The Other State: Film news and etcetera from New Zealand – July 2009

1 Aug
Because it wouldn't be 'Kiwi' without a sheep joke?

Separation City - because it wouldn't be 'Kiwi' without a sheep joke?

The Film

Separation City unfortunately looks like an average romantic comedy. But I will reserve judgement until I see it. Or rent it on DVD. Or catch it on TV…

The Trailer

The Vintner’s Luck is Niki Caro’s latest – a not very New Zealand tale of a peasant’s quest for the perfect wine vintage in 19th century France. The kiwi element, though not in the story is all over the film: it stars Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider), it is based on regarded New Zealand writer Elizabeth Knox’s novel and is in part funded by the New Zealand Film Commission. I’m going to see this film just for the wings…

The Talent

New Zealand film talent – this article is a short rundown of some of the Kiwis showing films at the NZFF. Though it only covers short films. To see some feature length filmmaking talent at work check out the team behind The Strength of Water: Armagan Ballantyne (director) and Briar Grace-Smith (writer).

And in a case of ‘Hey! I went to school with her!’ – Zoe McIntosh’s documentary Lost in Wonderland made its (film commission funding free) debut at the NZFF as well.

Miss Alice...or Rob.

Lost in Wonderland with Rob... aka Miss Alice

The Peter Jackson Empire

Peter Jackson is furthering his empire – though this time through fostering other filmmaker’s talents. His latest project is Neill Blomkamp’s feature debut – a Sci-Fi film about alien apartheid. It has a viral marketing campaign already in full swing, and Jackson is taking the buzz to San Diego’s Comic Con for maximum ‘geek exposure’. Having been made for a relatively modest US $30 million, I predict this to be a decent success.

The Festival

I’ll leave you with an interview with Bill Gosden, director of the New Zealand Film Festival – he’s been with the festival longer than I’ve been alive. He also seems to know what he’s doing, and rumour has it ticket sales this year at the Auckland Film Fest have been really positive. I helped and saw 5. I would have seen more films but for the work/schedule/bank balance conflicts and it’s the first time in 5 years I haven’t worked for a film festival. Anyway, I managed to catch:

Adventureland – Awesome soundtrack, but perhaps best viewed as a night-in DVD rental?

The Strength of Water – a surprising kiwi film about loss and grief. But with little pockets of humour which really made it for me.  Beautifully shot.

Cleo from 5 to 7 – new print of an Agnes Varda classic. A fun and thoughtful ride around 1960s Paris.

We Live in Public – an incredible documentary about a mad millionaire who spent his fortune on art/surveillance projects and ends up broke in Ethiopia. Director Ondi Timoner said she couldn’t write this stuff if she tried.

Antichrist – Hmm. I’m yet to find a point. The conversation post-film went something like this:

A: So basically Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character had PMS?

B: No, it was about Lars Von Trier’s hatred of women. I wonder what happened to him?

C: Maybe he just needs a hug?

B: I wouldn’t go near the guy. Every actress in his ‘USA’ films hates him.

A: And he’s never been to the States. He’s like Hitler in that regard – he had an obsession with cowboys.

B: did you just compare Lars von Trier to Hitler?

A: um. Apparently.

B: Hitler had lady issues too.

A: Yup.

B: Oh Lars, women aren’t the antichrist!

C: yeah, he probably just needs a hug…

Until next time!

– Morgan Stewart


One Response to “The Other State: Film news and etcetera from New Zealand – July 2009”

  1. Ronan Macewan August 1, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    excellent update Morgan!

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