Absurd fantasy - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
 Issue 209

Absurd fantasy by Alessia Belsito-Riera

Filmmaker Baxter Gray loves telling stories, especially the kind “that are weird and bizarre and will shock you”. His latest, Wizard Mischief – premiering at Pyramid Club on the 24th of November – is a grotesque, absurdist, neo-gothic seven-minute live action short about wizards, imps, and fairies.

When he was younger, Gray read a lot of fantasy books but never saw writing as his forte. Always drawn to visual composition, he studied Screen Arts at Massey University, making Wizard Mischief as a final year project.

“It is perhaps the final synthesis of various inspirations that I have been playing with over the last year,” Gray says. “I think my main starting point was a series of ‘absurd fantasy’ vignettes that came to me in the form of a vision.”

Wizard Mischief follows a cruel and impulsive wizard who fights to keep his mother in the grave and hide his deadly secret,” he continues. “This is not a film with much of a moral. I hope people come away from it feeling vaguely shaken up and inspired to create.”

Gray premiered his previous short Solar at Pyramid Club in 2020. Though primarily a filmmaker, he also makes music radiating from the realm of noise, attacking his bass and releasing his voice with passionate freedom. The premiere of Wizard Mischief features music from Frogmeat duo Sophia Frudd and Mallory Elmo. A flexible noise ensemble, Grey says Frogmeat “sonically paint pictures in crevices that can be foreseen but not captured”.

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