‘Ngāti’,’Venus of the South Seas’ at Brisbane Festival

Press Release – New Zealand Film Archive

Films from the New Zealand Film Archive vaults are making the trip to Australia for the 2011 Brisbane International Film Festival; including Barry Barclay’s 1987 Ngāti, produced by John O’Shea, which holds claim as the first feature made by a filmmaker …
NOVEMBER 2 2011, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Zealand films Ngāti and Venus of the South Seas presented at the Brisbane International Film Festival

Films from the New Zealand Film Archive vaults are making the trip to Australia for the 2011 Brisbane International Film Festival; including Barry Barclay’s 1987 Ngāti, produced by John O’Shea, which holds claim as the first feature made by a filmmaker of Maori descent; and James Sullivan’s 1924 silent Venus of the South Seas. 2011 celebrates BIFF’s 20th anniversary, a festival which provides a focus for film culture in Queensland by showcasing the best and most interesting cinema from around the world. These iconic New Zealand Films will be presented by the NZ Film Archive’s Diane Pivac, Director of the Connect division, the Archive’s public programmes department, and editor of the celebrated book NZ Film: An Illustrated History, published earlier this year.

Produced by New Zealand film industry icon John O’Shea, founder of legendary indie production company, Pacific Films, written by Tama Poata and directed by Barry Barclay, Ngāti stands as an impeccably drawn account of life within a traditional Maori community struggling with the forces of economic progress. The story of a young medical school graduate, who in In 1948 returns from Australia to visit his hometown – a remote seaside village on the east coast of New Zealand, where Māori and Pakeha live side by side. As he finds himself drawn into the concerns and customs of the local community, he learns that the Māori ways may have more bearing on his own life than he ever expected.

Ngāti was Barclay’s first dramatic feature and the first feature to be written and directed by Māori. Screened as part of Cannes’ Critics Week, Ngāti also won a best film award at Taormina Film Festival in Italy. Variety described Ngāti as “Profound and resonant… A deceptively simple low-budget feature that releases the miraculous essence of community strength and joy.”

According to Lawrence Whareau, New Zealand Film Archive Kairangahau, “Ngāti is one of the most iconic and unique New Zealand films produced post World War II.” He adds that “This is a rare chance for an offshore audience to see this film as a collective viewing experience, and an opportunity for those of others cultures to connect with a unique New Zealand perspective and strong indigenous cinematic voice.”

Venus of the South Seas will also be showcased at BIFF. This 1924 New Zealand film stars champion Australian diver Annette Kellerman as a pearl diver living on a secluded South Seas island paradise. After her father’s death, a greedy ship captain conspires to steal the family pearling fleet, but a dashing stranger arrives to defend her cause. A story of girls and pearls, love and adventures, mermaids and wonders of the South Seas.

The New Zealand Film Archive are delighted to present these features as part of the BIFF 2011 20th anniversary programme and hope while they will have wide audience appeal, that they will especially reach the expatriate New Zealand community in Queensland.

New Zealand Film Archive Presentations at BIFF:

Venus of the South Seas
Sunday 6 November 2:00 PM, Palace Centro Cinema 1

Ngāti
Sunday 6 November 4:00 PM, Palace Centro Cinema 3
Sunday 13 November 12:00 PM, Palace Centro Cinema 2

Cinema at 39 James Street, Fortitude Valley. Ticketing details on www.biff.com.au
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