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Robin Laing: Producing our stories…

Posted on 6 November 2012

Gaylene Preston has called Robin Laing "an oasis of reason and practicality" in the chaos that is filmmaking. Laing began making feature films at a time when women producers were rare in New Zealand. Since then she has produced an eclectic mix of features, short films and arts documentaries, and often lent a hand to emerging filmmakers. In this ScreenTalk interview, the MBE-awarded producer talks about:

  • A movie-mad childhood
  • First meeting director Gaylene Preston, who persuaded Laing to try out producing
  • Being told to go get a man –  and also that women "are not an audience" – while getting debut feature Mr Wrong off the ground
  • Distributing Mr Wrong themselves, after sellout festival screenings somehow persuaded distributors and TV networks the film had no audience
  • Her interest in history and telling our stories
  • Behind-the-scenes stories of covert property-buying for comedy hit Ruby and Rata
  • Persuading MP Sonja Davies to let a man write her story on the acclaimed Bread and Roses
  • Paying tribute to treasured collaborator Graeme Tetley
  • Working with filmmakers Shirley Horrocks (Flip & Two Twisters) and Niki Caro (The Vintner's Luck)
  • Her interest in working with emerging filmmakers, including on an anthology series for television
  • How women's stories have become more acceptable in the market place
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



Producing, Interviews, bread and roses, ruby and rata, history, friendship, producers, women, filmmaking, Mr Wrong, Graeme Tetley, Sonja Davies, Niki Caro, The Vintner's Luck, feminism, herstory

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Paul Gittins - from doctor to director

Posted on 12 October 2011

Actor Paul Gittins is best known for his portrayal of Dr Michael McKenna, the original clinic director, on the long-running soap opera Shortland Street. He has also acted in a number of feature films, including Other Halves, The End of the Golden Weather, and The Whole of the Moon. Gittins’ love of history led to the creation of two popular docu-drama series Epitaph and Shipwreck, which he hosted and sometimes directed. In this ScreenTalk interview, Gittins talks about:

  • How a novice actor inspired him on the set of Other Halves
  • Learning lessons about life in Ian Mune’s The End of the Golden Weather
  • Initially struggling to adapt to the face-paced shooting schedule on Shortland Street
  • How Epitaph gave him a unique sense of New Zealand history
  • Learning how to research, write, and direct television by doing the show
  • Finding a solution to his seasickness while shooting Shipwreck
  • Loving the process of ‘getting into someone else’s head’ when acting
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.



history, Shortland St, presenter, NZ television, director, actor, television, shortland street

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