Director Florian Habicht's follow-up to his offbeat fairytale Woodenhead is a documentary tribute to a community of characters, drawn together by a desire to jump in a car for the local demolition derby. Behind the bangs, prangs, and blow-ups, the heart and soul of a small Far North town — Kaikohe — is laid bare in this full-length film, thanks to a cast of fun-loving, salt of the earth locals. Kaikohe Demolition won rave reviews, and The Listener named it one of the ten best films of 2004. Filmmaker Costa Botes writes about the film's characters and qualities here.
Tis the season to be toxic in this "distinctly Kiwi take on the f***ed up whanau" (Chris Knox, Real Groove). Broke, depressed oldest son Keri arrives home to face up to a suburban Christmas countdown and two messed up sisters, a gay brother, drunk kids, and narcoleptic parents. Director Gregory King wrests bleak comedy and holiday horrors from the tokes, tinsel and frequent toilet visits. The raw realism of his debut feature saw it selected for Toronto, Locarno, Edinburgh, and Melbourne festivals. It won best digital film and script at the 2003 NZ Film Awards.
“The big ALL FUN show for the whole family to enjoy!” said the ads for this musical comedy, which was one of only two Kiwi features made in the 1960s. Moving from Sydney to a Rotorua music festival, it follows the romance between a lively drummer (Gary Wallace) and Judy (Carmen Duncan), and the hurdles they face to stay true. That's only an excuse for a melange of madcap musical fun. Made by John O’Shea for Pacific Films, the movie featured performers Howard Morrison (who sings in this excerpt), Lew Pryme and Kiri Te Kanawa, plus distinctive graphics by artist Pat Hanly.
Composer Marc Chesterman has brought his experience of playing drums in bands and sound designing for the theatre, to the screen. Chesterman has worked on a run of films with director Florian Habicht, including composing the soundtrack for Woodenhead and Spookers. He has composed music for Zia Mandviwalla short Eating Sausage, and was sound designer for Rita Angus documentary Lovely Rita.
A longtime collaborator with director Florian Habicht, Peter O'Donoghue is also a director in his own right — from shorts to hour-long, life in China documentary Happy Everyday. In 2010 the Australian-based Kiwi headed to New York to edit and co-write Habicht's acclaimed Love Story, whose storyline is partly shaped by feedback from New Yorkers. The pair then collaborated for a film on Brit band Pulp and the band's hometown.
While studying fine art at Elam, Niamh Peren won the Best Moving Image prize for The Great Bunny Hunt. Her shorts Moustache Me Oh My and Bubblegum have played on Austria's Channel Okto. As an actor Peren has appeared in Stephen Kang's Cannes award-winning short Blue, and acclaimed docudrama Erebus: Operation Overdue. She also shared camera duties on Florian Habicht's Land of the Long White Cloud.
How Far is Heaven, Christopher Pryor's directorial debut, was described as “stunning” (Sunday Star-Times), “moving” (Listener) and “a genuine triumph” (Capital Times). The film chronicled a year Pryor and co-director Miriam Smith spent in the Whanganui River community of Jerusalem. Prior Pryor credits include multiple collaborations with director Florian Habicht, as both cinematographer and editor. Pryor and Smith followed up How Far is Heaven with small town rugby chronicle The Ground We Won, which won the 2017 NZ Film Award for Best Documentary. Pryor took another gong for his cinematography.