The Making of Footrot Flats

Television, 1986 (Full Length)

This documentary backgrounds the process of turning Murray Ball's comic strip into New Zealand's first animated feature. Who will voice the iconic Dog? Pat Cox, the original producer, stays off-screen; but there are interviews with perfectionist Footrot creator Murray Ball, fellow Manawatu scribe Tom Scott and John Clarke, who argues he narrowly beat Meryl Streep to provide the voice of Wal. Amongst the making of footage, the late Mike Hopkins (who won Oscar glory on Lord of the Rings) lends his feet to the sound effects. Tony Hiles writes about the making of the film here.

Grunt Machine - Opening Titles

Television, 1975 (Excerpts)

Two long versions and a short version of the titles for the late night rock show; and a first attempt at animation for Avalon graphic designer Mike Peebles who was just out of art school. Sensibility is horror meets underground comics with a touch of Monty Python - but Peebles was anxious to avoid existing imagery (excepting the Rolling Stones mouth for the "wah-wah" voice). The first features a voice somewhere between Vincent Price and Isaac Hayes, ending with the invocation "and buckets of blood, baby". The end of the second is more matter of fact. 

One Network News - Undie 500

Television, 1998 (Excerpts)

Reporter Greg Boyed gives Dr Seuss a run for his money in this story on the Undie 500, a dash down Auckland's Queen St for runners willing to make their underwear 'outer' wear. Boyed delivers his voice-over in perfect rhyming couplets, even tying in off the cuff comments from the two winners. Back in the studio, Judy Bailey and Simon Dallow enjoy Boyed's creativity. Boyed went on to present current affairs show Q+A, and late night news bulletin Tonight. After his death on 20 August 2018, tributes flowed in from across New Zealand.

Rest for the Wicked

Film, 2011 (Trailer and Excerpts)

Rest for the Wicked showcases an all-star A-team of older Kiwi actors — among them John Bach, Bruce Allpress, and Gloss boss Ilona Rodgers. Gravel-voiced Tony Barry (the man who uttered the immortal line "goodbye pork pie") stars as Murray, a retired detective going undercover in an upmarket rest home. Frank hopes to catch his longtime nemesis (Bach). Instead he finds himself in the company of the randy, and the unexpectedly dead. The "sweet, rather knowing little movie" (Linda Burgess in The Dominion Post) marked the feature debut of advertising veteran Simon Pattison.

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

Film, 2018 (Trailer)

Merata Mita argued forcefully that the voices of Māori and of women were sorely lacking on-screen. Best known for her Springbok tour documentary Patu!, the straight-talking director and actor later set up an indigenous filmmaking programme in Hawai'i, and spoke about indigenous film around the globe. After Mita passed away in 2010, her youngest son Hepi began making a film about her — discovering new sides to his mother as he trawled through footage, and interviewed his older siblings. The feature-length documentary debuted at the 2018 NZ International Film Festival.

Preferably Blue

Short Film, 2011 (Full Length)

This CGI animated short stars the Easter Bunny and Santa, but its take on festive spirit is far from cuddly. 'Tis the season to be addled in writer Wayne Ching’s twisted tale of an embittered bunny (voiced by English comedian Harry Enfield) whose remorse for Santa’s presents is “fuelled by vodka and anti-depressants.” A tattooed Santa channels Withnail and I’s Uncle Monty, and the rhyming couplets are more AO Grinch than child friendly. Directed by Alan Dickson and made by Kiwi animation house Yukfoo, the black comedy screened at Tribeca and SXSW film festivals.

Melody Rules - Going, Going ... Goner (First Episode)

Television, 1995 (Full Length Episode)

'Going, Going, Gone ...' was the ominous title for the opening episode of one of NZ television's most celebrated failures. With her mother on an archaeological dig in Malaysia, Melody (Belinda Todd) is babysitting her brother and sister and counting down to a much anticipated holiday of her own. But will Mum make it back in time (or will she only ever be a voice on the phone)? Will her brother survive his first date? And will her sister get to the big Slagheap concert? And who thought it was good idea for Brendan (Alan Brough) to wear that shirt?  

Passionless Moments

Short Film, 1983 (Full Length)

“There are one million passionless moments in your neighbourhood; each has a fragile presence which fades as it forms.” So says a voice in this early Jane Campion collaboration with Gerard Lee (Sweetie, Top of the Lake). Made — without permission — while both were students at Australian Film, Television and Radio School, the short eulogises 10 such moments to wry effect, from ‘Sleepy Jeans’ (misheard lyrics), to ‘Sex ... Thing’ (idle yoga thoughts). The celebration of the micro-absurdity of suburban life showed in the Un Certain Regard slot at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.

Woolly Valley - Series One Compilation

Television, 1982 (Full Length Episodes)

The magpie quardle oodled and the narrator uttered, "Welcome to Woolly Valley", in the intro to this children's TV classic. The low-tech puppet show with its rustic charm was familiar to a generation of kids who grew up in the 80s. It follows the lives of woolly-haired farmer Wally and his long-suffering wife Beattie, who live with talking ewe Eunice. Also featured is hippie Tussock, voiced by Russell (Count Homogenized) Smith. Woolly Valley marked an early piece of screenwriting by children's writer Margaret Mahy. This compilation is the entire first series.

The Secret Life of John Rowles

Television, 2008 (Full Length)

The meteoric career of one of NZ’s greatest entertainers is examined in this documentary. John Rowles went from a Kawerau childhood to stardom in London at 21; but, after headlining in Hawaii and Las Vegas, he saw it all slip away. Those roofing ads and near bankruptcy followed, but Rowles has retained his self belief and that voice. A stellar cast of interviewees analyse his strengths and weaknesses, including Sir Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Neil Finn and late promoter Phil Warren. Amongst the star cameos, John’s sister Cheryl Moana explains the downside of his best-known local hit.