Hard News by Russell Brown


Proud Wednesday

A while back hereabouts, there was general acclaim -- not least from the ladies -- for the idea of bringing back Gloss, the 80s TV drama that has lived on in the dreams of New Zealanders these past 18 years. Well, here it is.

Just the first episode, mind. And that took some doing, such is the nature of the rights enshrined in the original actors' contracts for the show. But please, enjoy.

Gloss has been brought you by NZ On Screen, the living archive of New Zealand television and film that I've been on the trust board of for nearly year. It's a non-profit, public good project funded by NZ On Air. It officially launches tomorrow, but the passwords are off this morning, so please, go look.

You might also enjoy:

All of Merata Mita's famous Springbok Tour documentary, Patu.

Three New Zealanders: Janet Frame, a 1975 documentary based on interviews with Janet Frame -- "rare" is too mild a word for this.

Review, Hone Tuwhare, from 1975.

The brave 1972 kitchen-sink drama Gone Up North for a While. Watch out for Paul Holmes as the slick willie.

Architect Athfield, one of a clutch of films directed by Sam Neill for the National Film Unit in the 1970s.

The whole of Velvet Dreams, Sima Urale's award-winning documentary about velvet paintings and the mythical maidens who inhabit them.

The Quiet Earth -- present here, like all the cinematic features, as a trailer only, but still intriguing.

And … oh go and find 'em yourself. The website is excellent -- but building it was really the easy part. Determining and then obtaining rights for screen works has been far the most challenging aspect of this project. Getting the Frame documentary was a matter of talking to her estate, and meeting their needs. And I was actually in the room when word came through that Merata Mita -- tracked down in Hawaii -- had faxed through permission for Patu. That was cool.

There are lots of people to thank here -- not least the independent producers who got what was happening and made their work available. But I think three people deserve particular mention this week. My fellow trustees Roger Horrocks and Rob Scholes made so much happen through their knowledge of the industry and vision for what NZ On Screen should be. And the general manager, Brenda Leeuwenberg, has done an amazing job of bring this complicated project to fruition.

It doesn't stop here, of course. There will be new content added on a weekly basis; both to the archive and to Screentalk, the industry interview section overseen by Clare O'Leary. All Screentalk content -- and all the other content produced by the project -- is published under a New Zealand Creative Commons licence. I'm proud about that too.


To be honest, when I first saw the Made From New Zealand stunt on Santa Monica beach last year -- the giant silver fern -- I thought it looked like a somewhat empty feel-good gesture. So I was pleased and impressed this week to see there was a plan behind it.

Made From New Zealand is essentially a networking site for New Zealand businesses, large and small. What I like is the very clear value proposition from the get-go: if you sign up and create yourself a profile, you'll take advantage of the search engine optimisation built into the platform. Short version: if you set up a profile on the site, you will do better in Google -- and it's free.

I like the people behind the project, and we're looking at Public Address joining as a network -- so that the businesses run by those of us who post here and you, our readers, can identify with each other. I'm keen for the PA community to manifest on other social platforms (hey, there's a Last.fm group already) and this serves that aim quite well. Stay tuned for that,


And one last item for Proud Wednesday: David Haywood. His Public Address Books project is a thing of wonder and joy. Get on over to his blog to read about it, and order your copy of his collected posts, My First Stabbing.

PS: Freeview owners have a lot to see on TVNZ 6 and 7 tonight. The new Top Shelf interview-meets-portraiture series, The Sitting<//i> screens at 8.30 tonight on TVNZ 6 with three in a row: Kevin Milne, Sima Urale and Iain Stables. Then at 9.30 on 7, there's one of the better Media7 programmes we've made this year, with John Ansell, Bob Harvey and Jennifer Lees-Marshment. And if you're a real glutton for punishment, you can see Marty Welch interviewing and painting me in another episode of The Sitting at 10.20pm.

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