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Hero image for Don Blakeney: The early days of NZ film...

Don Blakeney: The early days of NZ film...

Interview – 2011

Film producer Don “Scrubbs” Blakeney came from a background in finance. Returning from working overseas in the 1970s, he met pioneering filmmakers Grahame McLean and John Barnett. Blakeney had become disillusioned with the corporate world, and ended up drifting into the film industry as unit caterer on Sleeping Dogs. In 1979, his background in both finance and film made Blakeney the ideal first Executive Director of the newly-established New Zealand Film Commission. He later produced Geoff Murphy’s classic Māori western Utu. Veteran producer and industry colleague John Barnett is Blakeney's guest interviewer.

In this ScreenTalk, Blakeney talks about:

  • How he got the Film Commission’s first Executive Director job
  • How the Commission got going
  • The early filmmakers the Commission nurtured and funding philosophies back then
  • The importance of marketing New Zealand films
  • Producing Utu for Geoff Murphy
  • How luck went against Utu with both its NZ and international releases
  • How early Film Commission optimism is reflected in some of today’s NZ feature film releases

This video was first uploaded on 1 April 2011, 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 - John Barnett. Director - Pat Cox. Editing - Alex Backhouse