Producer Mhairead Connor's career encompasses a stint at production company Sticky Pictures (where she wrangled the creatives on acclaimed arts show The Gravy), and two features: drama Little Bits of Light, and science fiction tale Existence.
The local industry is generous and passionate. Existence was an incredibly ambitious project and I really don’t believe we could have made this film anywhere else in the world except here. Mhairead Connor on movie Existence
This ‘salvagepunk’ film is set in a desolate future where wind turbines power a vast electric fence that seemingly protects the survivors of environmental collapse, and keeps refugees out. A rare entry in the Kiwi sci-fi feature catalogue, Existence stars Loren Taylor (Eagle vs Shark) as Freya, a mother who dreams of the world beyond, and Matthew Sunderland (Out of the Blue) as a mysterious boundary rider. From a SWANZ award-winning script, the low budget film was shot on Wellington’s rugged south coast hills. It marked the feature debut of director Juliet Bergh.
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 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.
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.