Great adverts are strange things: mini works of magic, with the power to make viewers smile, cry, and even buy. Kiwi directors have shown such a knack for making them, they've been invited to do so across the globe. But this collection is about local favourites; dogs on skateboards, choc bar robberies, ghost chips. NZ On Screen's Irene Gardiner backgrounds the top 10 here.
Young, confident and good-looking, Michael (Matt Whelan from Go Girls) discovers he has only a short time to live. Rather than undergo pricey experimental cancer treatment, he steals the cash and absconds to Hong Kong and Europe, determined to enjoy the life that remains. But heedless OE hedonism is complicated when he meets Sylvie (Roxane Mesquida, star of A Ma Soeur) and goes cross-continental with her. Based on Steven Gannaway novel Seraphim Blues, Kirstin Marcon’s first feature combines down under filming with a guerilla-style winter shoot across Europe.
Gregor Nicholas explores the outer edges of obsession in this deliciously fruity comedy. The syncopated medley of music, strange noises and varied eccentrics doing their special thing shares similarities with a fondly-recalled scene in cult film Delicatessen; though Delicatessen was yet to emerge when this short film first debuted. Rushes played in multiple festivals, including the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand. The soundtrack is by ex Techtones guitarist Steve Roach. Director Nicholas followed this with another oddball romp: his feature debut User Friendly.
Since 1959 Cadbury Flake advertisements have been evoking the sensual pleasure of consuming the bar. The ads’ soft focus emphasis on young women enjoying “only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate” has also moved more febrile minds to make risqué associations with the chocolate that “tastes like chocolate never tasted before”. This 1983 edition, produced by Silverscreen, sees a winsome woman wander in a romantic rural landscape before showing “a very special way to eat chocolate.” Homage was paid to the campaign in Taika Waititi’s 2016 feature Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Need a good recipe for hot cross buns, or the perfect roasted crying leg of lamb? Jo Seagar is here to help. Recording from a house at Lake Taupō, Jo Seagar shares some of her crowd-pleasing Easter recipes. Along with the lamb and buns, Seagar shares a quick and easy eggs benedict, chocolate fudge torte and chocolate truffle Easter eggs. An ever popular cook, Seagar even has a portrait painted on an egg that a loyal viewer has sent in. Once the cooking is all taken care of, she finds time for a spot of trout fishing while workshopping some stand-up comedy.
In this late 60s commercial, actor Ray Henwood appeals to viewers help him eat every Moro Bar in New Zealand. Inspired by a British ad, it was an early entry in a series promoting the Cadbury chocolate bar. The series made Henwood well-known in the 70s as one of the first local figures to hawk a product on screen, directly to viewers (eg Michael Hill, Mike Pero, Suzanne Paul). Henwood focused on acting after his then-boss deigned that being a government scientist as well as 'The Moro Man' was "not a good look". He would win renewed fame on 80s sitcom Gliding On.
In this 1985 Colenso commercial, a Creme Egg is a guilty pleasure behind raised desk lids for two school kids. Courtesy of some smooth copywriting, the narrator lets on that the cherubic girl and devious boy are doomed by the “smooth shell of Cadbury dairy milk chocolate and the irresistible creamy flowing yolk that will ultimately give them away!” The Murray Grindlay composed chorus “don’t get caught" (with egg on your face) entered Kiwi pop culture. Variations of the commercial ran until 1996; in 2016 stuntwoman Zoe Bell later shared her fondness for the product on Instagram.
Don McGlashan's lyrics have often told stories. His observational talents are again on display in 2015 single 'Lucky Stars', from his third solo album of the same name. McGlashan captures a small moment in time: an everyday journey in West Auckland becomes an opportunity for reflection, and the conclusions he draws are simple and profound. Ian Hart's video is a diorama; McGlashan stars, but in two dimensional form — cut-out scenes play out against coloured backgrounds, like a children's storybook come to life.
Before he was a British MP Austin Mitchell spent time downunder, where he was a well known NZBC broadcaster in the 60s and published bestselling book The Half Gallon Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise, a satirical commentary on all things Kiwi. In the first part of this three part series, he returns south to clock the changes. He begins at Otago University, where he lectured in the 60s, and notes a new Pākehā view of their history. Mitchell then talks wine with actor Sam Neill in Central Otago, and en route to Christchurch meets some uniquely 'mainland' entrepreneurs.
John Wilkinson didn’t realise until after the end of World War ll that he’d broken his back when the plane he was piloting in North Africa was shot down. Captured and beaten up by Italian soldiers, interrogated by the Gestapo, John eventually ended up in the notorious Stalag Luft III prison camp in what is now Poland. He was involved in the Wooden Horse Escape, one of the most famous of the war. Later he would meet his future wife at the camp, a displaced person from Lithuania. Now 95, John’s memory of his wartime experiences remains undimmed.