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Clips (6)

  1. The first of five parts of this full length film.

  2. The second of five parts of this full length film.

  3. The third of five parts of this full length film.

  4. The fourth of five parts of this full length film.

  5. The fifth of five parts of this full length film.

  6. The credits from this film.


A homage to Dusky Maiden images as well as a playful take on the low art of velvet painting, Sima Urale’s Velvet Dreams provides a tongue-in-cheek exploration of Pacific Island stereotypes. Part detective story, part documentary, an unseen narrator goes in search of a painting of a Polynesian princess that he has fallen in love with. Along the way he meets artists, fans and critics of the kitsch art genre, as well as the mysterious Gauguin-like figure of Charlie McPhee. Made for TVNZ's Work of Art series, Velvet Dreams played in multiple international film festivals.


A Perspective by Jo Smith 23.10.2008

If the black and white footage of Urale’s O Tamaiti (1996) provides a sobering and fresh approach to the portrayal of Pacific Island culture, Urale’s follow-up Velvet ...

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Credits (7)

 Sima Urale
 Clifton May
 Vincent Burke

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Comments (9)

 Anna Williams

Anna Williams

what a talented original and brilliant film Sima.. I just heard you talk at the Film Archive in Wellington and loved that forum too..

 Michelle Vaughan

Michelle Vaughan

What a enjoyable documentary. I have been looking for the painting "Elizabeth"featured in this movie since seeing it one time in Raglan at a second hand shop and remember admiring it but not having the finances at the time, i have since searched high and low online and second hand shops but to no avail. Please if anyone has any information on where i could purchase this prit please contact me at

 Anthony N Ryan

Anthony N Ryan

The Tahitian lady in question is Rarotongan born and is of Tahitian descent. She is my mother and was a dancer who formed one of the first youth dance group on the island. Charlie Mcfee somehow copied one of her many photographic images onto velvet.There is no doubt in my mind that the fair dusky maiden of the South seas exists and is well into her seventy first year.



Thanks very much Brenda just ordered it (thumbs up)

 Julie Hill

Julie Hill

@Louise just under and to the right of the video player you'll see a tab that says BUY IT - there's info there about where you can buy a DVD of this film.

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1999 Yorkton Short Film And Video Festival
Golden Sheaf Award For Best Documentary

Festivals include
1998 New Zealand International Film Festival, Hawaii, New York, Jerusalem