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Leanne Pooley on making docos and Untouchable Girls Leanne Pooley on making docos and Untouchable Girls

Leanne Pooley on making docos and Untouchable Girls

Interviews - 2009

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Documentary filmmaker Leanne Pooley’s award-winning films have examined some of the most potent issues of New Zealand’s recent history from euthanasia (The Promise, about euthanasia advocate Lesley Martin), to sport and politics (Try Revolution, about the effect of protests against the 1981 Springbok Tour in South Africa), to controversial murders (Relative Guilt, about the effect of the David Tamihere trial on his family). She has sensitively paid tribute to some of our most potent, but complicated, artists, dancer Douglas Wright (Haunting Douglas) and conceptual artist Billy Apple (Being Billy Apple); and she has profiled the first Buddhist High Lama incarnated in the Southern Hemisphere, in Kiwi Buddha. Canadian-born Pooley talks to NZ On Screen about her career, from working for international broadcasters from London (BBC, Channel Four, ITV, Discovery Channel) to the challenges of, and motivations for, making docos in NZ: “my criteria: is it a great story and will it resonate with the world.” Pooley discusses The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, her documentary on Kiwi icons Lynda and Jools Topp. The doco looks at the yodeling country music comedic phenomenon and examines the subversion amongst the sing-alongs: “Every really important social change that’s happened in New Zealand over the last 30 years the twins have been a part of, and in some cases even provided a soundtrack for.” This interview was conducted by Clare O’Leary with camera and editing by Leo Guerchmann. It is available to embed and distribute on YouTube.