In the middle of a decidedly average day, a house painter (The End of the Golden Weather's Stephen Papps) discovers an old flask in a hole in the wall. This short film, written and directed by James Cunningham and brought to life by 28 of his students at the Media and Design School, explores the idea of wish fufilment. The painter gets a great deal on the usual three wish limit from a blue genie with a Scottish accent, and samples a list of childhood dreams, including fighting fires, racing cars and photographing dinosaurs in the wild. All offer chances to showcase some CGI magic.
The perils of fast-paced celebrity culture are joyfully skewered in this "boogie-infused groove" from Auckland artist Randa (aka Mainard Larkin). Randa becomes an appendage/hostage to success when his belly button transforms into a scarlet-lipped star vocalist and goes viral. The video is a hilarious cautionary tale — Randa and his talented tummy are discovered online, he hits the studio, the hangers-on arrive, and substances are ingested. 'Rock Bottom' is directed by duo Vision Thing, and won Best Music Video at the 2019 New Zealand Music Awards.
Florian Habicht shot Liebesträume ('love dream' in German) on a windup Bolex 16mm camera. His decision to record the dialogue separately enhances the surreal feel of this tale of suburban desire. A paper boy is invited in for a glass of milk by an elderly man (played by Habicht's father, photographer Frank Habicht). Then Frank's alluring partner Donna enters the scene. Habicht rejects traditional narrative in favour of juxtaposition and dark humour. The film is not to be confused with Habicht's 2000 feature Liebesträume - The Absurd Dreams of Killer Ray, about late entertainer Killer Ray.
John Clarke was one of New Zealand’s best-loved comic performers. His 1970s farming character Fred Dagg became an icon of Kiwi comedy. Clarke worked as a comedian, actor, writer and director. His satirical television series The Games was an Australian Film Institute award-winner. Although based in Australia since 1977, he lent his unmistakeable comic voice to Kiwi TV comedies bro’Town and Radiradirah. In a departure from our usual ScreenTalk format, this extended audio interview was produced and recorded by Andrew Johnstone and Richard Swainson with the assistance of Hamilton Community Radio and The Film School.
With her second ever video, director Kezia Barnett established herself as a major industry talent. Buck It Up won Best Group Video at the Juice TV Awards 2004. "I went to art school with Rodney. At one school ball he was the Queen of the Ball and I was the King! The video idea was influenced by my brush with death and hospital stay earlier that year. Needless to say I was delirious and had visions. You can see the band pop up throughout the video - especially Rodney." Kezia Barnett - March 09
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.
Tala Pasifika was a pioneering Pacific Island drama series; this episode is one of six films that screened on TV One in 1996. It's a haunting short film about a young girl named Ana (former Shortland Street star Jaime Passier Armstrong), who asks about a photo in a family album and gets an awkward brush off from her mum. When the family receives news of the tragic death of mum's sister Rose (Sela Brown), it's time for truth, and secrets from the past are revealed.
Part concept film, part biopic, part historical record and part comedy, Leanne Pooley’s documentary was made to mark the Topp Twins' 50th birthday. New Zealand's favourite comedic, country singing, dancing and yodeling lesbian twin sisters tell their personal story: from their 'coming out' to Jools' brush with breast cancer. The film features archive material, home movies and interviews with the Topps' alter egos. Alongside local box office success and dozens of international awards, Girls won the People’s Choice award for favourite documentary at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival.
Scenic vistas of Aotearoa have become an important part of New Zealand identity. Hand-coloured photos produced by Whites Aviation from 1945 were formative in the genre, and hugely popular after WWll. This 2016 Loading Doc profiles 'colouring girl' Grace Rawson, now 83, who uses cotton wool and brushes to demonstrate the meticulous process behind colouring the images. The short was co-directed by artist and commercials director Greg Wood, and author Peter Alsop (Selling the Dream), whose book on the photos, Hand-Coloured New Zealand, was published in 2016.