The Down Low Concept

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The Down Low Concept is a production company and creative collective based in Auckland, New Zealand, specializing in producing comedy for film, radio and television. It was formed in 2002 by Jarrod Holt, Ryan Hutchings and Nigel McCulloch, and have since frequently collaborated with actor and comedian Josh Thomson.[1] They are notable for their quirky, irreverent, and sometimes controversial comedic style.[2][3]

Notable Productions[edit]

7 Days[edit]

In 2009 The Down Low Concept created a popular and award winning[4] comedy gameshow, 7 Days based on their news-based radio panel show, Off The Wire. The series has had over 100 episodes and is currently in its 5th season. By creating consistent paid television work for a number of comedians the show has helped grow the New Zealand comedy scene by showcasing local comic talent to the public,[5] and helping the country outgrow it's notorious cultural cringe.[3][6]

48 Hours[edit]

The Down Low Concept are the only group to have won the New Zealand 48HOURS Film Festival twice, with short films Brown Peril (2007), and Only Son (2010). All films of the festival are to be conceived, written, shot, edited and delivered in 48 hours, with an unknown random genre, a character, a line of dialogue and a prop, which is revealed at the start of the festival. Only Son later went on to win Best Screenplay and Best Short Film at the New Zealand Film and Television Awards 2010.[7] It is the only 48 Hour film to ever to feature in the national awards, let alone win it outright, beating films with government funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.[8] Only Son was later picked up for distribution by the NZFC and was invited to Fantastc Fest in Austin, Texas amongst studio premieres.[9]

Hounds[edit]

In 2012 The Down Low Concept produced their first scripted comedy series, Hounds. It won Best Comedy at the 2012 New Zealand Film and Television Awards, beating 7 Days, making it three years in a row that the company has been nominated in the category, winning it in the previous year for 7 Days.[10] Despite the network not renewing the series, it remains one of the most critically acclaimed comedies ever produced in New Zealand.[11][12][13]

Controversy[edit]

"Headlights" Music Video[edit]

In 2009 New Zealand's national broadcaster TVNZ banned a music video made by The Down Low Concept for the possibility of breaching the Broadcasting Standards Authority code on the exploitation of children.[14] The video was made for the song Headlights by 11 piece afro soul funk band "The Hot Grits".[15] The video depicted preschoolers binge drinking milk as if it was alcohol and taking lollies and candy as if they were drugs. Lead vocalist Barnie Duncan said the idea for the video came from the production company,[16] with the intention to "demonstrate the child-like greed with which adults conduct themselves whilst on the road to excess".[17] Despite the removal of the video from circulation from both of TVNZ's networks, the clip was picked up by music television channels C4 and Juice TV,[14] and went on to win the "Best Music Video" award, The Golden Jandal, at the New Zealand 2008 Handle the Jandal music video awards.[18] Unsurprsingly the video also won for the category for "Best use of exploitative tactics". The only other New Zealand music video that has been banned in the history of TVNZ is by The Skeptics, entitled AFFCO.[19] The 1987 clip featured graphic footage of lambs being slaughtered.[20]

Lundybainwatson[edit]

In 2012 The Down Low Concept courted controversy again with the naming of a greyhound Lundybainwatson in their series Hounds. The dog's name referred to convicted multiple murderers Mark Lundy, Scott Watson and David Bain. Bain was later acquitted after spending 13 years in jail following numerous appeals from lawyer Joe Karam resulting in his eventual release from prison in 2009.[citation needed] Before the series aired, promotional material came to the attention of Karam who complained to the network citing bad taste[21] and potentially a defamation lawsuit.[22]

The unintentional publicity stunt caused a minor stir[23] when the producers called for suggestions on the Hounds Facebook page.[24] At the behest of the network the production company re-shot and re-recorded audio in the few scenes where the dog's name was mentioned,[25] renaming the dog Lundydixonwatson. Dixon referred to another controversial New Zealand murderer, Antonie Dixon. The Down Low Concept refused to be interviewed on the topic but released this statement, "We named the greyhound character (played by Flossie) after New Zealand's three most well-known, potentially wrongly accused men."

Acclaim[edit]

"Auckland-based production company The Downlow Concept are as close to a Kiwi comedy hit factory as currently exists." - Lee Henaghan, The Nelson Mail[2]

"Hounds, I believe, is the best Kiwi comedy show ever made." - Chris Schulz, The New Zealand Herald.[13]

"Is Hounds the best Kiwi comedy ever? Yes." Chris Philpott, Stuff.co.nz[11]

"They are gifted comic writers with great timing which is a rare gift. They have no fat in their work. Every second is great." - Ant Timpson, Flicks.co.nz[26]

"Great performances, terrific writing and beautiful direction". - Josh Olson, Scoop.co.nz (on Only Son)[9]

Awards[edit]

Hounds - Best Comedy or Comedy Series - Won - New Zealand Film and Television Awards, 2012[27]

7 Days - Best Comedy or Comedy Series - Won - New Zealand Film and Television Awards, 2011[28]

Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger - Best Constructed Reality Series - Nominated - New Zealand Film and Television Awards, 2011[28]

7 Days - Best Comedy or Comedy Series - Nominated - New Zealand Film and Television Awards 2010[29]

Only Son - Best Short Film - Won - New Zealand Film and Television Awards, 2010[7]

Only Son - Best Short Film Screenplay - Won - New Zealand Film and Television Awards, 2010[7]

Production credits[edit]

Radio[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

  • Brown Peril : The Tim Porch Story (2006) - NZ 48 Hour Grand National Winner
  • Water As A Metaphor (2008) - Red Bull "Reel Life" National Winner
  • Only Son (2010) - NZ 48 Hour Grand National Winner
  • Seed (2012) - NZ 48 Hour Auckland Finalist

Gallery[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jocelyn Rein (4 April 2010). "Making a film in 48 hours". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Lee Henaghan (7 June 2012). "Hounds deserves a good pat". The Nelson Mail. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Florence Noble (March 12, 2010). "Eight years and ‘7 days’". Idealog. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "News honours shared at Film & TV Awards". The New Zealand Herald. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Chris Philpott (22 December 2010). "The best TV of 2010". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Peter Calder (10 September 2010). "Hear our voices: 'Cultural cringe' an obsolete bias". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Hugh Sundae (19 September 2010). "Film and Television Awards dished out". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Hugh Sundae (20 April 2011). "Film competition gives another 48 hours". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "More Success For Ghostly Short". Scoop.co.nz. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  10. ^ CB (5 November 2012). "The Down Low Concept wins Best Comedy for Hounds". Campaignbrief.com. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Chris Philpott (28 June 2012). "Hounds: the best Kiwi comedy ever?". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Chris Philpott (20 December 2012). "The Best TV of 2012". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Chris Schulz (13 July 2012). "Why we need a second season of Hounds". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Alanah Eriksen (9 August 2008). "TVNZ bans binge music video". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  15. ^ The Hot Grits - Headlights on YouTube
  16. ^ "Hot Grits on an edgy mission". The Nelson Mail. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Ben McNicoll (9 August 2008). "The Hot Grits "Headlights" Music Video – Banned by TVNZ". Public Address. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Banned NZ music video is big winner at awards". Scoop.co.nz. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Banned NZ music video wins award". The Big Idea. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  20. ^ Stuart Page. "The truth about the Skeptics' A.F.F.C.O video". Vital. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Russell Blackstock (May 13, 2012). "Bain 'joke' spurs anger". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  22. ^ Paul Casserly (13 May 2012). "A dog called 'Lundybainwatson'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  23. ^ Paul Casserly (29 May 2012). "TV Questions of the week". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Hounds Facebook page". Facebook. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Bad Dog!". Chortle. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  26. ^ Ed (21 May 2010). "V48HOURS Grand Winners 'Gifted Comic Writers'". Flicks.co.nz. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  27. ^ "True tales dominate at TV awards". The New Zealand Herald. 3 November 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  28. ^ a b "News stars duke it out at AFTA Awards". The New Zealand Herald. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  29. ^ "Winners 2010 Qantas Film And Television Awards". Scoop.co.nz. 18 September 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2013.