|Saraswati Clere, Kate Clere McIntyre and Michael McIntyre|
The most joyful documentary I’ve ever seen...beautiful cinematography, which reveals women who are different ages, sizes, and nationalities, all sharing yoga...The film radiates such positive energy, you can’t help but be moved...Yogawoman features Academy Award nominee Annette Bening as narrator. Ever curious about New Zealand women filmmakers, I sent Kate some questions. And was delighted to be offered two double tickets and two DVDs for readers (see below)!
Q: You and Michael McIntyre founded Second Nature Films in 1997, ‘to celebrate the wonders of the natural environment and tell stories of people who are using their lives to make a difference’. What was your filmmaking background before then?
I left New Zealand in 1985 to study theatre in Australia and spent 12 years working as an actor and theatre director across Australia and the Pacific. When I met Michael, who had been working in the film industry for 15 years, we were both using the arts to highlight environmental and social issues. We joined forces and founded Second Nature Films. Our first documentary we co-directed What to do about Whales? filmed in 4 diverse communities across the world including Kaikoura in New Zealand. Since then we have created A Year on the Wing, Gaining Ground, A Hard Place and The Heart of Transformation. A Year on the Wing highlighted the flight of the Eastern Curlew and we began filming with the community of South Auckland living beside the wetlands up through to Russia.
Q: Why Yogawoman?
We were inspired to make Yogawoman, as we recognized that yoga had become a mainstream activity— a multi billion-dollar international industry with 85% of classes filled with women. BUT yoga itself had been originally designed for men and women were definitely not included. How had this happened? How had women reshaped this practice and changed the face of yoga forever? We wanted to tell the story of what women were doing with yoga across the globe to change lives.
Q: Do you practice yoga yourself?
Yes I have been practicing yoga for 25 years. When I first started it was mostly male teachers with few yoga classes being offered. The discipline and commitment was fantastic for me back then doing 1-2 hours every day. As I grew older, had kids, more responsibilities etc I really had to change my focus but I always have kept yoga as a mainstay in my life. It keeps me fit, flexible, intone with my body, my mind, helps make my busy multitasking life stay balanced!
|Kate with Emma Sibosado|
I think yoga is so popular amongst women because women pass on to friends what is working for us in our lives and therefore the buzz of yoga spreads. The senior women teachers who have gone before us have made an impact as they have experienced yoga throughout their own lives and reshaped it to fit women. We benefit enormously from their research and commitment. Now you can find yoga designed for women throughout their cyclic lives. Yoga is now being used in many diverse and mainstream institutions to bring about change.
Q: Was it easy to find funding?
We decided early on to fund and distribute Yogawoman ourselves. We felt that there was a huge interest in the global community for topics on health, spirituality and self-awareness so we decided to mortgage the house! We have been inspired from filmmakers before us that have distributed their films via social media and recognize that we don’t have to wait for distributors to screen our film. We can find our own audiences and reach out to far-flung corners of the globe through the internet. Having started the trend we now have distributers calling us, cinemas requesting to screen the film and have a cinema release across the USA underway for later in the year.
Q: Is Saraswati Clere related to you? And how did the co-directing work?
Saraswati is my sister and we both have a life long passion for yoga. We both left New Zealand in 1985 and she now lives in Berkeley, California. There, she owns two yoga studios that are both highly regarded in northern California. Saraswati first noticed the great stories from women who were becoming leaders in the yoga movement and really wanted to document what was happening through their work. Yogawoman was filmed in nine countries over 2 ½ years so it was a long journey in many ways and we all had to commit to different time zones and different tasks. It worked well to have someone based in the USA on the team.
Q: What’s the message of this film? Have there been surprises along the way that have made you change direction?
The overall message of the film is to inspire people to find peace and balance in their own lives, that yoga is a tool that you can use to help you in daily life. It can be shaped to fit your body, lifecycle, social situation and time. Through yoga, communities are being created that want to give back and make a difference in the lives around them. We decided early on in the film to have only women speaking which felt apt and now when you see the film you feel the radical power, as women really talk about their lives—warts and all. In mainstream media women are still so under- and mis- represented and we are very proud to have created this film that tells a real and moving account of how women are choosing to live their lives.
Q: Beyond the positive reviews, what have been common audience responses so far?
A really common response is how women are empowered by hearing other women’s stories. They feel part of a wider movement when they get on their mat. People are always saying they saw the film and now want to pass it on to their community and lots of groups have screened the film at their studios or community centers.
Q: The DVD of Yogawoman is available. Why take it into theatres as well?
There is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen and Michael shot Yogawoman for the big screen. It is a great experience to be in a full cinema with many yogis and friends from across your community. Perhaps this is the new way we are heading now as everyone gets to choose the way they watch their movies, whether they just choose to download it online, buy the DVD, see it at the movies or watch it on their phones. I love the way we can cater to everyone’s tastes.
Q: What’s your next film?
Our next film Captain Kirk follows the retirement of Sydney Swan’s (AFL) Captain and superstar Brett Kirk. Not only an elite athlete Brett is also a yogi, meditator, vegan and inspirational leader. The film follows Brett and his family around the world teaching AFL to diverse communities, bringing together all sorts of enthusiasts and culminating in the international football cup in Australia. A film about courage, sport and connecting.
|Kate Clere McIntyre|
Auckland Thursday 12th April at 7PM Academy Cinema 44 Lorne Street, Auckland Public Library behind the old St James
Wellington Sunday 15th April 7:30PM Roxy Cinema 5 Park Road, Miramar
Christchurch Tuesday 17th April at 6:30PM Hoyts Riccarton, Westfield Riccarton Rotherham Street, Riccarton
Dunedin Thursday 19th April 6PM Rialto Cinema 11 Moray Place, Dunedin
Advance tickets can be purchased online at Yogawoman.
Cash sales available at the door.
ALL TICKETS $20
Yogawoman is also available on DVD
Wellywoodwoman has two sets of double tickets to Yogawoman and two Yogawoman DVDs to give away. Just email wellywoodowman[at]gmail.com with 'Yogawoman' as the subject, with your choice of venue for the tickets and your address if you want a DVD.
13 April And one of the winners sent a photo of her unwrapped DVD— Many thanks to her!