The Other State: Film news and etcetera from New Zealand.

20 May

The Man

nzfcAfter Dr. Ruth Harley left the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) for Screen Australia last year, one of the biggest roles in the NZ industry was up for grabs. It lay vacant for quite some time – until Graeme Mason was announced as her successor in March. The press release gives a slice of his CV and he’s had a solid international career and seems likely to bring a commercial eye to the industry. What gets me about the press release is the films he has been involved with – The Usual Suspects, Trainspotting, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Spice World – The Movie, and When We Were Kings – wait. Go back [rewind?]. Spice World? Either the NZFC publicist has a sense of humour or this may be a mark of things to come…{link}

The Buzz

The Strength of Water is a NZ/German co-production that is doing the rounds on the international film festival circuit – apparently to much acclaim. This is good news for one of NZ’s most established independent producers Fiona Copland (Topless Women Talk About Their Lives, The Price of Milk) and for the creative talent behind the film – first time director Armagan Ballentyne and playwright Briar Grace Smith. It tells the tale of two young Maori twins in a relatively remote North NZ town whose lives are interrupted when a stranger comes to town. Perhaps drawing obvious Whale Rider comparisons (coming of age/Maori youth/remote NZ) will benefit the film and help it turn a profit for the NZFC. And maybe nab another young Kiwi an Oscar nomination. Who knows?


The Peter Jackson Empire

I can’t really talk about New Zealand’s film industry without mentioning Peter Jackson. Well I could, but might have my citizenship revoked. Jackson has released a pretty pic from his upcoming film adaptation of The Lovely Bones. I’m thinking this one’s going to be more Heavenly Creatures than Meet the Feebles…{link}


Lovely bones

The Quick Link

The Quiet Earth. I love a good kiwi post-apocalyptic film. Now available on DVD it seems. [God knows we all need a cheerful distraction from the GFC -Ed] {link} 

The Rant

And whilst the NZ film industry may be flourishing, making money from US investors and getting recognition from overseas festivals – back home we seem to be stuck in a screen culture stasis. Auckland in particular lacks any kind of screen/moving image scene. Though having stated that – I will now have those that disprove it (please, I welcome it).

In an effort to undermine my own theory – I searched for a cinema event or screening that offered something outside of the current releases – to no avail. No cult film or classic film screenings. No interesting events tied in with screenings. I figure it mustn’t be there if I don’t know about it – I should be the target audience, no? – A true cinephile with a largely disposable income. A last minute search revealed the Human Rights Film Festival is on this week. THIS week. How come I didn’t know about this before?

Unfortunately for Auckland, Melbourne is my point of comparison here – from ACMI to Rooftop Cinema to the Astor to MIFF* to smaller privately run or student run festivals – there never seemed to be a cinematically dull patch on the calendar.

This, my dear Auckland will have to change. Even if I have to do it myself.

Morgan Stewart  

*[not to be confused with the Malaysian International Furniture Fair -ed]



2 Responses to “The Other State: Film news and etcetera from New Zealand.”

  1. Ronan Macewan May 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

    geez your editor is funny.

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