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Hero image for Pietra Brettkelly: Making thoughtful international documentaries...

Pietra Brettkelly: Making thoughtful international documentaries...

Interview – 2015

Pietra Brettkelly is an award-winning New Zealand filmmaker who travels the world to make her documentaries. The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, her Sundance-selected film about international adoption, won Best Director and Documentary at the 2009 Qantas Film and TV Awards. Māori Boy Genius was invited to the Berlin, Sydney and NZ Film Festivals.

In this ScreenTalk, Brettkelly talks about:

  • How a conversation in a bar led to documentary Beauty Will Save the World
  • Spending a "crazy couple of weeks" with terrified beauty queens in Libya for the documentary
  • The challenges and tensions of making The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins
  • Feeling constrained when filming Kiwi documentary Māori Boy Genius
  • Persuading reluctant men with guns to let her film A Flickering Truth in Afghanistan
  • Her film, Yellow is Forbidden, about Chinese designer Guo Pei, who designed an eye-catching dress for Rihanna 
  • How she keeps making films about people who don’t speak English
This video was first uploaded on 23 November 2015, 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, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside