'women' Posts

Allison Webber: From South Africa to sexuality on TV…

Posted on 8 October 2013

Journalist turned media trainer Allison Webber began in television at a time when women were more likely to be making the tea than making programmes. After working alongside names like Brian Edwards and Ian Johnstone, she became part of a new generation of women producers and directors who changed the shape of what went on air, especially with her ground-breaking documentary series Expressions of Sexuality.

In this ScreenTalk interview, Webber talks about:

  • The excitement of working as a researcher on 90 minute live show Edwards on Saturday 
  • The show's "hugely creative" presenter Brian Edwards
  • Sneaking around apartheid-era South Africa arranging secret interviews with legends like Donald Woods
  • An unforgettable encounter with Steve Biko
  • How journalists find courage under pressure, but sometimes lack gratitude for opportunities given 
  • Working with masterful presenter Ian Johnstone, a man who would get just as excited interviewing a possum farmer as a president
  • Becoming a producer, at a time when women were starting to move up the ladder
  • Making ground-breaking series Expressions of Sexuality, and arranging special training so that those being interviewed were treated respectfully
  • How TVNZ, "scared and challenged by the content of the show", sat on it for more than 18 months before putting it on air
  • How women's rise into positions of power helped drive change in what played on screen

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence



women, steve biko, biko, apartheid, richard thomas, pamela meekings-stewart, donald woods, desmond tutu, ian johnstone, brian edwards, johnstones journey, seven days, south africa, producer, expressions of sexuality

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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.



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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