Director, photographer and Axemen drummer Stuart Page is a prolific maker of music videos. Page has directed promos for Superette, The Clean, and The Skeptics' infamous 'AFFCO'. In 2009 he won Doc NZ International Film Festival awards for feature documentary and emerging filmmaker, for his doco Shustak, a portrait of US photographer Larence Shustak. Page also put together alternative music compilation Noisyland.
Stuart Page's work is sometimes controversial, often breathtakingly beautiful, and always memorable. James Coleman
This documentary examines an unusual Aotearoa first encounter: between Māori and Russians in 1820, when Queen Charlotte Sound was visited by Fabian Bellingshausen aboard the sloop the Vostok. Alongside reenactments of crew diaries, presenter Moana Maniapoto gets a history lesson from Tipene O'Regan, and visits Russia to look at traded taonga and archive material — and also find out what the famed Antarctic discoverer was doing in Ship Cove shortly after Napoleon was sent packing from Moscow. The doco screened on Māori TV and at Australia's Message Stick Festival.
This documentary looks at the history of the island of Motutaiko, the prominent landmark in the middle of Lake Taupō. Motutaiko is a sacred site for Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Directors Toby Mills and Moana Maniapoto use interviews and shots of island life to examine Motutaiko’s geological and mythological origins, its strategic place in Māori history (from the muttonbirds that gave the island its name, to its role as a stronghold), desecration of burial sites, and its contemporary place as a conservation bastion free of predators — and home to rare birds, insects and trees.
In 2002, musician Moana Maniapoto was prevented from using her first name to market herself in Germany because it was copyrighted by someone else. That bewildering experience prompted this award-winning doco made with partner Toby Mills. It explores wider issues of commercial exploitation of 'exotic' indigenous cultures by global companies — a vexed area which Western intellectual property law seems ill-equipped to deal with. There are case studies of the good, the bad and the ugly over usage by brands including Lego, the All Blacks, Ford, Moontide and Playstation.
Moana Maniapoto and Toby Mills' documentary series recorded interviews with end-of millennium Māori elders (including Maniapoto's nan Kaa Rakaupai) in four hour-long episodes, revisiting a time when tribal traditions, beliefs and customs were still strong, but when Māori children had their mouths washed with soap for speaking te reo at school. The series, filmed in te reo, was co-funded by Te Mangai Paho and screened on TVNZ and at French and Finnish film festivals. Episode tahi won Best Māori Programme at the 2000 NZ TV Awards.
Stuart Page's work is sometimes controversial, often breathtakingly beautiful, and always memorable. And Killer Clown, one of the most exhilaratingly engaging and original music videos NZ has ever produced, is no exception. The delightful colours, simple special effects and outstanding performances merge to produce a kind of sickly sweet malevolence, rendering this work of art greater than the sum of its parts.
David Kilgour, looking particularly dapper in a blue and white polka dot shirt, plays the high living rock star in this Stuart Page directed video. The backstage party and driving sequences were filmed in Dunedin and feature David's brother (and fellow Clean member) Hamish and local identities including Martin Phillipps (from The Chills) as the chauffeur. The live performance was shot at the Powerstation in Auckland and the paparazzi sequence takes place at Auckland International Airport. Special mention should be made of the "brick" mobile phone.
After achieving commercial and critical success as part of pioneering Flying Nun band The Clean, David Kilgour began releasing solo work in the early 90s. His first single did not disappoint. The matching video relocated the avowed Dunedinite to Auckland, and sees Kilgour cruising around and on — and swimming fully clothed in — Waitematā Harbour. The video also features Kilgour's kaleidoscopic collection of Converse shoes, which seem to change without prompt. The song was the lead single off Here Come The Cars, which reached 35 on the NZ music charts.
‘Buddy’ is a mean and distorted classic, and director Stuart Page’s video matches the menacing mood with imagery that includes bad-arse motorbikes, underwater sea creatures, and skulls. Grainy, grungy, great.
With its skittering drum loops and unsteady vocals punctuated with bursts of industrial-strength noise, Donka is an early example of Headless Chickens’ ever-evolving sound. Director Stuart Page (working with the Chickens' Grant Fell) cuts together a wild collage to echo the song’s mood swings. Chris Matthews' deadpan delivery to camera — occasionally in butoh-type face paint — provides a spot of calm amongst the blizzard of grotesque close-ups, absurd costumes, time-lapse and triple exposures. Fell wrote later that the video cost $527.55 to make.
Publicly screened only a handful of times, AFFCO hasn't met with universal approval. Yet for many, this Stuart Page bombshell is the pièce de résistance of NZ music video art. "It's been written that it was 'animal rights' inspired, which is incorrect. The song was written purely about some guys who 'pack meat' and the video was made in that light. I guess we got carried away wrapping David d'Ath in glad wrap, baby oil and food colouring in an upstairs room at my Freeman's Bay flat." Stuart Page CAUTION: This video contains images which may offend some viewers.
The Great Unwashed were an eclectic spin-off of legendary band The Clean. 'Neck of the Woods' comes from the later, louder period of their short existence. The accompanying video has a touch of experimental film to it. Alongside trademark Flying Nun primitive animation, and stand-in guitarist Stuart Page wearing a loopy mask, the lyrical mentions of sun and moon are imbued by psychedelic lightshow effects, ala 2001: A Space Odyssey (although on a somewhat tighter budget). The video was allegedly shot at TVNZ Christchurch’s studios, on the Miss New Zealand set.