By LEIGH BEDFORD
13-year-old Aucklander Luka Wolfgram is one of many children in New Zealand who has lost a sibling to childhood cancer. Luka’s young brother, Kosta, fought brain cancer which cost him his life at only eight years old.
Unlike many siblings of children with cancer, Luka was determined to change and influence society with his love for filmmaking, and he entered a national film competition, The Outlook for Someday. After three months of planning, filming and editing, with help from his family, Luka was proud of his final product, a five-minute short film entitled Our Superheroes.
When Luka was considering making his film about childhood cancer and his little brother, Luka’s parents were initially hesitant given the difficulty of this issue and the loss they had all experienced. However Luka was determined as he wanted to share his story about his brother and raise awareness. Over 300 entries were judged from the competition, and Luka’s film initially made it into the shortlisted 40. “I was ecstatic,” says Luka when he found out he was shortlisted. Not long after that, he was even more ecstatic when he got the call that he placed in the winning 20 films.
Most importantly, Luka is very happy that his film was able to get lots of media attention and with over 14.5 thousand views on Vimeo, he is grateful that some very important messages are being shared widely.
Luka’s message that he wanted to portray in his short-film was that childhood cancer research is a huge issue – in New Zealand, and internationally – and the importance of awareness and getting into action to help. Using his and others’ stories, as well as facts from TheTruth365 organisation in America, helped him to gain the New Zealand on Air Audience Favourite Award and Stephens Lawyers Media Empowerment Award. For this, he was able to spend a day in Wellington and tour Weta Workshop, observe filming of a movie on set and tour Park Road Production Company. In addition, Luka won the New Zealand Youth of the Year Award presented in Parliament by the Ministry of Youth Development in December 2016.
As Luka grows up, he wants to keep making short films like the one on his brother, specifically raising awareness for other charitable organisations and encouraging others to help.
If there is one piece of advice Luka wants to give to young people pondering on a future in film, he says, “Get out there and give it a go. Make a lot of films to get the experience.”
I personally can’t wait to see the next thing this young man does. He has my support 100%!
You can catch Luka’s short film, Our Superheroes, on Vimeo.
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