Rachel Davies is an acclaimed experimental filmmaker. Her multi-award winning short film, Sweetness, was the subject of two theses. Davies is proficient both in front of and behind the camera.
A truly original talent who seems unafraid to explore the possibilities of the film medium beyond tired concerns for realism and narrative clichés. Pavement magazine
Director Rachel Davies got the idea for this music video when she was talking to Kirsten Morrell on Skype. As they spoke Morrell's screen face was distorted as the connection slipped. Davies thought it looked beautiful — "like a Picasso" — and replicated the effect for the clip. "I wanted to undercut the lightness of the song with a layer of sadness and confusion. For me, the song is about a girl being messed up over this boy, she doesn't know what to do, she's falling apart, going to pieces, so, in a really simple way, the images show her going to pieces."
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.
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.
Aimed at children, anthology series Freaky showcased tales of horror and the fantastic. Each episode was generally broken up into three stories, from aliens controlling humans like rats in a maze, to a terrifying water slide that transports riders to a prehistoric world. The tweenage Twilight Zone tales spawned a cult following, plus a wiki page detailing each story. Freaky creator Thomas Robins would refine the three stories in one approach with his 2006 anthology series The Killian Curse. He also co-created pioneering web series Reservoir Hill.
'Maybe Tomorrow' was the song that opened the door for Goldenhorse. Released in February 2003, the single's mixture of the bittersweet, the nostalgic and the supremely catchy helped make it NZ radio's most played local song that year; it was also a finalist for a Silver Scroll songwriting award. In the video, Kirsten Morrell sings of past and future, sorrow and possible celebration, alongside grainy home movie style images of the band at the beach, and at the mike (possibly in someone's living room). A less popular alternative video for the song featured Morrell singing in the kitchen.
Director Rachel Davies subverts expectations in a confronting film about a young boy's relationship with an older man. In one continuous piece-to-camera shot a boy recounts his first sexual experiences at a scout camp. What is the relationship between the ambiguous identity of the subject (boy or girl? why does he have a man's voice?) and the gravity of what's being said? This intriguing confessional marked an impressive debut for Davies, who was only 21 when she made Sweetness. It received awards at the Sydney and San Francisco Film Festivals.