Kiwi avant-garde artist and musician Phil Dadson is the subject of 80-minute documentary Sonics from Scratch. Dadson has conjured sounds and experimental films from all manner of objects and locales. The documentary charts his love affair with sound, including performances with From Scratch, who created percussive music from PVC pipes. Among those appearing are some of the group's rotating ensemble of members, including Don McGlashan and cinematographer Leon Narbey. Sonics from Scratch screened at the 2015 New Zealand International Film Festival.
In this early, Edinburgh-centric episode of arts show Frontseat, Flight of the Conchords return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a sellout third season — although they argue the new show is “a shambles”. Also present at the fest are an array of Kiwi technicians, performers, and arts programmers. Meanwhile in his Marlborough vineyard, globetrotting cinematographer Michael Seresin critiques Kiwi society and its ugly towns, and calls New Zealand a “lonely, soulless sort of nation”. Also on offer: Artist Phil Dadson in Antarctica, and award-winning dancer Ross McCormack.
This series sees Kiwi artists creating a new work while the cameras are rolling, in collaboration with a community that they have a personal connection with. Hosted by musician and artist Chris Knox, the series was produced by Gemma Gracewood and Neil Stichbury, from a concept by Luke Nola. Two seasons were produced for channels TVNZ 6 (2008) and TVNZ 7 (2009). Season one was nominated for Best Format/Reality Series at the 2008 Qantas Film and TV Awards. The artists included Lisa Reihana, Michel Tuffery, Phil Dadson, Karl Maughan and Seung Yul Oh.
Orlando Stewart has appeared in various mockumentary series (including Wayne Anderson) as a reporter, talent manager, and 'marketing director', handing out pizza flyers in Pakuranga. As he says, “it’s kind of fun blurring the lines between yourself and a character”. Stewart wrote and starred in oddball series Rural Drift, and acted in short film The Dump, which he also produced. Later he directed documentary Sonics from Scratch with Simon Ogston, which screened at the 2015 New Zealand Film Festival. The film explores the life and work of experimental artist Philip Dadson.
Geoff Steven's career spans documentary, experimental film and photography. In 1978, he directed acclaimed feature Skin Deep, the first major investment by the newly established NZ Film Commission. Steven followed it with Strata and a long run of documentaries, before time as a TV executive at both TV3 and TVNZ. He now heads the Our Place World Heritage Project.
Phil Dadson has made art and music out of videotape, PVC pipes and rocks. Having studied at Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts and earned a Masters of Arts with honours in Australia, Phil Dadson became known for performances that used improvised instruments like PVC pipes and old lampshades. He founded long-running group From Scratch in 1974. Dadson has also directed a great many experimental films, and recorded sound for documentaries. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005. Dadson is the subject of documentaries Sonics From Scratch and Let the Earth Hum.
Leon Narbey is one of New Zealand’s most prolific and lauded cinematographers. His talents have contributed to roughly 20 features, including Whale Rider, Desperate Remedies, The Price of Milk and No.2. Narbey's work as a director includes movies The Footstep Man and Illustrious Energy, an acclaimed drama about Chinese goldminers.
Journalist/writer Geoff Chapple won an NZ Film Award for Vincent Ward's acclaimed fantasy The Navigator. Chapple co-wrote the script, and also co-authored Ward's book Edge of the Earth. Chapple's other books include Rewi Alley of China, written after working with Alley on docos Gung Ho and The Humble Force. Chapple is an ex member of percussion ensemble From Scratch, and creator of national walking trail Te Araroa.
The films of Gregor Nicholas have won international attention and a host of awards. His work as a director crosses the gamut in style and subject: from acclaimed short film Avondale Dogs to All Black commercials for Adidas, from interracial love story feature Broken English, to experimental music-based short films for From Scratch.
Don McGlashan showed his screen talents early on a trio of shorts (including classic Walkshort) made with Harry Sinclair, his partner in multi-media group The Front Lawn. Since then he has composed music for TV, shorts, and features. His score for An Angel at My Table won acclaim. 2006 saw awards for No. 2, and hit track 'Bathe in the River'. There have also been TV awards for Katherine Mansfield tale Bliss and This is Not My Life.