Experimental Films And Documentaries
13 June 2002
Experimental Films And Documentaries Feature In Screen Fund Grants
Experimental films and high-quality documentaries, ranging in subject matter from an unorthodox chess club in Gisborne to the sacred, ceremonial song of Mäori, feature in the 19 moving-image projects offered grants in the latest funding round of the Screen Innovation Production Fund.
Last year, Auckland filmmaker Jim Marbrook began shooting and documenting the life of Genesis Potini and the Eastern Knights Chess Club, which Potini and two friends founded in 2000. Their kaupapa was to set up a club where everyone was welcome, where chess would bring people together, and where gang allegiances, race, background and money were no barriers.
For Potini, who suffers from bi-polar disorder, chess is a passion. He lives it, breathes it and dreams it. He even taught himself to play chess blindfolded. It’s this passion that was the driving force behind the club, and it’s Potini’s battle “to stay solvent, sane and most of all, the king of speed chess in Gisborne” that forms the basis of this documentary.
Trinity Pictures Ltd of Onehunga, Auckland, was offered a grant of $23,860 to produce the documentary, entitled Knights of the East.
The Screen Innovation Production Fund, a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission, supports the moving-image arts by funding innovative, often low-budget productions. In this round, the Fund received 81 applications seeking a total of $1.27 million. Grants totalling $249,066 were offered to 19 projects in the genre categories of experimental, animation, short drama, documentary and post-production.
The assessment panel consisted of Alastair Carruthers (Chair and Arts Board representative), Lawrence McDonald, Peter Burger, Karen Sidney and Gillian Ashurst. Alastair Carruthers said the panel was impressed by the high quality of the documentaries, reflected in the six documentary projects offered funding.
“The topics range widely but each film takes a specific story to capture something about New Zealand and New Zealanders,” he said. “The finished products will provide us with fascinating slices of New Zealand life.”
Auckland filmmaker Florian Habicht was offered $7409 towards additional shooting and post- production of Kaikohe Demolition, an experimental documentary about the Kaikohe Car Club’s soul-surviving demolition derby that aims “to keep the young fellas off the street” - and where daring drivers get smashed up on the track while the crowd cheers them on.
A key priority for the Screen Innovation Production Fund is support for experimental work, which has limited funding options beyond the Fund. Of the 19 projects funded, several were experimental films and included: David Downes’ Generation ($24,500); Paul Amlehn’s Karakia ($12,300); David Eggleton’s The Cloud Forest ($4965); and Nova Paul’s Pink and White Terraces ($16,000).
Wellington composer David Downes’ film is a 15-minute computer-generated animation, which explores the dynamics of creation and is a thematic progression from his 1997 Noise (Theme and Variations). A music score, composed specifically for the New Zealand contemporary music ensemble Stroma, and electronics will accompany the images.
Downes is also composing an electronic soundscape for Dunedin performance poet David Eggleton’s experimental short film, The Cloud Forest. A collaboration between film, dance, poetry and music, the film script will be a poem, written and performed by Eggleton. The poem will be workshopped and choreographed by Daniel Belton, with additional digital imagery by video artist Ranitar Charitkul.
Encouraging and supporting emerging video and filmmakers is another priority for the Screen Innovation Production Fund. Emerging video artist Paul Amlehn (Ngati Whatua) of Grey Lynn, Auckland was offered $12,300 towards producing Karakia, an experimental film exploring the sacred ceremonial songs of Mäori society.
Amlehn, who creates video art works for installation in gallery and museum spaces, says that his work investigates the relationship between text, speech and body. The New Zealand landscape will play a prominent role in Karakia, with one important section capturing Te Reinga, the leaping place of the wairua (soul) and a place of transition and departure.
Alastair Carruthers said that over the years, the Screen Innovation Production Fund had supported many filmmakers whose work had gone on to screen at international film festivals and to win awards. For instance, the 2002 New Zealand Film Festival in July will screen a number of short films or projects supported by the Screen Innovation Production Fund. This includes Makerita Urale’s documentary, Savage Symbols, and Michael Reihana’s Little Gold Cowboy.
And two short films, both supported by the Screen Innovation Production Fund, have been selected for the Commonwealth Film Festival, screening next month during the Manchester Commonwealth Games. The films are When the Jars are Done (producer Fraser Clark and writer/director Chris Clark) and Face Value (writer/director Fiona Bartlett and producer Jo Hiles).
Applications to the Screen Innovation Production Fund’s next round close on 26 July 2002. Copies of the Funding Guide: Ngä Pütea 2002-2003 are available from Creative New Zealand offices or can be downloaded from the publications page of its website (www.creativenz.govt.nz).
Following this release is a complete list of Screen Innovation Production Fund grants.
Screen Innovation Production Fund
The complete list of grants in this funding round:
$12,300 to Paul Amlehn of Grey Lynn, Auckland: towards production of Karakia, an experimental film exploring the sacred ceremonial songs of Mäori society.
$3486 to Digital Black Ltd of Browns Bay, Auckland: towards post-production of Nova, a short film described as “a satire about a young male stripper’s attempt to change his life”.
$24,500 to David Downes of Karori, Wellington: towards production of Generation, an animated, musical film exploring the dynamics of creation and a thematic progression from his 1997 Noise (Theme and Variations).
$4965 to David Eggleton of Dunedin: towards production of an experimental short film, The Cloud Forest, described as a collaboration between film, dance, poetry and music. The script will be a poem, written and performed by Eggleton as part of an electronic soudscape composed by David Downes, with choreography by Daniel Belton.
$13,715 to Justina Frost/Rachel Helyer Donaldson, New Zealanders living in London: towards production of a documentary on New Zealand musician Nathan Haines, his life in London, and his music-making processes in the year following the launch of his album Sound Travels.
$2677 to David Gunson of Grafton, Auckland: towards post-production of a short film, Queen of Cups, about a young woman seeking a future from the ancient past.
$7409 to Florian Habicht of Auckland: towards additional shooting and post-production of Kaikohe Demolition, an experimental documentary about the Kaikohe Car Club’s soul-surviving demolition derby.
$15,000 to Brett Ihaka of Green Bay, Auckland: towards production of a short film, Flowers, described as “a simple story about life and what we wish for it to give us”.
$19,013 to Welby Ings of Henderson, Auckland: towards production of a short film, Boy, in which a young, small-town male prostitute tells an almost silent story about the consequences of a hit-and-run accident on a back-country road.
$24,695 to Gregory King of Grey Lynn, Auckland: towards production of a feature-length documentary about the staff and patients in a hospice and entitled A Place Where People Go To Die.
$10,826 to Sandor Lau of Kingsland, Auckland: towards production of a documentary called Behaviours of the Backpacker in New Zealand, described as an anthropological comedy chronicling the lives of travellers who have run away from home to come to New Zealand.
$19,500 to Origin One Productions of Petone, Welington: towards production of a short film, Splinter, described as a suspence/psychological horror about a man afraid of the dark.
$16,000 to Nova Paul of Auckland: towards production of Pink and White Terraces, an experimental film using the technique of three-colour separation to explore the relationship between the physical site and the production of that space through action.
$2100 to Tom Reilly of Titirangi, Auckland:
towards post-production of an animated short film, Renfrew
$15,138 to Felicity Rogers of Beach Haven, Auckland: towards production of an animated short film, Dream Within A Dream, loosely adapted from Swan Lake. The two key characters, Odette and the Magician, are played by two actors with the rest of the film computer-animated.
$23,860 to Trinity Pictures Ltd of Onehunga, Auckland: towards production of a documentary, Knights of the East, about the unorthodox Eastern Knights Chess Club of Gisborne and the lives of the people who founded it.
$10,000 to Tim Tsiklauri of Sunnynook, Auckland: towards production of a short film, Personal Ad, an experimental comedy about searching for love in the age of information technology.
$3,882 to Wintergarden Productions of Grey Lynn, Auckland: towards production of a short documentary on the art and ideas of Auckland-born Samoan artist Andy Leleisi’uao.
$20,000 to Angela Zivkovic of Herne Bay, Auckland: towards production of a short film, Digger-Kopac, a factual drama focussing on one victorious day in the life of a young Dalmatian immigrant.