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Landmark figure the subject of experimental doco

Media release

Date: 7 November 2005

Landmark figure the subject of experimental documentary

Fund offers grants to 21 moving-image projects

An experimental documentary exploring the New Zealand landscape through the photography and writing of pioneering conservationist Herbert Guthrie-Smith is one of 21 moving-image projects supported in the latest funding round of the Screen Innovation Production Fund.

Guthrie-Smith, a landmark figure in New Zealand’s environmental history, wrote the New Zealand classic, Tutira: The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station – first published in 1921. Tutira is the name of a Northern Hawke’s Bay sheep station, which Scottish migrant Guthrie-Smith leased in 1882.

Now, award-winning broadcaster turned filmmaker Matthew Leonard has brought together a high-calibre team to produce a one-hour documentary capturing Guthrie-Smith’s passion for New Zealand’s native flora and fauna, and its conservation.

Leonard and co-producer Peter Quin, both based in Wellington, were offered a $20,529 grant from the Screen Innovation Production Fund towards the production of the documentary. A partnership between Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission, the Screen Innovation Production Fund supports the moving-image arts by funding innovative and often low-budget productions.

“The lynchpin in realising the film’s vision is our collaboration with writer Geoff Park, whose voice and experience of the New Zealand landscape are integral to communicating Guthrie-Smith’s legacy,” Leonard says.

“The Screen Innovation Production Fund’s commitment to the project means we can begin work on the documentary, which we hope to film in December. But first, Geoff will spend a week writing in the cottage at Lake Tutira, where Guthrie-Smith would have spent many an hour with his photographs and his writing.”

In this funding round, the Fund received 97 applications requesting more than $1.5 million. Of these, 21 projects were offered funding totalling $270,259. The selection panel for this funding round consisted of Lydia Wevers (Chair of the panel and member of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand), Fiona Bartlett, Claudette Hauiti, Lawrence McDonald and Sandy Gildea.

“This is the only funding avenue for filmmakers starting out and for experimental, low-budget projects,” Dr Wevers said. “The panel was pleased to support a range of projects by emerging and established filmmakers but also noted an overall lack of innovation and experimentation in the projects seeking funding.”

A feature of the round was the exceptional number of applications –52 of the 97 – for short film projects. No animation, feature films or dance films were funded for production.

Like broadcaster Matthew Leonard, well-known Auckland visual artist and writer Claudia Pond Eyley has moved into filmmaking. She was offered a $15,000 grant to produce a documentary, beginning with the twentieth-year commemorations of the Rainbow Warrior bombing and relating the life stories of four women environmental activitists.

One of the Fund’s priorities is to support work by experimental or fine art film and video makers. Established Wellington artist Terry Urbahn was offered $20,000 to produce The Last Supper, an experimental video/sound installation capturing a “reunion dinner” in the dilapidated White Hart Hotel Public Bar in New Plymouth before it’s restored. Originally from New Plymouth, Urbahn will also use footage from the installation as part of a documentary about the historic hotel.

Two Auckland artists – Mandrika Rupa and Lisa Reihana – will be taking part in Pasifika Styles with Screen Innovation Production Fund support. Featuring contemporary Màori and Pacific art, the exhibition will open at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, England in April 2006.

Mandrika Rupa was offered a $3280 grant towards post-production of Varasda (Inheritance). Melding Indian, Pakeha and Màori cultures, the documentary is described as a “visual meditation” on Rupa’s inheritance, the process of immigration, and how the past can shed light on the present. Rupa is the only New Zealand Indian artist whose work will be exhibited at Pasifika Styles.

Lisa Reihana was offered a $7860 grant towards the production of Dancing Pouwhenua. Working with the museum’s collection, which dates back to the voyages of Captain Cook in the late eighteenth century, Reihana will create a multi-media installation within the museum’s nineteenth-century vitrines (cabinets). She will also be filming New Zealand landscape, which will feature as a backdrop to the installation.

Applications to the next round of the Screen Innovation Production Fund close on 24 February 2006.

ENDS

A complete list of the 21 Screen Innovation Production Fund grants follows.


Screen Innovation Production Fund

$1905 to Stephen Ballantyne and Carla Brereton of Newton, Auckland: towards post-production of a short film, Stan Remotely, described as a “post-modern horror”

$15,000 to Eldon Booth of Papakura, Auckland: towards production of a short film, Five Good Reasons

$5000 to Hayden Campbell and Capturing Life Productions of Nelson: towards post-production of The Zoo, a feature-length documentary about Palestinians living in the West Bank

$9526 to Maraea Davies of Pakuranga, Auckland: towards the production of Hiki’s Tomato Plants, a humourous short film set in a rural Màori family in the 1980s

$14,725 to Francis Glenday of Eden Terrace, Auckland and Dave Slade of St Mary’s Bay, Auckland: towards the production of Tþmanako Springs, a short vampire Western film set in a Northland gum-digging settlement in the 1880s

$5500 to Good Company Arts of Dunedin: towards post-production of two experimental short dance films

$15,665 to Paula Jones of Northcote, Auckland: towards the production of Touch the Sky, a short film about a mother’s relationship with her daughter

$4025 to Jim Lederman of Pukerua Bay: towards post-production of The Fantasy Cliffs, a documentary about the history, tradition and culture of “gullying” - a little-known activity that involves climbing, traversing and running down the huge sand dunes found on the west coast of the Far North

$20,539 to Matthew Leonard of Melrose, Wellington and Peter Quin of Miramar, Wellington: towards the production of a documentary exploring the New Zealand landscape through the photography and writing of Herbert Guthrie-Smith, the author of Tutira: The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station

$25,000 to Brita McVeigh and Juliette Veber of Berhampore, Wellington: towards production of Inappropriate, a short film about a woman coming to terms with the death of her husband and raising their two young children

$20,000 to Armagan Ballantyne and Jon Baxter of Perceptual Engineering, Auckland: towards production of an experimental short film about a soul train travelling through life’s landscape

$15,000 to Claudia Pond Eyley of Mt Eden, Auckland: towards production of a feature-length documentary, beginning with the twentieth-year commemorations of the Rainbow Warrior bombing and relating the life stories of four women environmental activitists

$1976 to Mark Prebble of Ponsonby, Auckland: towards the cost of tape duplication for his feature film, Futile Attraction

$7860 to Lisa Reihana of Newton, Auckland: towards production of Dancing Pouwhenua, an experimental moving-image installation to feature in the Pasifika Styles exhibition, opening in April 2006 at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

$18,899 to Tom Reilly of Titirangi, Auckland: towards production of Scrapyard, an eight-minute children’s drama about the relationship between an old man and a young boy who inhabit a fairytale wrecking yard

$3280 to Mandrika Rupa of Herne Bay, Auckland: towards post-production of Varasda (Inheritance), a 20-minute documentary to feature in the Pasifika Styles exhibition, opening in April 2006 at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

$5000 to Bridget Sutherland of Napier: towards post-production of Far Off Town, (From Dunedin to Nashville), a documentary about the music of New Zealand musician David Kilgour

$18,000 to Justine Simei-Barton and Tala Pasifika Productions of Mt Albert, Auckland: towards production of a short film involving a collaboration between the production team and students of Tamaki College

$25,000 to Talking Hawker Pictures of Miramar, Wellington: towards post-production of Blackspot, a feature film described as a “psychological thriller about two young men travelling a dark and lonely New Zealand road”

$20,000 to Terry Urbahn of Melrose, Wellington: towards the production of The Last Supper, an experimental video/sound installation capturing a “reunion dinner” in the dilapidated state of New Plymouth’s White Hart Hotel Public Bar before it’s restored

$18,359 to Robyn (Nia) Venables, a New Zealander currently living in Spain: towards the production of The Knowledge Box, an experimental documentary exploring identity, with students from the filmmaker’s hometown of Rotorua participating in a workshop to discover and document themselves.

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