TVNZ was reluctant to commission independent film production in the 70s but after pressure from John O’Shea, they offered us a documentary with the brief: ‘A survey of service clubs in New Zealand’. No staff director wanted to make the documentary, but I saw it as an opportunity.
Having just arrived back from London, I had experienced the new wave of television films being made for the BBC by directors such as Ken Russell and Ken Loach. These were short films rather than documentaries, and allowed the film director to indulge his own visual fantasies.
This was the first of my collaborations with Michael Heath.
I saw the film as more than just a catalogue of Wellington eccentrics, but rather a celebration of people who create any excuse to combat loneliness. The film won best television programme of the year — which really put TV One’s nose out of joint!