says Cam Neate, “and every film had to have a character called Bobby Young who was an ex bully. We had to have a line of dialogue which was ‘what have you got?’, a bent piece of wire, and every film had to end on a freeze frame.” The fad they hit upon was chumping, something Tom Furniss had once done in LA after leaving a Meatloaf concert in a weird mood.

They used a well-spoken female friend to find children who’d be willing to be jumped over. “People were really good about it,” says Neate. “They thought we were utterly crazy but played along. Whole families agreed to let us jump over their heads.”

The group began work on Friday night, knocking out a plot, then working on a script before beginning to shoot the mockumentary-style film during the early hours of Saturday morning. “We had about four hours sleep in the 48 hours,” says Neate. “The filming took about 16 hours and the editing took a good while, but we had it all wrapped up by the deadline of 6 o’clock Sunday night.”

Competition founder Ant Timpson said the work was “a true collaboration between friends that shows in every one of its frames. The absolutely charming, seemingly effortless short ‘The Child Jumpers’ won the audience and judges over with its honesty, heart and laugh out loud dialogue”. 

For their win, the filmmakers, who call themselves team Grand Cheval, earned $60,000, cameras and a television set. They’re going to use the money to make a short film during the summer. It’ll take a great deal longer than 48 hours and the planning has started already.

Neate says their years at university prepared them well for the 48-hour challenge. “We entered the challenge every year while we were studying. The practical papers, like video production and small screen production, were really useful, and Tom and I also studied English, which definitely helped improve our writing and understanding of different styles.”

To view The Child Jumpers go to: