Produced by Greenstone Pictures, Mercury Lane was a story-driven arts show that screened late on Sunday nights on TV One, from 2001 until 2003. Each hour-long episode of this 'front-person free' show included a cluster of short documentaries covering a wide range of subjects including poetry, visual art, music and performance.
In this Christmas special from the long-running disability interests show, the team don festive costumes. Reporter Grant Sharman takes some of the young stars out for a tea party, Curtis Palmer presents his third postcard from Turkey, Northland blind student Aine sings a carol, and we attend the opening of the Mouth and Foot Painters Association exhibition in Christchurch. Meanwhile junior reporter Anthony Jellyman takes us on a tour of the Attitude set with his own camera in hand, and introduces some of the cast and crew.
"Jazz is an attitude ... how you look at yourself, how you look at the world." So argues the subject of this rich and moody Work of Art documentary: jazz pianist Mike Nock. The Ngaruawahia-raised muso first went on the road in his teens, and by 18 had left New Zealand for a long career in Sydney, London and New York City. Director Geoffrey Cawthorn and his film crew travel with Nock in small-town New Zealand and big city NY, capturing memories of childhood, touring and inspiration. Also included: some beautifully-lit performances by Nock and his cohorts.
Icon in B Minor: a musical odyssey is the tale of two creative souls from different centuries with the same belief in spiritual transformation through their art. World-renowned New Zealand concert pianist Michael Houstoun is filmed on his pilgrimage to Germany, where composer Franz Liszt spent his last years. Houstoun is preparing for his performance of Liszt's monumental work, Sonata in B Minor. Produced and directed by Tainui Stephens, Icon in B Minor screened as part of the Work of Art series.
The late 60s saw globetrotting filmmaker Tony Williams shoot and edit two films for Iranian director Mahmoud Khosrowshahi. Here Williams chronicles an east meets west festival held in the Iranian city of Shiraz. Williams’ love affair with music and montage helps lend pace and life to a film whose sonic interests range from Iranian lutes and Indian oboes to American Cathy Berberian, who is busy turning comic strips into song. A glimpse of cosmopolitan Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution, it includes a rare interview with New Yorker classical music critic Andrew Porter.
Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh is the eye behind some of the most iconic images in New Zealand film. His first job in the industry was as a 'general assistant' on Middle Age Spread. From there he worked as a gaffer on films including Smash Palace, Goodbye Pork Pie and Came A Hot Friday, before becoming a fully-fledged cinematographer, learning much of what he knows from his mentor Alun Bollinger, who operated the camera for him on The Piano. Since shooting The Piano, Dryburgh has been working overseas, returning to film In My Father’s Den in 2004.
From playing a human mule in The Piano, a dandy in Desperate Remedies and the hated Uncle Bully in Once Were Warriors, actor Cliff Curtis has appeared in a number of classic Kiwi movies. Curtis won acclaim and awards after starring as troubled chess champ Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse. He has also forged a busy international acting career, and moved into work as a producer, out of a desire to make Māori stories.
Veteran actor Bruce Allpress has had a long career in theatre, film and television. His television credits include Close to Home, Hanlon, Shark in the Park, Duggan, The Cult, and the lead role in the series Jocko. His many film appearances include The Piano, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Rest for the Wicked.
The clip for this single off Brooke Fraser’s seven time platinum selling album debut What to do with Daylight works from a simple concept. Accompanied by a string quartet, Fraser sings sweetly from behind a grand piano in an empty studio. Most distinctive however is the clip's liberal use of fairy lights, which cover the studio wall, the piano and the string quartet. This abundance didn’t go unnoticed: children's show Studio 2 gave Arithmetic the (satirical) award for “most use of fairy lights in a video clip”. The song reached number eight on the New Zealand Singles Chart.
Actor Greg Johnson began his career as a stand-up comedian. His first acting role was in the film The End of the Golden Weather. Since then, he has appeared in a wide range of TV shows, films and commercials, and is perhaps best known for roles in Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune and Go Girls. He has won two acting awards, for performances in TV series City Life, and 2010 movie The Insatiable Moon.