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Hero image for Leanne Pooley: Award-winning documentarian...

Leanne Pooley: Award-winning documentarian...

Interview – 2009

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, Lynda and Jools Topp

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 finding 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 video was first uploaded on 3 April 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