Richard Riddiford's documentary work spans finance, politics, history and the arts. He has also directed and co-written two features - Peter Hayden/Judy McIntosh romance Arriving Tuesday, and 1989 thriller Zilch! Riddiford is a director and producer, often taking on both roles at once. His CV includes two-part stock market doco Class of '87, and Joe Bennett's Guide to the Corridors of Power.
The film is well-paced, with warmth and wit cut through by moments of bitter anger, and the love and hikoi story lines are skillfully interwoven. Helen Martin on Riddiford’s Arriving Tuesday, in the book New Zealand Film 1912 – 1996
Ten Guitars gives warm-spirited context to the song that has been the soundtrack to countless back-lawn crate parties and freezing works chains (watch the credits). It was released as the B side of singer Engelbert Humperdinck's Please Release Me, and became an unlikely hit in New Zealand and with fans who have done the "dance, dance, dance ...": including Dalvanius (who discusses its "pop-schlock" charms), Bunny Walters, Topp Twins. Beyond the excerpt here, the doco also explores why "the national anthem of Patea" is so appealing to Māori.
In June 1886 Mt Tarawera spectacularly erupted, and this documentary tells the story of the people who were caught in the catastrophic events. Around 120 people lost their lives, and the internationally famous Pink and White Terraces were destroyed. The documentary features an animated re-creation of the eruption, archival images, interviews with descendants of those involved, and readings from written eyewitness accounts. The author of the book Tarawera, Ron Keam, is also interviewed.
This Bill Ralston-fronted two part documentary looks at Auckland’s great family business empires: the Nathans (merchants and brewers), Myers (brewers), Wilsons and Hortons (newspapers) and Winstones (construction). With fortunes made in the pioneering days of the 19th Century, they created products that became household names and dynasties that dominated local commerce. Most failed to evolve and were picked off by the corporate raiders of the 1980s, but they left behind a legacy of fine homes, major buildings and community bequests.
In this documentary, writer and adopted Cantabrian Joe Bennett explores the north/south divide (where that dividing line is the Bombay Hills — Jafa being an acronym for a somewhat impolite term for Aucklanders). Bennett is in sparkling form, mischievously stirring the pot of regional prejudice. The bon mots pour forth as he traverses the country probing attitudes to the denizens of the City of Sails. The deep south has never looked so hardy, cold or desolate; while the 4x4 congested motorways of Auckland appear to be paved with lattes and cellphones.
This Richard Riddiford-directed comedic thriller plays out in pre-crash 80s Auckland with the CBD skyline changing daily, brick-sized phones, shadowy corporations on the rise and the share market on everyone's lips. With a second harbour crossing due to be announced, a telephone operator (future events maestro Mike Mizrahi) and a waitress moonlighting as a dominatrix (Lucy Sheehan) become ensnared in a web of corporate greed and blackmail. Chris Knox contributes the soundtrack, and extensive outdoor sequences include a memorable chase scene at Kelly Tarlton’s.
This Richard Riddiford-directed relationship drama explores the restless homecoming of a Kiwi from her OE. Monica (Judy McIntosh) returns from Europe to sculptor Nick (Peter Hayden), who has stayed behind in Waiuku. She goads him into a road trip north, searching for connection to him and home. At a Dargaville pub they meet Riki (Rawiri Paratene), a charismatic poet who has left the city to find his Ngapuhi roots. Monica is intrigued by Riki's bond to his people and the land, which widens a rift between her and Nick. Caution: this excerpt contains bath tub sax.
Bill Ralston examines more family business empires in part two of Old Money. With varying mixes of vision, hard work and eccentricity, the Hudsons (biscuits), Sargoods (merchants), Hallensteins (clothing), Hannahs (shoes) and Shacklocks (ironmongers) made fortunes that gave their families grand houses and gracious lifestyles. Some of the brands have survived and their legacies include 65,000 items gifted to Otago museum by the Hallensteins and Downstage’s theatre endowed by Hannah money. (Robert Hannah was the maternal great-grandfather of director Jane Campion.)
Kiwis are often accused of not being very good at expressing their feelings. This documentary (made for TV One's Work of Art programme) offers striking evidence to the contrary, using some of our favourite love songs as proof. A roll call of New Zealand's best-known musicians and songwriters talk here candidly about love, and play some of the songs inspired by their experiences. The result is a film that shines a light on love Kiwi-style, and provides a fascinating survey of New Zealand pop music from the last 30 years along the way.
"Jazz is an attitude ... how you look at yourself, how you look at the world." So argues the subject of this rich and moody Work of Art documentary: jazz pianist Mike Nock. The Ngaruawahia-raised muso first went on the road in his teens, and by 18 had left New Zealand for a long career in Sydney, London and New York City. Director Geoffrey Cawthorn and his film crew travel with Nock in small-town New Zealand and big city NY, capturing memories of childhood, touring and inspiration. Also included: some beautifully-lit performances by Nock and his cohorts.
This Richard Riddiford documentary collects together stories about the creative writing course at Victoria University. The storytellers are a roll call of names who have studied and taught there, from course founder Bill Manhire to current Insititute of Modern Letters director Damien Wilkins. Writers praise the gentle style of teaching and sense of community (and feedback). Eleanor Catton talks about the journey from her first novel The Rehearsal, written while at Victoria, to the first sentence of The Luminaries. The doco is named after the poem by American Wallace Stevens.
Attitude is a weekly series looking at the issues and interests of people living with a disability. This episode features Kiwi teenager George Cairney, who suffered a serious head injury after getting into a car with a drunk driver. The 19-year-old now has a child-like personality, and has to re-learn everything. Also featured is a story on two former NYC police officers who were among the first responders to the Twin Towers terror attack. The pair talk about the health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder they and their colleagues suffer.