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Cecil Holmes


New Zealand’s first left-wing documentary filmmaker, Cecil Holmes achieved notoriety in the late 1940s through the highly publicised exposure of his communist activity as a Public Service Association (PSA) delegate in the National Film Unit. He went on to become a significant film director in Australia.

Image credit: Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/2-023573; F (detail)

It was genuinely difficult to do sound recording on location in those days - the recording was on film and the gear consisted of a number of huge cumbersome objects … I did push very hard for sound on location and the greater use of effects and dialogue than was customary then in the usual format of Weekly Review items. Cecil Holmes, quoted in Russell Campbell’s 2011 book Observations - Studies in New Zealand Documentary