Actor, writer and director Fiona Samuel explores the loss of virginity in her first documentary. Seven women — aged from 19 to 89 — talk frankly about their 'first time' and how it affected their lives. For some, it was a rite of passage for better or worse, but for others there have been life changing consequences. Expressive recreations provide texture for stories that are compelling but never voyeuristic. In a rare example of a conjugal screen one-two, Murray Keane, Samuel’s husband, explored the same topic with seven men for a companion piece in 2002.
Director Murray Keane was inspired to make this documentary after his wife Fiona Samuel focussed exclusively on women for her earlier doco about the loss of virginity and its effect on lives. The companion film features seven men aged from 20 to 80 talking candidly about their different experiences of 'the first time'. Keane illustrates these very personal stories with quirky, colourful visuals as his participants muse on an event that few were really prepared for and which was transcendent for some, confusing for others and a nightmare of abuse for one of them.
Author Maurice Shadbolt went before the cameras to play father to the main character, in this adaptation of his acclaimed coming of age novel. Teen Nick (Paul O’Shea) is estranged from his family, and blaming himself for his Māori mate's climbing death. He runs away to his straight talking grandfather (Derek Hardwick) — who takes him bush — and loses his virginity to Sally (a first film role for Rebecca Gibney). Produced by Pacific Films legend John O’Shea, the NZ-German co-production was directed by Rolf Hädrich (Stop Train 349). The film debuted in NZ on television.
Boy racer drama Ride with the Devil is a rare Kiwi television series to be built around an Asian character. In the second episode, Lin (Andy Wong) finds excitement and humiliation after moving from China to Auckland. He watches his new friend Kurt (Xavier Horan) in action at the race track. Things spin out of control during a party at Kurt's workshop — Lin is humiliated by his cousin after he slips off for some backseat fun with Pony (Anna Hutchison from Go Girls). But there is much worse to come, after a late night drag race goes badly wrong.
Presented by Jayne Kiely, this series catches up with couples from earlier reality series Weddings (1999), to see what married life has delivered. This episode revisits Barbara and Stu, who decided he wanted to cross-dress for the wedding; Christian couple Michael and Fiona, who believed in abstinence until marriage; and Chris and Jackie (whose mother was terminally ill). Affairs, death, the weight of reality TV stardom and nightclub ownership all provide challenges to true love. The original Weddings series (also presented by Kiely) followed couples on their journey to the altar.
Playwright Roger Hall visits Uganda in Africa for this Intrepid Journey. He finds the going tough at times, particularly some rough accommodation and worries about malaria, but delights that he got to see lions and gorillas in their natural habitat, and is moved by the efforts of the Ugandan people to triumph over their "hideous recent history". This excerpt sees Hall white water rafting on the Nile, and getting a memorable warning speech about one of the rapids by a guide. He "loses his Nile virginity" after getting tipped out, and ending up under the raft for a few scary seconds.
Fiona Samuel has found success as an actor, writer and director. Her first acting job was in long-running soap Close to Home, and she followed that with a range of roles. Samuel’s greatest passion, however, is for writing and directing. She was the creative force behind pioneering female-centric series The Marching Girls, and has written for Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons and Interrogation. Samuel also wrote and directed award-winning dramas Piece of My Heart, and Bliss: The Beginning of Katherine Mansfield.
Fiona Samuel, MNZM, has worked prolifically across so many fields that she defies labels. Aside from acting on stage and screen, she is a playwright (The Wedding Party), director (TV movies Bliss and Piece of My Heart), scriptwriter (Consent, Outrageous Fortune) and singer (musical revue Babes in the Mood).
William Grieve is a producer with more than two decades experience in documentaries, factual series, commercials and feature films. Grieve has worked extensively with filmmaker Bruce Morrison and entertainer Gary McCormick.
Margot Francis has extensive experience as an editor, both in New Zealand and the United States. Television highlights include Outrageous Fortune and Saturday Night Live. She also worked on Bette Midler TV movie The Mondo Beyondo Show and Billy T: Te Movie. She won an Emmy Award for a documentary on Broadway musical Sarafina: Words of Freedom! In 2012 she was nominated twice in the same category of the NZ Television Awards; she won for Katherine Mansfield biopic Bliss. Later she was nominated for archive series Decades in Colour. Francis is married to US-born producer Steve Sachs.