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Interview

Chris Knox: In conversation with Roger Shepherd, part two

Interview - Roger Shepherd. Direction - Clare O’Leary. Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann

Chris Knox's music career began with legendary punk band The Enemy, followed by Toy Love, then the Tall Dwarfs and his own solo work. He has appeared as a film reviewer on arts shows The Edge and Backch@t, and hosted series The New Artland. As a musician and music video director, Knox is known as a pioneer of lo-tech, DIY classics. For this special two part ScreenTalk interview, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd chatted with Knox about his life and career. In part one, Knox talked about his love of filmmaking, and early Enemy and Toy Love music videos.  In the second part of the ScreenTalk interview, Knox talks about: Knox moving from appearing in music videos to directing his own with the Tall Dwarfs' Nothing's Gonna Happen Making the video for the Tall Dwarfs' Turning Brown and Torn in Two Making the video for his solo classic Not Given Lightly Becoming a film reviewer on TV arts shows The Edge and Backch@t Moving into television presenting, with an episode of Intrepid Journeys, and the series The New Artland Knox's long-running cartoon strip Max Media

Screentalk chris knoxicone.jpg.540x405
Interview

Chris Knox: In conversation with Roger Shepherd, part one...

Interview - Roger Shepherd. Direction - Clare O’Leary. Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann

Chris Knox's music career began with legendary Dunedin punk band The Enemy, followed by post-punk heroes Toy Love, then the Tall Dwarfs and his own solo work. Knox has been a film reviewer on arts shows The Edge and Backch@t, and hosted the series The New Artland. As a singer-songwriter and music video director, he is known as a pioneer of lo-tech, DIY classics. For this special two-part ScreenTalk interview, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd chatted with Knox about his life and career. In part one, Knox talks about: His early love of film and how he first got into filmmaking The first footage of The Enemy, shot by cameraman Peter Janes Making the Toy Love video Squeeze Making the later Toy Love videos Rebel and Don't Ask Me Part two of this interview can be found here, where Knox talks about moving into making his own videos, being a film reviewer and TV presenter, and his comic strip Max Media.

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Collection

The Flying Nun Collection

Curated by Roger Shepherd

Record label Flying Nun is synonymous with Kiwi indie music, and with autonomous DIY, bottom-of-the-world creativity. This collection celebrates the label's ethos as manifested in the music videos. Selected by label founder Roger Shepherd: "A general style may have loosely evolved ... but it was simply due to limited budgets and correspondingly unlimited imaginations."

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Collection

The Chris Knox Collection

Curated by Roger Shepherd

Low-tech legend Chris Knox is an accomplished musician, cartoonist, critic, filmmaker, and jandal wearer. As this collection demonstrates, his genius takes flight in the DIY aesthetic of his music videos. As Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd says in his backgrounder, “this is a unique and important collection of work perfectly illustrating what is possible with the barest of resources and a free-wheeling imagination”. Russell Brown adds his view here. Alongside music videos, the collection also includes interviews with Knox and profiles of bands Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs.

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Dogstar

Short Film, 1986 (Full Length)

This doco looks at the relationship between dogs and shepherds in Kiwi sheep farming. It covers the history of dog and man, and reveals Dog Show-worthy secrets behind the dogs' training and personalities, from ‘heading dogs' who stare sheep (and geese!) "into submission" to the "loudmouth" ‘huntaways' who drive flocks on vast high country stations. This Swanndri-saturated doco is shot, scored and narrated in an old-fashioned Disney style (shepherds are "the very substance of romance"). As the title states, the canines are the stars. 

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The Frog, the Dog, and the Devil

Short Film, 1986 (Full Length)

Bob Stenhouse worked largely alone to visualise this luminously-animated ode to the "nation of drunkards" (as New Zealand was tagged in the House of Lords in 1838). A shepherd tricks a Mackenzie barman out of a bottle of ‘Hokonui Lightning', but too much pioneer spirit sees him haunted by the devil's daughter. In 1986 Frog was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short; later an animation festival in Annecy, France judged it one of the best animated films made that century. A short 'making of' clip at the end offers hints of the hard work behind the film's distinctive look. 

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The Snowline is Their Boundary

Short Film, 1955 (Full Length)

"For the farmers of the high country the snowline is their boundary". So begins the narration to this National Film Unit documentary. Beautifully shot by Brian Brake, the challenges of farming the vast stations on the rugged aprons of the Southern Alps are captured. The centrepiece is the great autumn muster where shepherds and dogs work 16,000 sheep down from "the tops" over 100,000 acres of peaks and glaciers, before the snow and winter blizzards arrive. "It's mutton every meal out here - we chase sheep every day and eat them every meal." 

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No Opportunity Wasted - Tough Guy (Episode)

Television, 2006 (Full Length Episode)

In this reality show Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race), ambushes contestants and bids them to overcome a challenge with limited time (three days) and resources. This episode ditches the self-help aspect and ups the machismo by having a freezing worker, southern shepherd, champion rower, trans-Atlantic race winner, Kiwi league legend, and ex-Mr New Zealand compete in old school elimination challenges for NZ's 'toughest man' title. Future Olympic champ Eric Murray is the young buck wrestling for the hardman mantle with wily Mark 'Horse' Bourneville.

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Heavenly Pop Hits - The Flying Nun Story

Television, 2002 (Full Length)

This documentary tells the story of the legendary Flying Nun music label up to its 21st birthday. The label became associated with the 'Dunedin Sound': a catch-all term for a sprawl of DIY, post-punk, warped, jangly guitar-pop. The Guardian: "[it's] as if being on the other side of the world meant the music was played upside down". Features interviews with founder Roger Shepherd and many key players, the spats and the glory. The label's influence on the US indie scene is noted, and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus covers The Verlaines' 'Death and the Maiden'. 

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Radio with Pictures - South Island Music

Television, 1984 (Full Length Episode)

RWP reporter/director Brent Hansen (later head of MTV Europe) visits the South Island: checking venues, talking to local luminaries, catching live bands and generally taking the pulse of the local music scene. Flying Nun is on the rise (and just starting to attract international attention) although none of the label's major acts are playing near the RWP cameras. Christchurch is in flux waiting on the next big pop act to emerge, while Dunedin is a hive of activity with a new generation of Flying Nun acts starting to come through. Then there's Crystal Zoom...