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Hero image for Alison Maclean: A gothic crush…

Alison Maclean: A gothic crush…

Interview – 2012

Born in Canada to Kiwi parents, writer/director Alison Maclean helmed one of New Zealand's most successful short films, Kitchen Sink, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The Elam art school graduate has directed features Crush, Jesus’ Son and The Rehearsal, plus American shows Sex and the City and The Wilds. Maclean has divided her time between New York, Canada and New Zealand.

In this ScreenTalk, Maclean talks about:

  • Meeting lifelong screen industry friends while working on movie Strata for a summer holiday job
  • Persuading her Elam sculpture department professors to let her make her first short film, Taunt
  • Casting a real rugby player to play an All Black in Rud’s Wife
  • The joy of directing anti-apartheid music video Don’t Go, alongside musicians Chris Knox, Don McGlashan and Rick Bryant
  • Using film to open up the medium of radio in Talkback
  • How she treated the writing of Kitchen Sink as an assignment
  • How a black and white photograph in The Listener led her to discover lead actor Theresa Healey
  • Where all that hair came from for Peter Tait’s Kitchen Sink character
  • The charmed experience and enduring popularity of the film
  • How a road trip with a family friend led to her debut feature Crush
  • Directing episodes of Sex and the City and Gossip Girl in North America
This video was first uploaded on 18 December 2012, and is available under this Creative Commons licence. This licence is limited to use of ScreenTalk interview footage only and does not apply to any video content and photographs from films, television, music videos, web series and commercials used in the interview.
Interview and Editing - Gemma Gracewood. Camera - Mark Weston
The film came out better than I imagined — better than I imagined when I wrote it. . . . it just seemed sort of special, and of course I thought 'well this is what film is gonna be like from now on'. And of course it's never been like that again. It's never been so easy, it's never been so magic.
– Alison Maclean on her experiences making 1989 short film Kitchen Sink