Art historian, gallery director and photography enthusiast Luit Bieringa added filmmaking to his bow in 2006. Made for TVNZ's Artsville series, his doco Ans Westra: Private Journeys/Public Signposts played in extended form at the 2006 NZ Film Festival. Bieringa followed it with The Man in the Hat, a portrait of art dealer Peter McLeavey, and 2016 festival title The HeART of the Matter, a documentary on art education.
The Man in the Hat is a nicely assembled and affectionate introduction to a great Wellingtonian. Do see it. Dominion Post reviewer Graeme Tuckett, on The Man in the Hat
The HeART of the Matter looks at major changes in New Zealand teaching which began after World War ll. A group of bureaucrats and arts specialists set about introducing a "thoroughly bicultural and arts-centred education system" to schools — in contrast to the rote learning of the past. Combining interviews and archival footage, Luit and Jan Bieringa (The Man in the Hat) examine this period of radical educational reform, and ask what lessons can be applied to the present. In the excerpts above, pupils and teachers reminisce about their time in the classroom.
This documentary is a portrait of Wellington art-dealer Peter McLeavey, who spent over 40 years running his influential Cuba Street gallery. In the Leon Narbey-shot film, McLeavey talks about his life: a roving North Island railway childhood, an early love of art, discovering his New Zealand identity while living in London, and returning home to run over 500 plus exhibitions, initially from his flat — including key showcases of artists such as Toss Woollaston, Gordon Walters, and Colin McCahon.
Private Journeys / Public Signposts turns the camera on photographer Ans Westra. Dutch emigree Westra has captured iconic images of New Zealanders since the late 1950s, expressively observing Aotearoa societal changes, particularly Māori urban drift. This film explores her remarkable life and work, and includes commentary from family and friends, fellow photographers, and colleagues, as well as discussion of the Washday at the Pa controversy. Luit Bieringa, curator of Westra's retrospective photo exhibition, directed the film, his first.