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A Kiwi director's New York love story

Aucklander Maria Ines Manchego is a photographer, cinematographer and director living in hipster ground zero—Brooklyn, New York’s Williamsburg. The quietly-spoken Chilean–New Zealander recently shot her first feature with Kiwi director Florian Habicht.

Aucklander Maria Ines Manchego is a photographer, cinematographer and director living in hipster ground zero—Brooklyn, New York’s Williamsburg. The quietly-spoken Chilean–New Zealander recently shot her first feature with Kiwi director Florian Habicht, Love Story, screening at the New Zealand Film Festival.

They started shooting without a script in May 2010. For the half-doco, half-fiction movie, Habicht would ask people on the street where the film should go and film whatever they suggested.

“Sometimes the suggestions were quite weird, and sometimes they were quite cool,” says Manchego. “The shoot definitely had a Dogma element in it.”

In the middle of filming, Manchego landed a job directing her first global television commercial (time constraints meant it was “guerilla-style shooting”) for Vietnam Airways.

Since then, she’s directed commercials for Hanger One Vodka and HBO.

She has further plans for a project from 2010 called Civic Haze in which she bikes around New York City with a Four by Five in her front basket: an old-schoolstyle camera where you need to put a blanket over your head.

At the time it was selected by a panel of photographers for the ‘Summer Staged’ competition, a group show in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Manchego plans to make a book out of that work and exhibit it.

“I love New York,” she says. “I miss home but I love it here. It would be perfect if I could just do six months in each; that’s the dream.