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Hero image for John Barnett: A life in NZ film and television...

John Barnett: A life in NZ film and television...

Interview – 2009

Since the 1970s, producer John Barnett has been instrumental in bringing a host of uniquely Kiwi stories to local and international screens, from Fred Dagg to Footrot Flats, from Whale Rider to Sione’s Wedding and What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?, from iconic soap Shortland Street to the wildly successful Westie family drama Outrageous Fortune.

In this ScreenTalk, Barnett talks about:

  • His beginnings in the television and film industry in the 1970s, from working on children’s series The Games Affair, and the Endeavour Productions’ documentary series on Janet Frame, Ngaio Marsh and Sylvia Aston-Warner, to managing John Clarke
  • Branching out into feature film production with Dagg Day Afternoon, Middle Age Spread and Beyond Reasonable Doubt
  • Being involved in lobbying for the formation of the New Zealand Film Commission
  • His motivation: making films that 'people understand immediately' and telling universal stories (Whale Rider, Sione’s Wedding)
  • Heading South Pacific Pictures, New Zealand’s largest film and television production company, and developing programmes that 'reflect the way New Zealanders see ourselves'
  • Working internationally and understanding how long the development process can take as evidenced by the SPP children's series Maddigan's Quest
This video was first uploaded on 12 January 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 - Clare O'Leary. Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann