Florian Habicht first won attention for 2003's Woodenhead, a fairytale about a rubbish dump worker and a princess. By then Habicht had already made his first feature-length documentary. Many more docos have followed: films that celebrate his love for people, and sometimes drift into fantasy. In this collection, watch as the idiosyncratic director meets fishermen, Kaikohe demolition derby drivers (both watchable in full), legends of Kiwi theatre and British pop, and beautiful women carrying slices of cake through New York. Ian Pryor writes here about the joys of Florian Habicht.
Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life follows the adventures of Nia, a 10 year-old girl living in the Northland seaside town of Tinopai. This fifth episode follows the play by play at cricket practice, where one of the team is day-dreaming, another bats like a superhero, and a third is humiliated by her mother, who also happens to be the coach. Talk about being made to feel small...Made by the team behind Auckland Daze, Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life was Aotearoa’s first web series for children.
In this fourth episode of Nia's Extra Ordinary Life, 10-year-old Nia (Shania Gilmour) spots some teasing going on and calls out the bully police, complete with helicopters.... Made by the team behind Auckland Daze, Nia’s Extra Ordinary Life was Aotearoa’s first web series for children. It also screened on Māori Television. Each tale of a girl living in a Northland seaside town used animation to help bring her imaginings to life. The series was co-written by actor turned producer Kerry Warkia.
In the first of this two-part documentary about Kiwis and cars, actor Rima Te Wiata sets off on a road tour of New Zealand. Starting in the South Island, Te Wiata learns about the first bus tours to Aoraki, which were handled by the Mount Cook Motor Company. Then she travels to Westport via the infamous Hawks Crag, and hears from locals about the difficulties and dangers of transit before the introduction of cars. A trip back up the country takes Te Wiata to Northland, where the locals suggest they may have been better off when the primary mode of transport was by boat.
In this 1992 Wild South documentary, pioneering underwater photographers Wade and Jan Doak investigate how fish have evolved over 400 million years on the Northland coast. They explore ocean dwellers off the Poor Knights Islands, where myriad nimble life forms thrive — from radar-like sensory systems and kaleidoscopic colouring, to the intricacies of jaw and fin shape. The Doaks conduct novel experiments to showcase them on camera in this Natural History New Zealand production. This episode was narrated by nature documentary filmmaker Peter Hayden.
Nia (Shania Gilmour) is an ordinary 10 year old girl living in the quiet Northland town of Tinopai. In this sixth episode, Nia’s dreams of winning the local art competition are interrupted when the local boys show up in a teasing mood, and do their best to ruin her day. It all makes Nia wonder why boys seem to act worse when they hang out in a group. Made by the team behind hit web series Auckland Daze, Nia's Extra Ordinary Life marked New Zealand’s first web series for children.
An elegiac profile of artist Eric Lee-Johnson, by Maurice Shadbolt, is the high point of this NFU magazine film. Johnson gave up a lucrative commercial career to pursue his vision of a New Zealand art moving beyond European tradition; and he is observed chronicling abandoned homesteads and churches, built in remote reaches of Northland's Hokianga harbour by early Pākehā settlers. There's light relief in coverage of a chimpanzees' tea party at Wellington Zoo, while a suitably breathless piece looks at a new industry manufacturing fibreglass boats.
Director Florian Habicht returns to his Northland home turf to chronicle the annual Snapper Classic Fishing Contest, in this full-length documentary. First prize is $50,000, but the participants chase the joy of the cast as much as the purse. The solitary figures on the epic sweep of Ninety Mile Beach provide poetic images, as Habicht teases out homespun philosophy while fishing for answers on love, the afterlife and whether fish have feelings. The soundtrack features 50s style instrumentals from Habicht regular Marc Chesterman, plus singalongs on the sand and at the local pub.
ITM Fishing Show host Matt Watson tried to convince his wife fishing was fun by making his own TV show. He succeeded, and has since featured on David Letterman’s Late Show jumping from a helicopter to nab a marlin, and helped everyone from Richie McCaw to Joseph Parker get their catch of the day. This episode is the opener to the first TVNZ run of the series. Watson's team head out to Northland’s Whangaroa Harbour and the Cavalli Islands, where they test lures and compare tackle with an Aussie guest. They cast for kahawai and kingfish, and spot an elusive marlin.
Eleven-year-old Utah gets dumped with his estranged dad for the day in this 2011 short film. Dad is the sole employee at a Northland rubbish dump. Utah is embarrassed by his Dad’s job and recycled gifts, but thanks to a trash tour and reversing lessons, gets to know him better. One of the first products of the NZ Film Commission’s Fresh Shorts scheme, the film won director Hamish Bennett a NZ Writers Guild award for Best Short Film Script. The Dump was the first short from teacher Bennett and actor/producer Orlando Stewart; they followed with 2014 award-winner Ross and Beth.