Director, Editor, Writer
A longtime collaborator with director Florian Habicht, Peter O'Donoghue is also a director in his own right — from shorts to hour-long, life in China documentary Happy Everyday. In 2010 the Australian-based Kiwi headed to New York to edit and co-write Habicht's acclaimed Love Story, whose storyline is partly shaped by feedback from New Yorkers. The pair then collaborated for a film on Brit band Pulp and the band's hometown.
Editing is like a phase of writing — the last phase. It's a chance to let the magic of the actual footage add to the original vision for the film, in both imagined and unexpected ways. Peter O’Donoghue
Long fascinated by the idea of community, Florian Habicht (Love Story) discovered one in an unexpected place while making his seventh feature. Spookers is the name of a live horror attraction south of Auckland, adjoining what was once Kingseat psychiatric hospital. Habicht got to know a number of the performers working there. Alongside engaging and sometimes emotional interviews — and scenes of the staff at work, scaring the punters silly with zombie brides and chainsaws — he created scenes inspired by the performers' dreams and nightmares.
Savouring the chance to demonstrate that Kiwi cinema is about far more than the usual suspects found on so many top 10 lists, critic Tim Wong provides his own angle on the topic in this film, narrated by Luminaries author and occasional actor Eleanor Catton. Ranging widely — from experimental works, to an often forgotten contender for first Kiwi horror movie — Out of the Mist marked the first of three essay films aiming to “advocate for art on the margins”. Director Wong founded film and arts website The Lumière Reader in 2004.
German-born Kiwi director Florian Habicht charts the journey of Britpop band Pulp to their 2012 Sheffield farewell concert, in this feature doco. As well as singing along with the common people and interviews with Jarvis Cocker and band (musing on everything from ageing to fishmongering), Habicht reunites with his Love Story co-writer and cinematographer to provide a paean to the band’s hometown and fans (there’s a rest home rendition of ‘Help the Aged’). The film premiered to strong reviews at SXSW where Variety found it “warmly human” and “artfully witty”.
Love Story sees filmmaker Florian Habicht finding a movie, a plot, and a beautiful Ukranian, on the streets of New York. The off-beat romance is part love letter to NYC, part the story of Florian and Masha, and possibly even part true: with the script to this genre-bending tryst being written before our eyes, thanks to story input from real-life New Yorkers. Love Story won Aotearoa awards for best film and director, and raves from the Herald’s Peter Calder, who noted festival audiences gasping at the "strange, surprising and wildly romantic ideas sprinkled through it".
Florian Habicht returns to Northland (home surf and turf and Kaikohe Demolition territory) to chronicle the annual Red Snapper Classic fishing competition. The first prize is $50,000 but the participants chase the joy of the cast as much as the purse. The solitary figures on the epic sweep of Ninety Mile Beach provide striking images, while Habicht teases out their innermost thoughts and some fine homespun philosophy. A 50s era soundtrack is an apt match while the closing underwater sequences are a stunning counterpoint to the anglers' endeavours.