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Showing posts from May, 2011

Nearly There?

I like the way New Zealanders play with names. A couple of years ago, our young neighbour jumped down the bank to visit after a long absence. “Where've you been?” I asked. “L’AshVegas”, he said. Down in Ashburton for the summer, at the freezing works. In the middle of the wide Canterbury Plains, without a neon in sight. Where gambling used to be done for meat packs—maybe still is. On Screentalk, Temuera Morrison talks about going from Rotovegas—Rotorua's a little more like Las Vegas than Ashburton—to Hollywood. There's Sam Cruickshank's Horiwood's blog, ("Hollywood's 1st Entertainment & Celebrity News Website Published by a Maori New Zealander"). Search for Wellywood at NZOnScreen, and there are at least three interesting examples. Down the hill is the Wellywood Backpackers. And here I am, Wellywood Woman. So what do I think of the proposed Wellywood sign, on the hill above Wellington airport?
“Wellywood” is really useful shorthand for this blog. I…

Help an 'activist' today-- Questions please! (EP 3)

Limping my way towards questions that will help validate a market for films about women, I fell over the United States release of the comedy Bridesmaids. Written by Anne Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, directed by a guy, and produced by Judd Apatow. In an article in the Huffington Post, Jamie Denbo expressed concern about the consequences if Bridesmaids doesn’t do well, for the writers, directors and actors that she refers to as
…every creative, brilliant, funny woman in Hollywood [who] is (unfairly) being held hostage to a single film's opening weekend box office. Meaning no studio is likely to take any sort of chance on any new projects perceived to be ‘female driven comedy’ unless they have proof that it can perform. And perform well.I know that I’m now concentrating on films about women, and here I’ve strayed back into the territory of women writers and (maybe) directors. But I think that one of the issues about audiences for films about women is about the division between ‘Hollywood…

Help an 'activist' today-- Questions please! (EP 2)

Fixing pain, I’ve learned, is what every entrepreneuse aims to do. After measuring the pain through the market validation process. But when it comes to entertainment and the arts—as Luci Temple and Meg Torwl explained in their comments the other day—market validation doesn’t work in the same way. If it works at all. So what am I to do?
I have an intimate acquaintance with women filmmakers’ pain, so powerfully conveyed in today’s Lisa Gornick image. I also have an intimate acquaintance with the imaginative ways that they/we transcend the pain—we assert our right to tell stories, develop myriad problem-solving strategies, and forge creative alliances. But the reality is that it’s consistently harder for women than men to make and distribute their feature films, in every country except perhaps France, because of the entrenched industry preference for (often white) men’s projects. It’s especially hard if women want to tell stories about women. It’s old news that women storytellers—of every…

Mothers Day: New Zealand cinema makes history; & the NZFC breaks a record!

This is an historic weekend for New Zealand cinema. Three New Zealand feature films have opened in cinemas to great reviews. And as far as I know the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), our state funder, did not invest in the development or production of any of them, although I understand that it contributed to post-production costs for two. There’s Operation 8, directed by Abi King-Jones and Errol Wright:



There's  Hook Line & Sinker, directed by Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader:


And there's Stephen Kang’s Desert, which premiered at the Pusan International Film Festival last year:


(And Stephen Kang’s short Blue, also independently made, has been selected in Competition at Cannes, for La Semaine de la Critique).

Exciting times. But they’ve been coming for a while, and they reflect exciting times in global cinema. Feature films developed and produced outside the NZFC have well outnumbered those made with NZFC support for some years now, and it was inevitable that in time any…