John Chrisstoffels has a long association with Christchurch music and film; his CV includes iconic videos for legendary record label Flying Nun, and many years teaching film at Canterbury University (plus the occasional class at Christchurch's NZ Broadcasting School).

Chrisstoffels first arrived in Christchurch in 1979 to go to university, and play in various bands. Born in the Hawke's Bay town of Havelock North, he grew up in Mount Maunganui and Timaru.

Chrisstoffels’ religious studies degree timed in nicely with the launch of local label Flying Nun. Soon he was shooting and directing music videos for Flying Nun staples like The Bats and The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience; when definitive Flying Nun documentary Heavenly Pop Hits was made, Chrisstoffels shot all the South Island interviews. A portfolio of music videos helped win him a place to study Fine Arts at Ilam, and he emerged with a Master of Fine Arts. In 2002 he returned to the University of Canterbury to lecture in film, where these days he convenes the Fine Arts programme and continues to teach.

Aside from music videos, Chrisstoffels has photographed a wide range of projects. Many have been short films — including his NZ Film Award-winning images for Gregory King's Junk, which marked a rare time he shot outside the South Island, and 2012 zombie drama Here Be Monsters. In 1998 he wrote and directed Black Spot, an offbeat boy-meets-pirate tale which was invited to festivals here and in Melbourne. In the same period noted cinematographer Leon Narbey called on Chrisstoffels to shoot Visible Evidence, a doco about documentary photographers.

Chrisstoffels has also been director of photography on two low-budget features directed by frequent collaborator Patrick Gillies: crime romp Offensive Behaviour (2005) and the “unashamedly uplifting” The Holy Roller (2011), which captured the Christchurch skyline before the changes brought about by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. In late 2015 he began shooting psychological thriller Human Traces in the Catlins, for director Nic Gorman (Here Be Monsters).

 

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John Chrisstoffels
'John Chrisstoffels' University of Canterbury website. Accessed 21 March 2014