Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pietra Brettkelly & 'Maori Boy Genius' (podcast)

Pietra Brettkelly
Pietra Brettkelly's feature documentary Maori Boy Genius will premiere today, in the Berlinale's Generation programme. Many congratulations to her! It's always exciting when a New Zealand film is accepted to a major film festival and in competition and this year there are two: the feature Two Little Boys opens in the same section tomorrow.  I invited Pietra to talk and was thrilled when she agreed.

Download podcast


I asked Pietra about her filmmaking start; being a producer as well as a director; the Binger Filmlab; working with Lars von Trier's editor Molly Stensgaard; Danish filmmakers who see themselves as 'storytellers', tend not to categorise films into 'documentaries' and 'features' and use whatever they need to tell a story; the challenges of working from New Zealand and of funding docos; her Indiegogo campaign and advice from Jennifer Fox of the legendary My Reincarnation; her distribution plans for Maori Boy Genius; philanthropy in New Zealand; and her experience of the screen industry as a completely equal opportunity sector.

The sound's better this time. Hope to have it (almost!) completely sussed for the next podcast in a fortnight. Thanks again to Wellington Access Radio and to Development Project supporters.

LINKS

Pietra's last film, the multi-award-winning The Art Star and The Sudanese Twins
Interview at Toronto, with some additional links
The Big Idea interview



Maori Boy Genius synopsis from the Berlinale catalogue:
Ngaa Rauuira is a chosen one. At an early age he was able to impress the elders with his intelligence and his affinity for his ancestors’ culture. Having been taken in and raised by his grandparents, who never learned the language of the Maori, no sooner does Ngaa Rauuira become a teenager than he decides to fight for the rights of New Zealand’s indigenous population. Single-mindedly yet instinctively, he sets about acquiring the necessary tools for his quest.This documentary follows its youthful protagonist to Yale where he is preparing to study politics, philosophy and law. Although he is still too young to become a parliamentarian, Ngaa Rauuira is already treated as a beacon of hope by his people who have every confidence that he will one day become New Zealand’s prime minister. Director Pietra Brettkelly demonstrates how closely her protagonist is embedded in his people’s ancient culture – a culture that is in turn informed by a deep-seated spiritual connection to nature. The viewer gains a sense of the power of this spirituality when Ngaa Rauuria performs the ritualistic Maori war dance known as ‘haka’.
Maori Boy Genius trailer



Pietra's website
Molly Stensgaard, a little video interview
Molly Stensgaard, a statement at the Binger Filmlab
Binger Filmlab

Jennifer Fox talking about Kickstarter funding: terrific clip!

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