Our Stars of Ballet, a short documentary from ballet teacher turned NFU director Kathleen O'Brien, tracks the careers of New Zealand ballet icons Rowena Jackson and Alexander Grant, who both achieved success as principal dancers for major ballet companies in England. The film follows their visit to Wellington with the Royal Ballet in 1959; Jackson picnics by the harbour with dancer husband Philip Chatfield, while Grant visits Mt Victoria. The film ends with Jackson performing her famed multiple fouttés en tournant, for which she held the world record in 1959.
This off-the-wall comedy of errors — from the Loose Enz series — sees hapless tour operator Graham (Ian Watkin) and his wide boy driver Ron (John Bach) leading a busload of international visitors (well) off the beaten trail. the teleplay neatly skewers clichéd promotional travelogue commentaries (with the music of Sibelius never far away) and takes broader shots at the tourists’ various cultural stereotypes. With Graham well-meaning but dim, and Ron too busy looking after number one, Graham’s mum (a formidable Yvonne Lawley) and enterprising local Iwi come into their own as hosts.
Hosted by Jason Gunn, this popular late 90s teen talent quest became a pop culture marker for young Kiwis of the era. In this 1999 grand final at Te Papa’s marae, judges King Kapisi and Stacey Daniels assess the year's finalists. They include 11-year-old Hayley Westenra performing ‘The Mists of Islay’, which Westenra would later record after finding global fame as a classical crossover singer. The international guest is another young prodigy: violinist Vanessa Mae. Future Sticky TV/C4 presenter Drew Neemia was one of the members of house troupe The Super Troopers.
Writer/director Hayden J Weal uses chronesthesia (aka mental time travel — the ability to think into the past and future) as a catalyst for romantic comedy, in his no-budget feature film debut. Weal stars as Daniel Duncombe, a young Wellington barista whose routine is disrupted by mysterious messages, dreams and strangers —plus a flurry of odd coincidences. Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison and Cohen Holloway have roles, as does Michelle Ny (Reservoir Hill). Chronesthesia debuted in the Wellington edition of the 2016 NZ Film Festival.
A rod and rally race is the pretext for this 1969 light comedy. Legendary angler ‘Maggots’ McClure lures “glamour boy” lawyer and fishing novice Applejoy (Peter Vere-Jones) into a contest to catch three trophy fish in three locations (Russell, Taupō, Waitaki) in the fastest time. The old dunga vs Alvis ‘Speed 20’, north vs south duel transfixes the nation; snags, shags and scenic diversion ensues. Directed by noted UK doco maker Derek Williams, the caper was made with NFU help and funded by BP. It showed with Gregory Peck western The Stalking Mood in NZ theatres.
Boy director Taika Waititi teams up with his Eagle vs Shark star Jemaine Clement to present this bloody comedy about the travails of a flat of vampires. Reality TV-style cameras tag the vamps as they struggle to get into Courtenay Place nightclubs, squabble over chores and face off werewolves. A roster of Kiwi comedic talent (including Jonathan Brugh and Rhys Darby) feature. After winning fangtastic reviews at America's Sundance and SXSW festivals, Shadows won a run of global sales, local success and four Moa awards, including Best Self-Funded Feature.
Host Richard Driver introduces this short Radio With Pictures segment on the “band that made Milwaukee famous”. For the Violent Femmes it’s a long way from Wisconsin to Wellington. RWP hands control of the camera to the band: after goofing around in the ivy in front of Victoria University’s Hunter Building, the Femmes are presented with their first gold record in a nearby graveyard (New Zealand is “obviously a country with a high level of taste”). The first Femmes break up occured the following year. The band's cover of T. Rex classic ‘Children of the Revolution’ plays on the soundtrack.
Flight of the Conchords star and onetime Black Seeds musician Bret McKenzie clearly digs Wellington. In this video for solo project The Video Kid, he goes early morning skateboarding through the capital city. The downbeat groove of the folk-electronica number is a perfect match for a glorious 'on a good day' dawn, as the sun rises over Mt Matthews and the crew cruise down Wellington's Alexandra Road and along Mt Victoria's town belt. Later in the golden light they claim a deserted golden mile (Lambton Quay) for the skaters.
Duggan - Sins of the Fathers is the second of two telefeatures starring a brooding, charismatic John Bach as a city detective drawn into a Marlborough Sounds murder mystery. Marion McLeod conceived the show, and Donna Malane and Ken Duncum scripted it. The turquoise waters of the Sounds (shot by Leon Narbey) make for the evocative setting where Duggan, drawn by the irresistible allure of explosions and an unsolved case, investigates the murder of a convicted rapist. Michele Amas plays pathologist Jennifer Collins.
Before The Gibson Group TV series Duggan there were two telefeatures: Duggan - Death in Paradise, and Duggan - Sins of the Father. Marion McLeod conceived the show; Donna Malane and Ken Duncum scripted it. New Zealand's answer to Inspector Morse finds John Bach, the troubled and brooding Detective Inspector Duggan, attempting to solve murders amid the tranquillity of the Marlborough Sounds. In this excerpt from the first of the two telefeatures, a reluctant Duggan is persuaded to investigate when police fish a body out of the water.