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RNZ Widescreen: a week of updates

This week at my new Radio New Zealand (sorry, RNZ) gig, we started posting some actual content.

First up we started our “Best of the web” feature, featuring links to interesting online articles about “what ‘cinematic’ means in relation to TV”, an essay about Spielberg and ‘fathers and sons’, and the origins of Del Toro’s Crimson Peak.

Then on Tuesday we posted our first video review: Cary Fukunaga’s new feature (made for Netflix), Beasts of No Nation.


It’s worth going to the actual page at RNZ because I add some extra links there but the video plays bigger here (at least until the RNZ redesign arrives).

On Wednesday, we learned of the death of critic Philip French and assembled links to some of the best articles about one of the greatest film critics ever.

On Friday, we posted our second video review: Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks.


Again, there are some links to extras on the page itself.

And this afternoon, I put up our “Best of the week” featuring a couple of articles about Daniel Craig as Bond, Andrew Todd on Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession, just in time for Halloween, and a fascinating article on how to get silent film frame rates right in the digital age.


Welcome to Widescreen!

After a few weeks of development, testing, angst and aggro, I can finally announce the new project I’ve been cooking up at Radio New Zealand. Here’s a short trailer video explaining what it’s all about.


As an added bonus, if you can name all the films and TV shows featured in the above clip, email the list to widescreen@radionz.co.nz and go into the draw to win a DVD prize pack featuring half a dozen of those included.

You can also contact us with suggestions and comments at the same address, or you can give us 140 character feedback at @WidescreenRNZ on Twitter.

Here’s the page at the RNZ site.

Rancho Notorious is included in the RNZ deal but still available here (of course). I’ll be posting all my other Widescreen content here too because, why not?



There are big changes afoot in the world of Rancho Notorious as Dan accepts an offer to go and work for Radio New Zealand. All will be explained in this episode.

Kailey and Dan also summarise lots of recent releases at the New Zealand cinema including Trainwreck, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Southpaw, Vacation, Last Cab to Darwin, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and many more.

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Change appears to be the only constant

As most of you probably know, back in May I decided that FishHead — Wellington’s best lifestyle magazine — and I had gone as far together as we were probably going to and I quit. There were no plans or other offers on the table but I had confidence that somehow the universe was going to provide. In my experience it usually does.

I was conscious that, despite the many pleasures of working on diverse stories about a city that I love, every minute I spent working on a fashion or recipe feature was time I couldn’t spend talking about movies and TV. I was feeling increasingly disconnected from the screen media and, even though Rancho Notorious was (and is) a whole bunch of fun to do, it was increasingly relegated to a spare time hobby rather than the mission that I imagined it could be.

Reviewing for Nine to Noon every fortnight is fun — and challenging broadcasting — but reviewing three films in 12 minutes can sometimes feel unsatisfying. I also really missed writing. I would read some of the stuff being produced by my contemporaries and feel left behind. There was an itch and no time for me to scratch it.

Sure enough, the universe came through.

In the same week that I announced I was leaving FishHead I got a call from Christian Penny, director of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, asking if I’d be keen on a short contract looking after their marketing and communications. That three months has been tremendously stimulating and I am learning heaps, so much so that when the offer came to stick around on a permanent basis I jumped at the chance. At some point I will write up my thoughts about what how my Toi Whakaari experience is growing me as a professional, and as a person, but it deserves a post of its own and will have to wait.

At the same time as Toi came calling, I was approached by Radio New Zealand to discuss ways we could work together to improve their online coverage of film and television. Those discussions were, shall we say, productive and today I signed my letter of offer to join the staff of RNZ on 14 September as Features Producer — Audio/Visual.

A complicated, exciting, busy future awaits. Half my time I’ll be managing communications for Toi Whakaari. The other half of my time I’ll be producing content for RNZ’s digital platform on the topics of film (theatrical, direct-to-video, new, old, whatever takes my fancy) and television (narrative TV rather than reality TV; boxed set reviews rather than media commentary). That content is going to take the form of audio, video, written features and a podcast which I hope is as close to your heart as it is to mine.

Yes, Rancho Notorious (or something very similar) is coming to RNZ — the naughty stepchild of Radio New Zealand screen coverage. With Kailey.

We’re not sure exactly how much of what we are going to try is actually going to work. I’ve been asked to innovate and the only way we can really do that is by trying stuff and seeing how audiences react.

There’s so much that I am looking forward to, not least working with At the Movies’ Simon Morris to grow the reach of RNZ’s film programming and try things online that there’s no room for in a broadcast schedule.

And after years of pushing Funerals & Snakes and Rancho Notorious (almost) singlehanded at the same time as working competing day jobs, I am really looking forward to working with the RNZ digital and community engagement teams to generate some attention for the material we will be producing. Oh, and using the power of RNZ to get some cool guests for Rancho and other features.

I have always wanted to work for Radio New Zealand. The week I arrived in Wellington in 1986 I cold-called someone at Broadcasting House asking about internships! Arriving at the organisation now, while there is so much change and so much potential, is a massive thrill and a huge opportunity.

Now I have to earn it.





Kailey and Dan are joined by former Sight & Sound scribe Tom Webb, now resident in Wellington, to discuss Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, Woody Allen’s Irrational Man and Tom’s picks for this year’s NZIFF.

Warning! This features the most inept plot summary of a blockbuster movie this — or any — year.

Right-click to download this episode!

[click to continue…]


RN 3/4: Views of the NZIFF Mountain


Kailey and Dan are joined from Auckland by film maker and appreciator Doug Dillaman to discuss the first week of the 2015 New Zealand International Film Festival. Dan also interviews The Duke of Burgundy writer/director Peter Strickland.

Right-click to download this episode!

[click to continue…]

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