Since the 1970s, producer John Barnett has been instrumental in bringing a host of uniquely Kiwi stories to local and international screens, from Fred Dagg to Footrot Flats, from Whale Rider to Sione’s Wedding and What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?, from iconic soap Shortland Street to the wildly successful Westie family drama Outrageous Fortune.
In this ScreenTalk, Barnett talks about:
- His beginnings in the television and film industry in the 1970s, from working on children’s series The Games Affair, and the Endeavour Productions’ documentary series on Janet Frame, Ngaio Marsh and Sylvia Aston-Warner, to managing John Clarke
- Branching out into feature film production with Dagg Day Afternoon, Middle Age Spread and Beyond Reasonable Doubt
- Being involved in lobbying for the formation of the New Zealand Film Commission
- His motivation: making films that 'people understand immediately' and telling universal stories (Whale Rider, Sione’s Wedding)
- Heading South Pacific Pictures, New Zealand’s largest film and television production company, and developing programmes (Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune) that 'reflect the way New Zealanders see ourselves'
- Working internationally and understanding how long the development process can take as evidenced by the SPP children's series Maddigan's Quest
This interview is available for download and distribution on YouTube as Part 1 and Part 2.
Direction and Interview - Clare O'Leary, Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann