After training at Auckland's South Seas Film and Television School in 1999, James Anderson began working on music shows Squeeze and Space, and became a cameraman and editor on both. After arts series The Living Room and time working on music documentaries in the UK, he returned to Aotearoa and set up company Two Heads, with Nick Ward. Anderson went on to direct globe-spanning music show Making Tracks, and a number of high profile commercials. He was also AFTA-nominated for primetime hit Food Truck. These days Anderson is a freelance director in the United States.
... anyone can come up with an idea for a TV show — it’s about what you do with it, all the other elements, then selling the idea and getting people to invest in it that counts. James Anderson, on website Stolen Rum
Electronic soul band Shapeshifter is one of the NZ acts whose songs were covered by international artists in Nick Dwyer’s Making Tracks TV series. Dwyer takes that relationship a step further with this infectious music video for one of the singles from their fourth album Delta. He accompanies their lyrics, about putting aside the pressures and problems of everyday life, with a series of vibrant images from around the world. Gathered during his globetrotting, they celebrate human connection and the simple pleasures afforded by music (and a NZ 1990 t-shirt).
Auckland's home of stand-up comedy, The Classic theatre in Queen Street, is the subject of this "behind the scenes" mockumentary TV series. Anchored by MC Brendhan Lovegrove, episodes follow a night's performances; onstage routines are intercut with action from the green room and front of house. The line between reality and self-deprecatory fiction is blurry, with the participants happy to send themselves up. Show biz glamour is in short supply and, at times, it's preferable to look just about anywhere except the screen. A second series screened in 2012.
Host and MC Brendhan Lovegrove goes behind the scenes of Pro Night at The Classic comedy theatre in Auckland in the first episode of this accomplished mockumentary series. Irene Pink, Andre King and Ben Hurley are the evening's performers. Backstage, barely concealed jealousies and rivalries simmer in a less than salubrious green room. Meanwhile, Brendon Pongia, from TVNZ's Good Morning show, is in the audience and pulses quicken at the prospect of an off-peak network TV interview. No-one is safe and beware for moments of excruciating viewing.
This documentary follows the "seven headed soul monster direct from the shores of Wellington" — Fat Freddys Drop — as they rumble their dub-rich sound through Europe like a Houghton Bay roller. Touring to showcase album Based on a True Story, it features rehearsals and performances, eating Italian kai moana, playing concrete ping pong in Berlin, and (in the fifth clip) a jam with Cliff Curtis. Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe lauds the 'fullas' and Mu explains whanau to German journos. True Story sold 120,000+ copies and dominated the 2005 New Zealand Music Awards.
In this highlights special culled from the first four years of Eating Media Lunch, presenter Jeremy Wells manages to keep a straight face while mercilessly satirising all manner of mainstream media. Leaping channels and barriers of taste, the episode shows the fine line between send-up and target. The 'Worst of EML' tests the patience of talkback radio hosts and goes behind the demise of celebrity merino Shrek; plus terrorist blooper reels, Destiny Church protests, Target hijinks, and our first indigenous porno flick (you have been warned: not suitable for children).
This episode of C4's music series Homegrown Profiles looks at the long and distinguished musical careers of Kiwi music icons Tim and Neil Finn. The programme covers the early days of Split Enz, Neil joining the band at the age of 18, and Tim leaving in 1984; plus Neil forming Crowded House, Tim's short stint in his brother's band, the Finn's solo careers, and their two albums recording as the Finn Brothers. Jane Yee's interview with the brothers is revealing and fascinating, and includes great early Split Enz footage.
Director Mark Albiston (Six Dollar Fifty Man) crafts a frenetic clip for a politically-charged song, belted out by the iconic Kiwi rockers with the allegorical assistance of a praying mantis. "Praying mantids are fun to work with, remarkably photogenic and not scared of anything! I worked with Aaron Beck who shot most of the mantis stuff in his bedroom with flashing background lights on DV camera with standard 35mm lens stuck on backwards to the front element. The mantis stuff on the mic was shot on location with the band on 16mm." Mark Albiston - Feb 09
Roots reggae act Kora present this Living Room episode from the beach at Whakatane — hometown for the four Queenstown-based brothers. Then ex-Mental As Anything guitarist Reg Mombassa (born in NZ as Chris O'Doherty) talks from his Sydney home about his iconic artworks for Mambo — including the notorious Australian Jesus series — and wonders if he is turning into a blowfly. And finally there’s a profile of self-taught outsider artist Martin Thompson, whose painstaking mathematically-based work has travelled from Wellington community workshops to Wallpaper* magazine.
This final episode from the second series of the award-winning arts series is presented by Taika Cohen (aka Taika Waititi) "from the living room at Gunter’s house". Taika talks about making short film Tama Tū, meets Diego a 200-year-old vampire,and performs Taika’s Incredible Show at Bats. It includes excerpts from little-seen short John & Pogo. Also featured are artist Siren Maclaine (aka Siren Deluxe) and her feminist erotica; Caroline Robinson’s large scale Auckland motorway sculptures; and legendary comics artist Colin Wilson (Judge Dredd, Blueberry).
A magazine show with an edge, The Living Room did for arts television production what Radio With Pictures did for NZ music — it ripped open the venetian blinds, rearranged the plastic-covered cushions, and shone the light on Aotearoa’s homegrown creative culture. Often letting the subjects film and present their own stories, it was produced for three series by Wellington’s Sticky Pictures. These excerpts from the second series have everything from outsider artist Martin Thompson making art from maths, to horror hamming it up with Taika's Incredible Show.
Eating Media Lunch satirised mainstream media, from "issues of the day" journalism to reality TV to the society pages (lampooned in the "celebrity share market index index"). No fish was too big or barrel too small. Presenter Jeremy Wells kept a straight face over seven seasons of often controversial episodes, while investigating issues inexplicably missed by other media (eg the porno film made in Taranaki and shot in te reo, or ritalin-fueled reality programme Medswap). EML's seventh season won Best Comedy Programme at the 2008 Qantas Film and Television Awards.
This documentary looks at the life and work of acclaimed author Patricia Grace. Filmed at home, on marae and in classrooms, Grace discusses her writing process, her Hongoeka Bay upbringing, her children’s books, criticism of her work, and her Māori identity and belonging to the land (a theme of her then-recently successful novel Potiki). In particular she affirms the importance of writing from experience. The film features interviews with publishers and friends, and excerpts from Grace's stories are read and dramatised, including At the River, The Hills and Mutuwhenua.