Mystery and menace abound in this debut film from Alison Maclean (Crush, The Rehearsal). Made when Maclean was an Elam art student, the experimental short plays with gender and racial stereotypes by constantly thwarting narrative expectations. What there is of a plot consists of a woman emerging from the sea and a 'centrepiece' pursuit leading to a confrontation between two characters: a man and a woman. Scripted, shot and edited by Maclean, it marked the beginning of a fertile collaboration between Maclean and producer Bridget Ikin.
A talkback radio operator (Lucy Sheehan) is forced to stand in for the regular host when he walks out because of a personal crisis. In between trying to answer calls, organize a replacement and discuss odd topics with a succession of callers, the flustered operator makes a surprising connection with another lost soul. Auckland's urban soul is captured with distinctive assurance in this neglected 48-minute drama from director Alison Maclean — who wrote the script with Geoff Chapple.
Alison Maclean has brought an original vision to screen, whether it be in personal, expressionistic films: the Kiwi gothic duo of Kitchen Sink and her first feature, Crush, acclaimed junkie redemption song Jesus' Son, and her adaptation of Eleanor Catton novel The Rehearsal — or in high profile television series like Sex in the City and The Tudors.
Producer Bridget Ikin has made a habit of championing Antipodean women filmmakers with original visions, from Alison Maclean (Kitchen Sink) to Jane Campion (An Angel at My Table) and Australian Sarah Watt (Look Both Ways). Since leaving New Zealand in the early 1990s, Ikin has been influential in Australian television and film, including programming public broadcasting network SBS.
The versatile Peter Tait has shown an extremely keen eye over which short films to act in. His CV includes memorable roles in a run of offbeat classics: from legendary horror short Kitchen Sink (playing a very strange discovery) to The Singing Trophy (as an obsessed hunter), to Alison Maclean drama Talkback (an aggressive talkback caller) and satire Mon Desir (a boring husband). Tait has also created a number of his own projects — comical cricket short Bradman, postman tale Postscript, and two low-budget features: Back River Road, which was nominated for an NZ Film Award, and ensemble movie Not Set in Stone.
While beachcombing, April (Hester Joyce) discovers an injured man and claims him as her own. She must keep him a secret, and alive, in a makeshift community called Paradise. But Paradise is under threat and the other residents are slowly moving on. Fiercely protective of the broken man in her bed, April cannot leave, nor can she stay. For April there is nowhere to go but up. Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), Sure To Rise competed for the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Producer Owen Hughes writes here about where the film's rise led its director.
Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh has helped create some of the most iconic images of New Zealand cinema: the girl with a mop of red hair, standing at the end of a country road in Angel at my Table; the piano on a deserted beach in The Piano, and the charged kitchen scenes of Once Were Warriors.
John McKay is a veteran sound editor, sound designer, and mixer. He abandoned an early focus on directing to build a diverse, respected career in post-production. His credits include significant contributions to iconic films The Quiet Earth, Footrot Flats, Kitchen Sink, and Lord of the Rings. McKay is notable for an approach which combines creativity with a high level of technical craft and organisational rigour.
After boning up on set design at TVNZ and the BBC, Palmerston North-born Grant Major has gone on to design movies for Peter Jackson and Niki Caro. His work as a production designer on epics Lord of the Rings and King Kong resulted in a run of international accolades, including an Academy Award for Return of the King.
Ant Timpson’s longtime love affair with movies — especially the wild and 'incredibly strange' end of the spectrum — has seen him launch long-running film festivals and New Zealand's biggest filmmaking contest, 48 Hours. He has been part of the producing team on a run of features, from Housebound to The ABCs of Death. In 2019 Timpson directed thriller Come to Daddy, starring Elijah Wood.