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Howler: a new film production company roars into life

After 10 years in the business, Pete Whittaker is off the leash and has launched Howler – a new film production company based in Auckland and Queenstown.

Whittaker, formerly of Queenstown’s Shotover Media, describes the new venture as “a small independent film production house that packs a big punch”.

The Auckland-based director has been at the helm of visual storytelling for household brands including Bunnings Warehouse, BNZ, Jucy, Purina, NZ Rugby and ACC. He says: “Howler is a small, creative-forward team who hold years of collective experience across the full spectrum of visual storytelling – from TVC, film and documentary making to brand content and short, punchy online videos.”

Whittaker says the company name is aspirational, affectionate and amusing.

“It was a team decision from a branding exercise where we talked about our passion for the work we do and what our purpose is as a team. Someone said something along the lines of, ‘We want to make work that’s worth howling about from the top of a mountain,’” he says.

Perfect match

“We’re all big dog lovers so the idea of howling was immediately interesting. But there was also the meaning of a howler being this big, blunderous mistake, particularly in England. We thought that was amusing and we’re always saying how you learn nothing from your successes and everything from your mistakes so overall it felt like the perfect match for our bold, loud and fun approach to film-making.”

Pete Whittaker (based in Auckland) and Zyanya Jackson (based in Queenstown) independently manage productions across Aotearoa and combine forces for larger productions

With operations in Auckland and Queenstown, Howler can service clients across the country and tackle the increasing demand for on-location shoots in the south. Leading the southern studio is Queenstown-based director Zyanya Jackson, a dynamic film director with a nous for branded content, documentary and adventure film-making. She offers expert capability in navigating film and content production across Queenstown’s unique terrain.

“Our dual studios and layered services make Howler fully equipped to take on projects of all shapes and sizes,” says Whittaker.

Welcome to a little brother

The full-service production house also has a little brother: Howler Lite, designed to meet creative demands with affordable content for all platforms and formats. Howler Lite can feed the growing appetite for one-off needs and short format videos, even in the face of shrinking budgets.

Whittaker says Howler Lite is for clients who want something more compact and affordable.

“We get that every campaign has to operate with different objectives and unique challenges, and more so now with increasingly restricted budgets, so we have a solution for that too. That’s the beauty of being nimble, but effective.”

Howler’s post-production studio in Auckland handles everything from offline edits to colour grading, animation and sound design

Howler’s in-house post-production means agency, directors and post-specialists work together at every step. Led by senior editor and colourist Floriane Calliot, post-production spans editing and colour grading to animation and motion graphics.

A house of creativity, collaboration and cohesion, Howler’s team is primed to work alongside agencies as an extension of their creative production needs as well as directly with brands.

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