Re: [-empyre-] speaking of film.. and global art industry

"once were warriors" is/was our biggest selling local movie - i guess it's been eclipsed by LOTR by now, altho LOTR is a bit different bcos of outside funding & stars - but i think warriors was the first time an nz movie beat mainstream imports at the box office. it also did well overseas - i was surprised to meet people in uruguay & argentina who had seen it on TV (renamed "the passion & the fury" in spanish ; ) it caused some controversy here, partly because the writer (of the original novel) is a bit of a stirrer, & also because many maori people felt that it was painting a bad picture of maori generally. but it reached out to a huge young audience who were seeing their first nz-made film, & showed that great films could be made in here, with our own stories. "heavenly creatures" was't as much of a mainstream hit, but it was still a significant film & very well received here.

of course "once were warriors" didn't come out of nowhere, we have a pretty good film tradition & have exported many directors (jane campion to australia, roger donaldson to hollywood) & actors, & lots have stayed as well. peter jackson has made a point of staying in wellington which has been really good for the local film industry. there are lots of other great nz films like "mr wrong" (dir gaylene preston), "goodbye pork pie (dir geoff murphy)", "smash palace" (dir roger donaldson), "vigil" (dir vincent ward), new release "in my father's den" (dir brad mcgann), etc ... see the nz film commission for more,

nz has been used as a film location for a long time. a number of big hollywood productions have been made here - recently "the last samurai" (tom cruise apparently loves taranaki ... ), "the lion, the witch & the wardrobe", parts of "sylvia", "vertical limit", & i forget what else, lots of hollywood action films made around central otago. & of course the tv series "xena" & "hercules" were filmed in nz. there are a few companies whose business is assisting overseas production companies to find locations & crew here (eg as well as having a good variety of scenery we're also cheap & there's not too many local folk to get in the way. it's been going on for some time now & i don't think it has had a negative effect on the local film industry - if anything, it's enabled film people to exist between local productions, & not have to go overseas to develop their careers.

h : )

speaking of  film - one of the first nz films i saw was  Lee Tamahori's
"once were warriors"  -a look at  a contemporary Maori family in urban New
Zealand, replete with domestic violence, amazing  intensity,  intimacy , and
hope.. . another  was "heavenly creatures" the true story about the two
white teenage girls who killed one of their mothers with a brick. .. both
great insightful movies.. how were they received locally ?

in fact, now i think about it your film industry has produced lots of quirky
and fabulous  movies...  but i guess "lord of the rings" is the thing which
has bought spectacular international attention.. and i assume will now mean
that us film companies  will want to shoot lots of stuff in nz using the
high quality  but relatively cheap labour and facilities, just  as they do
in Australia.

This i think has helped killed off the smaller great films from our
Australian film industry. i haven't seen much at all  emerge locally since
big budgets like matrix, Moulin rouge etc  stared being made here. (film
people please show me i am wrong!) .there have been lots of great short
shorts,  but relatively few  features.  so that stated goal of art
practices.. ie visibility and "making it on a world stage" which im sure we
all hear proudly proclaimed in dreary speeches at numerous launches, seems
rather counter productive as the result seem to be smothering  rather than

speaking as an Australian i think there is a very  great  advantage to being
a relatively small and peripherally positioned blended culture. i see this
in terms of freedom from either the weight of European, Indian or eastern
art history and philosophy, or the mainstream expectations of the US global
culture machine;  and in terms  of the innovation and creative solutions
which can arise in an off centred  space...   this freedom  humility and
perspective gained form not thinking one is the centre of  universal culture
makes for great art practices, in whatever form they manifest.



helen varley jamieson: creative catalyst

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