Mark Albiston has racked up awards at festivals in Cannes, Berlin and Salt Lake City, thanks to short films Run and The Six Dollar Fifty Man (which he co-directed with Louis Sutherland). After a UK OE, Albiston returned home to launch Sticky Pictures, where he began winning gongs for arts shows The Living Room and The Gravy. Alibston and Sutherland's 2013 feature Shopping won further awards and acclaim.
I think good directors don't direct, they channel. You pick the right people for the job you want to pull off and, as long as you communicate clearly what you ‘see’, then they can grow it. Mark Albiston, in a 2007 interview with website The Big Idea
Shopping marks the feature debut of Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland, who were acclaimed for their short films. Set on the Kapiti Coast, the 80s-set drama follows half-Samoan teenager Willie (Kevin Paulo), who is seduced into a world of petty crime. Adrift in muscle cars and boozy lawn parties, he finds stirrings of love, and escape from his volatile Pākehā father. Little brother Solomon (Julian Dennison) must fend for himself. Selected for the Berlin and Sundance Film Festivals, Shopping went on a winning spree at the 2013 NZ Film Awards (including Best Film and Screenplay).
This episode of The Gravy takes an in-depth look at art in prisons. Host Warren Maxwell interviews inmates who have embraced painting or carving while serving time in Mt Eden, Paremoremo and Rimutaka prisons. At Rimutaka, art tutor Paul Bradley points out that art is a vehicle for change both for prisoners and the art audience, and former prisoners talk about how art has changed their lives for the better. Outside the walls, Warren visits at a caged exhibit of musical instruments at Artspace in Auckland and plays a few bars on the flute.
Little Bushman muso Warren Maxwell goes west in this edition of The Gravy, to meet a trio of artists creating work in the shadow of Mt Taranaki. Waru Wharehoka, an autistic painter, makes abstract works, is obsessed with weapons and zombies, and takes Maxwell on a paddle beneath New Plymouth. Assemblage artist Dale Copeland scavenges plane wrecks on the mountain and dead friend's teeth for her art. And photographer Fiona Clark discusses why she used colour film to snap her controversial 1975 drag queen images, and using a photo to help save the Waitara River.
This fourth season edition of the award-winning arts series is all about paint. Host Ross Liew meets three artists who are exploring the medium's expressive possibilities in diverse ways: Ally Maher uses paint to portray corrosion, patina and the breaking down of surfaces; he reveals the work he did on the now-scuppered vessel Manuia for Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Helen Calder uses gravity, coaxing paint off the surface to make new shapes and Glenn Burrell encases objects in paint to form a skin and removes the original object, leaving a paint replica.
In this installment of Sticky Pictures' award-winning art series, the show visits the idiosyncratic Matthew Squire of Levin — whose emergence as a painter in the wake of a life-changing accident is retold with poignant wit. Back in Wellington, Kerry Ann-Lee explains the influence of her Chinese heritage and hardcore-punk on her prolific run of 'zines' and collage-based work. Finally, conceptual artist Gill Gatfield prepares for an exhibition of sculptures using materials as varied as grass, electrified wire and disposable nappies.
In this episode of The Gravy Warren Maxwell employs the services of Wellington architect Gerald Melling. En route the Liverpudlian recalls his path down under, via underground publishing and scandal in 60s Toronto to designing punchy, idiosyncratic Kiwi buildings. These include the Signal Box house (Home New Zealand 2008 House of the Year) which lets the brake off the metaphorical possibilities of its Masterton location. Gabe McDonnell then looks at Richard Meros' obsession with Helen Clark, and its 'adaptation' for theatre by young lover/playwright Arthur Meek.
This episode of the Sticky Pictures’ arts show covers a 13 July 2008 concert that combined the musical talents of the Little Bushman with composer John Psathas and the Auckland Philharmonia. Trinity Roots alumnus Warren Maxwell is the frontman for Little Bushman and is a behind-the-scenes guide as they prepare their trademark psychedelic blues for Psathas (Olympics 2004 opening ceremony score composer) to wrangle for orchestral collaboration. Philharmonia met harmonica in one-off gig at Auckland Town Hall. The doco was directed by Mark Albiston.
In this episode of Sticky Pictures' show "about creative people, made by creative people", Dominic Hoey (aka MC Tourettes) charts his journey from drumming in "really shitty" punk bands as a teenager to being published in national poetry journal Landfall; artist Liyen Chong talks to Ross Liew about her Malaysian heritage and its influence on her intricate, complex artwork (including miniature prints made from hair); and the show joins animal-rights activist turned stencil artist Pete Howard on a late-night postering mission.
The Gravy, like its predecessor The Living Room (also produced by Sticky Pictures) was a fresh antidote to your standard 'worthy' arts series. In this episode, we meet The Damned Evangelist — a Lyttelton surf-punk trio inspired by B-movies and religious quackery; taxidermist Jacquelyn Greenbank, displaying her sideline in royally-themed crochet; and lastly a comically disturbing dispatch from Rachel Davies as she seeks out Jeremy Randerson, method actor-turned-proprietor of the legendary Foxton Fizz soda factory.
This NSFW episode of Sticky Pictures' award-winning arts series is dedicated to exploring the 'sexy side' of buttoned-down New Zealand — from traditional burlesque to erotic sculpture fashioned from export quality butter. Featured are Wellington illustrator Simon Morse, visual artist Stuart Shepherd, performer Tanya Drewery (aka Magenta Diamond) and feminist photographer Siren Deluxe. Also making a cameo appearance — hold on to your rosary beads — the infamous 'Virgin In A Condom'. This Qantas Award-nominated episode was directed by the late Phill England.
Hosted by Francis Kora, this episode of The Gravy is the story of musician and anti-apartheid activist Tigilau (Tigi) Ness, who during the 1970s joined the Polynesian Panthers movement in Auckland. Tigi Ness, the father of hip hop musician Che Fu, recalls his childhood in central Auckland and troubled times with the 1974 dawn raids and protests during the 1981 Springbok rugby tour for which he served nine months in prison. The episode also tells the story of his musical life in reggae bands such as Unity Pacific. Animated segment The Truth takes a look at lambs.
The Gravy was made for TVNZ by Sticky Pictures. The award-winning arts series was described as a “30 minute tour through creative Aotearoa” — usually featuring three stories per episode, but with every fourth show showcasing one subject. Conceived as “a show about creative people made by creative people, both in front of the camera and behind”, it featured presenters who were practising artists: photographer/graphic artist Ross Liew, musician Warren Maxwell, and writer Gabe McDonnell. In total, roughly 170 artists were profiled across The Gravy's 52 episodes.
Director Mark Albiston takes viewers on a magical tour of the work of artist Tanya Thompson, aka Misery. The Sticky Pictures film explores Misery's early years as a prominent but self-conscious graffiti artist on the streets of Auckland and looks at the rise of her successful art, fashion and toy empire, culminating in a visit to the Taipei Toy Festival to showcase her collectable 3D characters. Winner of Best NZ arts/festival documentary award at 2006 Qantas Film and TV awards.
With this arresting mixture of performance video and monstrous insect imagery, arts show maestro Mark Albiston (The Living Room) shows he is an exponent of the wham bam approach to music videos. Short sharp shots capture Shihad's energy on a set that is painted red and black. The band footage is intercut with images of a hungry praying mantis, whose darkest secrets are revealed via digital effects. The song is taken from Love is the New Hate (2005), the first album after Shihad's ill-fated decision to change their name to Pacificer.
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 Auckland as Chris O'Doherty) talks from Sydney about his iconic artworks for Mambo — including the notorious Australian Jesus series — and wonders if he's turning into a blowfly. Finally there’s a profile of outsider artist Martin Thompson, whose painstaking mathematically-based work has travelled from Wellington community workshops to Wallpaper* magazine.
This final episode from series two of the arts series is presented by Taika Cohen (aka Taika Waititi) and his alter ego, silly German Gunter Schliemann. Taika makes short film Tama Tū, performs as vampire Diego (later reborn in What We Do in the Shadows) and performs Taika’s Incredible Show at Bats Theatre. Included are scenes from his early, little-seen short film John & Pogo. Also featured are artist Siren Maclaine (aka Siren Deluxe) and her feminist erotica; Caroline Robinson’s large-scale Auckland motorway sculptures; and comics artist Colin Wilson (Judge Dredd, Blueberry).
The darkly arresting imagery of this Fanatics video — featuring leather clad models marching in robotic unison — was almost not to be, according to director Mark Albiston. "The band said 'do what you want — but no models'. I said 'what if we put them in jars'? They said...'mmmm... ok'." This swift negotiation lead to an industrial setting (the generator room under Wellington Hospital), with an army of models being baptised, energised and commercialised. The song was later used as the opening theme for New Zealand's Next Top Model.
A magazine show with an edge, The Living Room won awards for its creative and dynamic approach to covering the arts. These excerpts from series two cover a wide range of artists, from those working in multimedia to those puttng stencil art on walls. Also featured are dub band Kora, novelist Kelly Ana Morey and drummer Anthony Donaldson. In the second to last clip, Taika Waititi pretends he hasn't done any rehearsals for his one man show Taika's Incredible Show, which features an alien with ridiculous teeth and Gunther the dancing German.
Before their award-winning short films Run and Six Dollar Fifty Man (both invited to Cannes, in 2007 and 2009 respectively), Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland gave early notice of their talents with this short. Made to showcase the work of students from drama school Toi Whakaari, Dead End chronicles the tensions and preparations as various people converge for a funeral. Director Albiston utilises imaginative angles, music, humour and surprise to inject energy into a familiar scenario. Invited to film festivals in NZ, Sydney and Ourense (Spain).
This episode from The Living Room is presented by Wellington band Trinity Roots. First stop is a dans paleis, where competitors (including Fat Freddys' DJ Mu) tweak samples in a battle for the MPC heavyweight title. Then Dunedin artist Phil Frost tours his studio, talks skulls and bones and skate video Tulgonia Two (where broken ankles are the price of filming mad tricks). Poet Cameron Hockly takes his words to Te Awamutu's streets; and mainlander Peter King lathe cuts bespoke records for clients from the Beastie Boys to Trinity Roots (whose True LP is cut here).
Wellington band The Black Seeds present the debut episode in this TV series profiling creative Kiwi culture. They begin by going behind the scenes on their action-packed music video Hey Son (with Bret McKenzie donning a Captain Cook meets Freddie Mercury number). There’s an early profile of Auckland graffiti/ streetwear artist Misery (complete with cycle interview, and cameo from artist Elliot 'Askew' O'Donnell), London-based Ta Moko artist Te Rangitu Netana talks about life away from home, and tattooing Robbie Williams; and there’s a piece about skateboarding mag Manual.
Brought to you from "the Samoan Embassy" (in reality, the Naked Samoans' motel room) this episode of The Living Room follows the comedic theatre troupe during their time at the Edinburgh Fringe, before retreating to the wild west coast of the South Island where acclaimed cinematographer Alun Bollinger reflects on his diverse life and career. Also featured is the first 'proper' exhibition of Illicit artists on K' Road, (featuring the late Martin Emond) and a visit to small town Mangaweka, setting for surrealist short film Little Gold Cowboy.
This episode of the series profiling creative Kiwi culture is presented by hip-hop diva Ladi6, her partner Parkes, and cousins Scribe and Matthias Luafutu. Verse 2, her act at the time (before her solo success) is profiled in her hometown of Christchurch — and Luafatu's journey from prison to drama school is explored (with glimpses of Scribe on the brink of his hugely successful recording career). Other segments visit the air guitar champs and find director Brendan Donovan in New York where he made his debut short with Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors.
This early episode from the award-winning arts series drops in on the Urale sisters — directors Sima and Makerita and publicist Maila — in the living room of their Lyall Bay fale. The prolific Samoan-Kiwi siblings visit local haunts, discuss work, and brother Bill (aka King Kapisi) is mentioned in dispatches. Other Kiwi creatives featured include 'nu jazz' practitioner Mark de Clive-Lowe playing at Cargo in London; designer Ross Stevens building his challenging Happy Valley shipping container conversion; and Cannons Creek beatbox king Dougie B breaking it down.
A magazine show with an edge, The Living Room did for arts television production what Radio With Pictures did for New Zealand 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, who would go on to make another arts showcase, The Gravy. Amidst the calvacade of Kiwi talent, Flight of the Conchords and musician Ladi6 made early screen appearances.
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 sun 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, who also made follow-up arts showcase The Gravy. These excerpts from the first series show a calvacade of local talent, including an early Flight of the Conchords screen outing.