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Member Rob Sarkies, director of the 2006 film Out of the Blue, which told the story of the 1990 Aramoana massacre, sat down with RNZ’s The Detail to discuss the delicate nature of filming a real-life tragedy.

The important discussion surrounding portraying a real-life tragedy was brought to the forefront, after news broke that Hollywood producers were planning a film around the March 15 terror attacks in Christchurch.

Films like these wrestle with similar questions, who should make it? Who has the right to make it? What story will actually be told and whether it’s too soon. Rob acknowledges that there is no easy answer. On his own experience making Out of the Blue, Rob said:

“I felt that, if it was to be made, it needed to be made responsibly. It needed to be made by someone who could have empathy, and basically do it right. And I felt, being from Dunedin and having some concerns about how that story might be told in the wrong hands, I trusted myself to tell it. I took on the responsibility.”

Members of the Aramoana community worked closely with the production.

As a storyteller, Rob feels that storytelling can help a nation collectively process a tragic event. There is healing power in storytelling.

Have a listen to or read the discussion here.

We invite members to join WIFT and DEGNZ on the evening of July 29 for the Director-Editor Relationship in Wellington, back by popular demand.

We thoroughly enjoyed hearing from the Auckland panellists – directors Pietra Brettkelly and Roseanne Liang, editors Cushla Dillon and Jochen FitzHerbert, moderated by director Leanne Pooley – at the beginning of this month. With another superb line-up, you’ll want to reserve your seat early!

The Director-Editor relationship

The Content: How does a director find the right editor? At which point in the process do you bring the editor in? Understanding the parameters of each role and making sure your contract reflects that. Who has creative say? How important are the editor’s fresh pair of eyes? How do the directors and editors navigate the test screening process? What happens if you change editor over the course of the project?  How does the editor help manage the relationship with the commissioner / client? Who leads when? Maintaining a healthy, collaborative relationship that has longevity over more than one project.

So many questions! Come along and get yours answered by this extremely experienced panel:

Panellists:

Dame Gaylene Preston, DNZM, has been a writer/director/producer since 1978, and made the classics of New Zealand cinema Mr Wrong, Ruby and RataWar Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us and Home By Christmas. Her dramatic TV series include Bread & Roses and Hope and Wire, plus many documentaries, her latest being the feature, My Year With Helen. Her work has screened in most high profile international film festivals including Sundance, Toronto, London, and Sydney. Dame Gaylene is the New Zealand Arts Foundation’s inaugural Filmmaker Laureate (2001).

Pietra Brettkelly, recipient of the 2020 South Pacific Pictures Award for Achievement In Film for her acclaimed documentary feature Yellow Is Forbidden. Pietra is a three-time Oscar-selected documentary filmmaker, a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and an Arts Laureate of New Zealand.

Alex Boyd (they/them) editor of the acclaimed recent feature film Cousins, they have also edited all four seasons of Wellington Paranormal. They enjoy working across genres, and have edited documentary, drama, sci-fi, comedy, and animation.

Annie Collins is best known for her extensive resume of documentaries, having edited such landmark productions as Patu!, The Neglected Miracle and Gardening with Soul. The talented editor has also won awards for her work on Scarfies, Two Little Boys and Out of the Blue, with Coming Home in the Dark having premiered to critical acclaim at Sundance and due to be released here in August.

Lala Rolls 
Fijian-European Lala Rolls’ projects often involve explorations of Māori and Polynesian culture. She directs as much as she edits, often doing both on the same project. Rolls has been a multiple finalist at New Zealand awards ceremonies for her work on acclaimed drama series The Insider’s Guide to Happiness and the Rita Angus documentary Lovely Rita. She edited The Man in the Hat (about art dealer Peter McLeavey), and 2018’s Celia, about the late equality advocate Celia Lashlie, and directed, produced and edited the 2020 feature film Tupaia’s Endeavour.

WIFTNZ and DEGNZ members free, non-members $15 cash – includes a drink and nibbles.

Date: Thu 29 July 2021
Location: Taia Studios, 4 Bay Road, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Time: 6pm drinks for a 6.30pm sharp start

RSVP essential to office@wiftnz.org.nz

Congratulations to our members who recently won awards at Doc Edge Pitch 2021. Member Paul Wolffram and ShuRun Yap won the award for Best Pitch – New Zealand with Sanguma. Dhaka DocLab Prizes went to both Rajneel Singh with Operation Rambu! and Kim Webby with Ratman and the Whales.

The Best Pitch prizes include a range of services that will assist Paul Wolffram and ShuRun Yap with their project, including post-production services from Park Road Post and travel assistance from the NZ Film Commission to attend the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

Sweet Tooth will premiere June 4 on Netflix. Based on the comic book of the same name by Jeff Lemire, the series follows a lovable half-human and half-deer boy as he embarks on a dangerous adventure across a post-apocalyptic world. Production for Sweet Tooth was granted permission to film in NZ despite the travel restrictions brought on by covid, a production that involved many Kiwis.

DEGNZ member Robyn Grace was one of them, directing on an episode and working as the first assistant director on others. Fellow DEGNZ member Toa Fraser, who recently revealed his battle with early onset Parkinson’s on Twitter, served as Producing Director for the season. Toa spoke with Saturday Morning on RNZ about life with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. Kia kaha Toa.

 

 

Eight emerging kiwi directors came together to tell eight stories of love, life and death in this multi-genre feature film. Encounters was designed to give up and coming directors the opportunity to collaborate and gain experience in the making of feature films. Seven years in the making, DEGNZ members and two of the films’ directors, Chaz Harris (producer and writer) and Scott Milligan (lead editor) are finally releasing the film to the public. The one night only screening will take place at The Embassy Theatre, on Wellington’s biggest screen, and will be followed by a Q&A with some of the filmmakers. 

 

Wednesday 3 March at 6:30pm. 

Book now