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Michael Firth: Oscar-nominated action man...

Michael Firth: Oscar-nominated action man...

Interviews - 2014

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Producer/director Michael Firth first made his mark directing ski movie Off the Edge. A key early film in the NZ 'new wave', the documentary earned an Academy Award nomination in 1977. Firth went on to direct dramatic features Sylvia, Heart of the Stag and Vulcan Lane. But he loved the outdoors best: he went off the edge again in 1987 with zany adventure movie The Leading Edge, and was behind internationally successful TV series Adrenalize and fishing show Take the Bait.

In this ScreenTalk, Firth talks about:

  • How a love of snow skiing led to his first feature Off the Edge
  • How perfect timing enabled the filming of an avalanche
  • Delving into a dark part of Kiwi life in Heart of the Stag
  • Facing financing issues while making Sylvia
  • Facing continuity issues recreating that film’s era
  • Creating the ‘crazy docudrama’ that was The Leading Edge
  • How the 1987 share market crash affected the box office
  • Being confronted by Billy T James and a machine gun
  • Selling sports show Adrenalize to 50 countries
  • Almost causing a diplomatic incident with a shot of a topless woman
  • How fishing TV show Take the Bait grew and grew

This video was first uploaded on 24 March 2014 and is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside