'ruby and rata' Posts

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.



bread and roses, ruby and rata, history, friendship, producers, women, filmmaking, feminism, herstory, producing, interviews, mr wrong, graeme tetley, sonja davies, niki caro, the vintner's luck

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Director Gaylene Preston on making NZ films

Posted on 20 October 2009

Director Gaylene Preston has been stretching New Zealand film in new directions since her early short films and her first feature, the genre and gender-bending Mr Wrong (1985). Long devoted to “communicating local stories to local audiences”, Preston features in Deborah Shepard’s recently-released book Her Life’s Work: Conversations with Five New Zealand Women (AUP), and has a new film Home by Christmas released in April 2010. In this ScreenTalk interview Preston talks about:

  • how she started in film thanks to a job as an art therapist in an English asylum, and the elopement of a friend
  • her longtime interest in “the stories that hold secrets, the things that you’re not allowed to talk about”
  • working with producer Robin Laing, and discovering that when they went to meetings people kept looking nervously toward the door
  • the challenges of pitching “comedy thriller ghost story” Mr Wrong
  • being won over by Graeme Tetley’s script for comedy of manners Ruby and Rata
  • making mini-series Bread and Roses, based on the life of the late activist/politician Sonja Davies
  • the low number of New Zealand women directing film, then and now
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence Credits: Direction and Interview – Ian Pryor.  Camera and Editing – Alex Backhouse



director, bread and roses, ruby and rata, woman director

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