Filmed in the lush forests and spartan hill country of Northland, New Zealand, Florian Habicht’s debut feature, conjures a unique, fairytale-like realm. Gert, an innocent rubbish-dump worker, is charged with the task of delivering Princess Plum, the ethereal daughter of his master Hugo, to her wedding in Maidenwood. Their journey through the grandeur of New Zealand’s landscape is beset with strange events. A beguiling hurdy-gurdy melody lures Gert and Plum from their path and – like Hansel and Gretel – they venture deeper and deeper into the forest, where an enchantment takes hold.
With composer and sound designer Marc Chesterman, Habicht pre-recorded the entire soundtrack before commencing shooting, only then inviting the actors to improvise to the score. Like the overdubbing of foreign language films which has developed cult status, Woodenhead capitalises on the delays and off-beats between image and sound, offering surrealist ‘flaws’ that heighten psychological and narrative tension.