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 was conducted by Clare O’Leary with camera and editing by Leo Guerchmann. It is available to embed and distribute on YouTube.