Dancer Shona McCullagh’s award-winning debut short film offers a joyful fingers-up to gravity, dialogue, and the idea that nuns never get up to anything exciting. Two nuns flip twist and fly from bedside to beachside, turning a moving train carriage into a jungle gym (in-between desperately seeking solace from the call of nature). The footloose dance film did some travelling of its own: invited to over 30 festivals, including prestigious dance film festivals, and Edinburgh, Clermont-Ferrand, and Sundance (where it played before Kiwi feature Scarfies).
Canadian-born to New Zealand parents, writer and director Alison Maclean helmed one of the most successful NZ Film Commission-funded short films of all time, Kitchen Sink, which debuted at Cannes and won eight international awards. A graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, she has directed feature films Crush (which she also wrote) and Jesus’ Son. A director of commercials and television series including Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, Maclean divides her time between New York, Canada and New Zealand, and she is developing several feature films.
Actor Jim Moriarty cut his teeth on the early dramas Pukemanu and Close to Home, then went on to appear in a number of other TV projects such as Inside Straight and City Life. He has starred in films The Strength of Water, No Petrol No Diesel, and played Jesus in Saving Grace. As well as acting, Moriarty has directed in television and theatre, and works with at risk Māori youth.
In this one-off documentary Te Radar takes his roving reporter skills to Takaka, and immerses himself in the groovy world of The Gathering. The New Year's dance music festival ran from 1996 to 2002. Radar proves the master of the quote, whether chatting to 'Lords of the Ping', electronic act Pitch Black or avoiding immolation from fire poi enthusiasts ("who doesn't love a fire poi", he says grimly). Watch out for Black Seed Bret McKenzie, laidback DJ star John Digweed and the earnest 'Jesus Food' crew, whose free dosh proves a bit too popular for rival food stalls.
Jon Stevens (brother of singer Frankie Stevens) was born in Upper Hutt in 1963 and worked at EMI's record pressing plant as a teen. His own recording career got off to a stellar start when his first two singles ('Jezebel' and 'Montego Bay') were consecutive number ones. After recording an album in LA he moved to Australia in 1981. Since then he has fronted Sydney rock band Noiseworks for six years, played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and replaced the late Michael Hutchence in INXS from 2000 to 2004.
Written by Helena Brooks and comedian Jaquie Brown, Nothing Special could be seen as a cautionary tale: it's good to love your son, but not so good to think he's Jesus reincarnate. How can Billy escape the crazed adoration of his doting Mum? By striving to be the most boring man he can be. Featuring an aptly quirky soundtrack (Blerta's 'Dance All Around The World') and a very funny performance by Alison Routledge as the quintessential overzealous Mum, Nothing Special was chosen for competition in the short film section at Cannes (2005).
Margaret Urlich's first solo album Safety in Numbers went triple platinum in Australia, and took away three gongs at the 1989 NZ Music Awards. It was not her first brush with fame: Urlich had already scored hits with band Peking Man, and done her first stint with live favourites When the Cat's Away. Since then she has been mainly Australian-based, though she returned to NZ for third album The Deepest Blue (1995) and a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. In 1999 she covered her favourite Kiwi songs on Second Nature.
Roots reggae act Kora present this Living Room episode from the beach at Whakatāne — hometown for the four Queenstown-based brothers. Then ex-Mental As Anything guitarist Reg Mombassa (born in Auckland as Chris O'Doherty) talks from Sydney about his iconic artworks for Mambo — including the notorious Australian Jesus series — and wonders if he's turning into a blowfly. Finally there’s a profile of outsider artist Martin Thompson, whose painstaking mathematically-based work has travelled from Wellington community workshops to Wallpaper* magazine.
Snapper is the Flying Nun combo with the big fat sound formed by one-time member of The Clean, Peter Gutteridge (also formerly of The Chills and The Great Unwashed). The driving and hypnotic ‘Buddy’, from the band’s eponymous debut EP, became an indie classic both in New Zealand and abroad, with fans including Stereolab and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Since the self-titled EP in 1989, they have released the album Shotgun Blossom (1992), a seven inch single ‘Gentle Hour’ (1993), and, more recently, the internationally-acclaimed A.D.M. album.
Branded as a musical genius by his peers, Darcy Clay's flame flared briefly, but left a lasting impression on New Zealand music. Clay (aka Daniel Bolton) recorded the now classic single 'Jesus I Was Evil' in his bedroom on a four-track tape machine, just months before his untimely death. The Auckland singer-songwriter only played five gigs during that time, including a support slot for Blur (released as live EP Songs for Beethoven). But his pioneering talent and "country-fried punk rock" are testament to the cult-like figure he's now become. Clay committed suicide in March 1998, at age 25.