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Barry Barclay passes

By Cinema and NZ

200802191519.jpg I’ve just seen the news that filmmaker Barry Barclay has passed away. 63 is no sort of age really.

Ngati was one of the first NZ films I ever saw and it left a great impression on me.

He will be missed.

Dom-Post film reviewer Graeme Tuckett has almost completed a documentary for Maori TV on Barry’s life and work which I expect will also screen at the Festival this year.

Recommended Reading: Jane Campion on Janet Frame

By Asides, Cinema, Literature and NZ

A little late, but still recommended, Jane Campion remembers Janet Frame and making An Angel at My Table, in The Guardian:

Each room and even parts of rooms were dedicated to a different book in progress. Here and there she had hung curtains to divide up the rooms like they do in hospital wards to give the patients privacy. On the desk where she had last been working was a pair of earmuffs.

I can’t bear any sound,” she explained. “The double bricks haven’t worked. I think I will have to move.”

A Wireless Love Affair

By Personal and Wellington

Howard Hesseman is Johnny Fever in WKRP in CincinattiWhen I was sixteen or so, I was called in to the Careers’ Teacher’s office (next door to the woodwork room) for my one and only “careers” meeting. Mr Farquhar reminisced briefly about a couple of former pupils who were good enough to represent Essex at cricket and Arsenal at football, as if he had anything to do with either achievement.

He asked me what I wanted to do. “I want to be a disc jockey on the radio, sir,” I said. “You want what?” he replied. “I want to be a disc jockey on the radio. I already volunteer at the Newham General hospital radio station. And that was how Mike Read started. Lots of people who are on the radio started that way, sir.”

Slightly bemused, he said “Wouldn’t you be better off trying something a little more … realistic?” I told him I’d pretty well thought it all out and I knew how I could go about it. At the time I was devouring books on radio and even reading Billboard to try and find out more about the business I wanted to be in. “WKRP in Cincinatti” didn’t screen in England but if it did I would have been video-ing it every week and playing it back frame by frame.

Look, you seem like quite a bright young lad,” said Mr Farquhar. “Take these pamphlets away with you and have a look at them. They’re for a Management Trainee Scheme at London Transport and it obviously won’t suit everyone here but you could do a lot worse.” I said “thank you” and walked out and that was the extent of my vocational guidance at school.

Two years later I was in New Zealand, broadcasting several times a week from the Kelburn studios of Radio Active. Three years after that I was working for ZMFM on Victoria Street, pulling the midnight till dawn shift five nights a week. I was a professional DJ on the radio, just as I said I would be. But after that, radio and I parted company (commercial radio, repetitive promotions and mindless playlists will do that to you) and I was spending more of my time hanging out with actors, writers and directors rather than alone in a room with a pile of records.

I’ve always wanted to go back to it, and I’ve always believed that it was the one thing I could safely say I was really good at. But I wanted to do it on my terms, for fun. I got the chance tonight thanks to VBC who have offered a weekly Monday night slot to the Wellingtonista and my name popped up on the roster. If you were listening, I apologise for my only passing acquaintance with the English language (there was a lot going on) but I hope you enjoyed the music.

My attempt at recording the stream failed, which is a blessing in disguise, but I have added the playlist here so you know what you missed.

I’m hooked on radio again. I want to build a studio here in the home office and make radio for people and thanks to the Internet and podcasts (and inspired by the likes of Jesse Thorn at The Sound of Young America) it may actually be possible. In the meantime, I’ll crop up on the Wellingtonista show every now and then, slowly getting used to the slightly eccentric VBC technology, getting my fix.

Playlist after the jump.

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A few thoughts about the Oscar Noms

By Cinema and Wellington

Firstly big ups to Mike Hopkins of Wellington for another Sound Dept. nomination, this time for Transformers. Mike already has two Oscars for LOTR: The Two Towers and for King Kong.

When I said in my end of year round-up that 2007 had not been a good year for “great” films I had an inkling that there were a few goodies waiting to come down the pipe. Of the Best Picture contenders, only Atonement had been released in New Zealand at time of writing. All the others are due out during the next four weeks. Juno (a surprise Best Picture nom) sneaks this weekend; Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men open with it next week and There Will Be Blood is down for 14 Feb.

There are plenty of others coming in the next few weeks: In The Valley of Elah (Tommy Lee Jones, Best Actor); Gone Baby Gone (Amy Ryan, Best Supporting Actress); The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, Best Director) are all likely to be worth the wait.

Interestingly, there are a few films nominated that don’t have NZ release dates at present: The Savages (Laura Linney, Best Actress); Persepolis (Animated Feature); none of the documentaries (apart from Sicko) and none of the Foreign Language features.

At GreenCine Ronald Bergen summarises all the films that were in the frame for Foreign Language Feature and picks out those that were overlooked.

At Time, Richard Corliss notes that all of the Best Picture nominees were made for less than US$30m and four of the five were from the “Indie” subsidiaries of the majors (i.e. made independently and picked up at market or developed independently and funded by a major).

The full list of noms can be found at