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Hero image for Gaylene Preston: On making NZ films...

Gaylene Preston: On making NZ films...

Interview – 2009

Director Gaylene Preston has been stretching New Zealand film in new directions since her early short films and her first feature, the genre and gender-bending Mr Wrong (1985). Long devoted to "communicating local stories to local audiences", Preston features in Deborah Shepard’s book Her Life’s Work: Conversations with Five New Zealand Women.

In this ScreenTalk, Preston talks about:

  • How she started in film thanks to a job as an art therapist in an English asylum, and the elopement of a friend
  • Her longtime interest in "the stories that hold secrets, the things that you’re not allowed to talk about"
  • Working with producer Robin Laing, and discovering that when they went to meetings people kept looking nervously toward the door
  • The challenges of pitching "comedy thriller ghost story" Mr Wrong
  • Being won over by Graeme Tetley’s script for comedy of manners Ruby and Rata
  • Making mini-series Bread and Roses, based on the life of the late activist/politician Sonja Davies
  • The low number of New Zealand women directing film, then and now
This video was first uploaded on 20 October 2009, 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 – Ian Pryor. Camera and Editing – Alex Backhouse