Canadian-born documentary filmmaker Leanne Pooley’s award-winning films have examined some of the most potent issues of New Zealand’s recent history - from euthanasia, to sport and politics, to controversial court verdicts. She has also sensitively paid tribute to some of our foremost artists - dancer Douglas Wright, and beloved comedians and singers The Topp Twins.
In this ScreenTalk, Pooley talks about:
- Making The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, her documentary on Kiwi icons Lynda and Jools Topp
- The extraordinary popularity of the Topp Twins with mainstream New Zealand, when they are two out lesbians from Huntly who are also political activists
- Working for international broadcasters including the BBC, Channel Four, ITV, and the Discovery Channel in the 1990s, and feeling it was then that she found herself as a filmmaker
- Returning to New Zealand and setting up her production company Spacific Films
- The pros and cons of making documentaries in New Zealand
- Working on euthanasia documentary The Promise with a very tight budget and doing most of the production roles herself
- Having a bit more leeway on Try Revolution and Being Billy Apple
- Looking for documentary topics that will have interest beyond New Zealand to get a broader audience for them
- Whether being originally from Canada gives her a slightly different perspective in her filmmaking, in particular with the Topp Twins
This interview is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Interview - Clare O'Leary. Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann