Skip to main content

A Drama Queen Sings, Briefly

Lisa Gornick’s seduced me again-- When I saw this drawing, I thought There’s Me! Thin and Alone and Exposed and Worried about my Voice and my Song! There’s the outcome of This-Harshest-Winter-Ever at Our Place!

And then I laughed. Settle Down, Drama Queen! There are Freesias on the Kitchen Table! Put down your Tiny Violin! & Step Up!

Lisa's drawing’s inspired me to round up this week’s news about New Zealand’s women directors. They're pretty special.

First, Kathy Dudding. At the New Zealand Film Archive there’s a series of evenings commemorating her death a year ago and celebrating her life and work. Wednesday’s, which I missed, was called Bathe in The Light of the Pale Blue Moon. Still to come, this evening and tomorrow, screenings of Asylum Pieces, Kathy's final film, which I found very moving.

Still from Kathy Dudding's Asylum Pieces

Then, Gaylene Preston. Mary Wiles at Canterbury University, who published a lovely interview with Gaylene a while back, has organised a retrospective, originally for the Christchurch Art Gallery, closed because of the quakes. The retrospective will be at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand at Labour Weekend, 22-23 October. Some great films, a round table on the Sunday with Gaylene, Mary, Bruce Harding of the Ngai Tahu Research Centre at Canterbury, and Deborah Shepard—who’s written extensively on Gaylene, most recently in Her Life's Work (that's Gaylene at top left in the image below).


On and off over the years I’ve helped out with Gaylene’s archives and I’ve just finished a wee filmography and two paragraphs for the catalogue, connecting Gaylene to her place in the world among feminist filmmakers, thanks partly to Corinn Columpar and Sophie Mayer’s There She Goes Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond and its discussion of feminist auteures as 'nodes' or 'agents' who participate "in a poetics of exchange through cinematic labour of all kinds".


And then there’s director Rosemary Riddell and The Insatiable Moon, which has just won a top prize at Moondance, the Atlantis Award for feature films made outside the United States. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it got US distribution?


And wait, there’s more, courtesy of the New Zealand Writers Guild!

Writer/director Roseanne Liang’s film My Wedding and Other Secrets won the Audience Choice Award at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York last weekend and had this review. It was also shown to a sold out audience at the Feel Good Film Festival in LA. 
And Variety reviewed My Wedding at its international premiere at the Melbourne Film Festival!

Simone Horrocks (writer/director After the Waterfall) is in to China, where she has been invited to direct a feature length drama Unforgettable Love with a Chinese crew, and in the Chinese language. She believes this may be a first for New Zealand, and a unique opportunity for a non-Chinese director.

And, this weekend, writer/director Fiona Samuel's Bliss, on TVOne Sunday at 8.30pm, a telefeature about Katherine Mansfield. Fiona’s most recent television drama was Piece of My Heart, a telefeature that won Sunday Theatre’s highest ratings of the year when it screened in 2009. The Listener describes Bliss as having “an excellent script by writer and director Fiona Samuel, who allows her Mansfield to be witty, passionate and outspoken.”
It’s 1908, and Katie Beauchamp is bored out of her mind in New Zealand. She’s desperate to leave home and become a writer. Against her parents’ wishes she sails for London at the age of 19, with a small allowance and big dreams. The next year of her life will change everything. In one year, Katie Beauchamp becomes Katherine Mansfield, and out of first love, disgrace and heartbreak, she forges the stories that will begin her career as a writer.
Kate Elliott as Katherine Mansfield in Bliss

And, Zoe McIntosh has won another award for her short film, Day Trip. This time, it's for Best Short Subject, at the Montreal First People’s Festival 2011.



And, finally, a wee mystery. Who are Tamsyn Harker and Esther Venning? Am I the only person asking this question? They're New Zealanders–and Tamsyn is a WIFT member–who are regularly doing well in script competitions in the United States, most recently as semi-finals in Final Draft's Big Break, after being finalists in Moondance's feature script section with the same script, The Dark Light, last year. AND in the Top Ten with Olympian, another drama, in the AAA Screenwriting competition 2010-11. Anyone out there alert to Peter Jackson's advice to find, train and support creative individuals, tracking down Tamsyn and Esther to ask what, if anything, they need?


Interviews on Wellywoodwoman
Rosemary Riddell
Roseanne Liang and Angeline Loo (co-writer)
Simone Horrocks

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Saving Mr. Disney: A Lesbian Perspective By Carolyn Gage

To stay focused when I'm writing intensively, I go to the movies in the afternoons. It's a kind of meditation that includes the walk down the hill to the cinema and back up again afterwards. And a few weeks ago, I saw three women-directed movies in three days: Rama Burshtein's Fill The Void, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette's Inch'Allah and Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said. Maybe things have changed, I thought to myself, ever optimistic. But I also noticed that men wrote and directed Catching Fire, from a novel by a woman, about a young woman and produced by a woman. And then I read Vocativ's analysis of 2013's 50 top-grossing US releases. This shows that almost half were Bechdel Test-passing films and that they did better at the US box office than those that weren't. BUT except for Frozen, which Jennifer Lee co-directed (and wrote) men directed all 50. And then at the weekend, all three of the new releases reviewed in our local paper (with enthusiasm) told s…

Ally Acker's 'Reel Herstory'

I fell over Ally Acker’s work via this tweet. Not Ally’s tweet, you’ll notice, because she doesn’t engage with social media, which may be why I missed her before.


I was immediately curious about Ally's extraordinary magnum opus, Reel Women, the two-volume revised and expanded book and the 10 discs (see below) and the forthcoming Reel Herstory: The REAL Story of Reel Women. Introduced by Jodie Foster, Reel Herstory is a feature-length documentary that runs two and a half hours. It's in two parts. The first covers The Silent Era and the second Talkies Through Today (first ten minutes below).

Pause. Reflect. Cherish.

Chantal Akerman's Death
I tried to write about why I felt so deeply sad about Chantal Akerman's death, then read a post from poet Ana Božičević, who got it just right for me–
No one knows for sure why a woman takes her life but that Chantal A might have done so in part because her No Home Movie – about her mother Natalia an Auschwitz survivor, which was grueling to make – was booed...really breaks my heart this morning. I wonder always, who cares, as in provides care, for the women artists who go to deep dark uncommercial places? Which intimate understands the skill, of craft and emotion, necessary for the work that they do? I wrote in some napkin or tweet once 'they only love the Sylvias after they are dead'. Give care to the woman artist in your life even and especially when she does the hard depth work that challenges the mind and body, yours and hers. And if you are that woman, thank you today & every day. Thank you, Ana. And many thanks for letting me reprint …