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Showing posts from June, 2012

Desiree Gezentsvey, Yael Gezenstvey & 'Nuclear Family' (podcast)

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When Her Film's Kyna Morgan visits Wellington next month, we're going to a very special opening night, for Desiree Gezentsvey's play Nuclear Family, 'a comedic drama set in green New Zealand on the eve of the Chernobyl disaster, following a colourful bunch of Venezuelan and Soviet Jewish immigrants as they are forced to question whether freedom and control over one’s destiny are only illusions'. Desiree, based in Wellington, wrote the play for her daughter Yael, who will play all twelve parts. Nuclear Family premiered at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, went on to London and to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has had excellent reviews. It also won Desiree the Best Stageplay Award (Script) at the 2011 Moondance International Film Festival Competition. And now it's coming home.

Cannes & Women Directors (3) - Zia Mandviwalla

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Four thousand five hundred short films were submitted to the Short Film Competition at Cannes this year. Ten were selected. Women wrote and directed three, and New Zealander Zia Mandviwalla’s Night Shift was one of these.
Zia was born in Mumbai. She's a Zoroastrian–a small religious and ethnic group who went to India to escape the Islamic invasion of Persia several hundred years ago–and came to New Zealand in 1996, at the age of 18, via Dubai. She went to university here, and then reached filmmaking following a scriptwriting course. Night Shift is Zia’s fourth short film, following Eating Sausage (2004), Clean Linen (2006) and Amadi (2010).

Zia’s represented New Zealand at the Berlinale Talent Campus and at the prestigious Accelerator program at the Melbourne International Film Festival. And in 2008, she spent four months in India working alongside Nandita Das on her directorial debut, the award-winning, multi-lingual feature film Firaaq. Zia has received many awards including Ne…

Cannes & Women Directors (2) – Destri Martino (podcast)

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Ever wondered what the Cannes Film Festival is like for the women directors who get there? Destri Martino, based in Los Angeles, was one of them this year, when her animation The Director screened at the American Pavilion. I love her UNGLAM CANNES blog, which she calls ‘A place to track my growing list of neuroses as I prepare to attend the 2012 Cannes Film Festival’ and where she’s still adding useful info from her experience.

Destri’s typical of many very hardworking and serious women filmmakers in the second decade of the 21st century. She’s highly educated (USC, UCLA, London School of Economics) and highly experienced—in commercial, music video and film production teams in a variety of roles, from p.a. to production manager. She’s been exposed to an array of directing styles and aesthetics from the likes of the late Phil Joanou, Mika Kaurismaki, Mike Nichols and Michael Bay and has also worked for the prolific John Wells Productions, makers of programmes like ER and West Wing.

De…

Side by Side: To Siberia, With Love

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It's a beautiful day here in Wellington, New Zealand. Yesterday I saw Madeline Olnek's Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same at the Out Takes Film Festival, before the launch of Lawrence Patchett's wonderfulI Got His Blood On Me at Unity Books. At lunch time, I'll be back at the Paramount to see Erin Greenwell's My Best Day. And then I'll spend the afternoon in the Teju Cole masterclass at the International Institute of Modern Letters (yep! *huge* privilege). As Jill Livestre said last week, in her podcast on Out Takes: 'We're everywhere and we go everywhere'.

Discrimination against women storytellers and against single mothers inspires most of my activism, and I tend to take my comfortable place on the LGBTI spectrum for granted. But this morning's emails brought a disturbing press release from Manny de Guerre at the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, currently in Novosibirsk. I acknowledge that I have become complacent, and am spurred to…