Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Te Rerenga Wairua

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  • binary.heart,

    One of the few films that I have carried with me since I saw it when I was young. I really enjoyed sharing it with a 7th form class as part of my teacher training. An amazing film. Thanks Joe Wiley. I never knew it was you. : )

    Since Nov 2007 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I remember that film incredibly well. Wow.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Thanks for the reference, but is the not-viewable-outside-NZ-due-to-copyright thing intentional this time? :(

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    That's an amazing little film - quite wonderful.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to izogi,

    Thanks for the reference, but is the not-viewable-outside-NZ-due-to-copyright thing intentional this time? :(

    Similarly. I joined the spirits departing the coast, but it seems I can't view the homeland. New Zealand on screen, but not on air.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    Similarly. I joined the spirits departing the coast, but it seems I can’t view the homeland. New Zealand on screen, but not on air.

    Damn, forgot to mention that. I presume it's a Film Commission stipulation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman,

    I'd not seen it before. Beautiful work.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I watched the film when it was shown on TV, and it's great to finally see it again. Good work, Joe.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Going up north for a while...
    As I recall this was also made as part of a creative works scheme - in which unemployed artists were given work while learning at the master's feet - and Joe taught them how to become compleat animators, various people had certain sections to do and certain techniques to use.
    They had a great set up in an old building in Federal street (I think) or some old part of Auckland round there...
    But Joe can, I'm sure, finesse the details...

    I see a Ken Sparks in the credits and I'm assuming it's 'our' Ken who did such fine work on When A City Falls more recently...

    ...and I'm pretty sure Joe's 'Blue Men' predate the Watchmen
    comic by a coupla years!

    and why Flying Nun haven't used the Point that thing sequence as a clip is beyond me (probably tied in ludicrous legal niceties) - seems like perfect cross fertilisation and piggy backing of culture to me...

    here's some really fresh Joe Wylie work
    just to prove he has a collage degree...
    (and fire in his belly, still!)
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I see a Ken Sparks in the credits and I’m assuming it’s ‘our’ Ken who did such fine work on When A City Falls more recently…

    It certainly is, hi Ken. The old building in Federal Street was The Schoolhouse, now subsumed by the casino. Film editors Pat Monaghan & Ken Sparks were right next door. Because animation’s made one frame at a time, ideally nothing should wind up on the proverbial cutting room floor. With that film it did, and the editorial splices were all to the good. Thanks Ken, though it was so long ago I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t recall the details.

    I’m gratified that people seem to like the film, especially after all this time. Because different artists were given stylistic freedom within a story, it’s kind of visually all over the place. Sometimes I sensed that people were being kind when they’d say “I’ve never seen that style animated before”.

    I’d better stop now, though there are people whose involvement I’d like to say more about. While I’m credited as director it certainly wasn’t a personal film, and left to my own devices I’d never have been cheeky or possibly crazy enough to attempt that story.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hmm. The embedded video isn't showing up on my iPad. iDevice users can go direct to:

    http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/te-rerenga-wairua-1984

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I’d better stop now

    Please don't! This is a good place to tell the story.

    No rush, mind. This obviously hasn't been the best of days.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to ,

    I’ve seen it theatrically, in (I think} 1984, at the Wintergarden. It went out as a short, when they still had such things, with Heart of the Stag. After a bit I forgot about all the cringe-inducing technical flaws magnified large, because the people around were whispering such nice things to one another, they obviously overwhelmingly liked it. It was a shock to see how much of the top and bottom of the frame had been cut off though.

    After the interval (they had those back then) I made my way to the projection room, where the projectionist was watching TV while the projector chugged away. He was delighted that someone showed an interest in his work, and happily racked the gate up and down in the projector to demonstrate how much adjustment was possible. Bruno Lawrence was driving a tractor across the screen at the time, hopefully the audience didn’t blame the sudden lurching on James Bartle’s camera work. He showed me his selection of brass projector gates, and picked out one with a better aspect ratio that he promised to use for future screenings.

    Very educational for me.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Sparks, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    A big hi back at you Joe – I wasn’t sure if you were the same Joe Wylie I used to know so it’s really nice to know you are. So sad to hear you've been whacked by some more quakes and I hope you're coping ok.
    I loved seeing the film again, especially the kaleidoscopic ending – a real blast from the past. As far as I recall your memory serves you correctly regarding the edit – rather than just compiling the various scenes and chopping out mistakes we did do some judicious pruning here and there. The Schoolhouse was a great place to work out of – I still remember your beautifully built rostrum camera and desks full of drawing boards. Sam Pillsbury (director of ‘The Scarecrow’ among many other things) was also there and Ian John (editor of ‘Sleeping Dogs’) was right next door – there was a great buzz in Federal St back then, totally opposite to the monument to greed that occupies that site now. Ah well – that’s what they call progress I suppose.
    I finally made my first visit to Cape Reinga last year on a mid-winter camping trip and was blown away by the power of that landscape – there was a real sensation for me of its place as a spiritual conduit and if I had been able to sprout some wings I reckon I would have taken off there and then. Of course that didn’t happen but it was a pleasant enough fantasy…

    Cox’s Creek • Since Apr 2011 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ken Sparks,

    Nice to hear from you Ken. I read back through your posts re. When A City Falls. I look forward to the DVD, as I know a few others do, because a theatrical viewing is not something that many of us are quite ready to roll with. It sounds like the kind of documentary where a real editorial hand is absolutely vital, and it's great to feel your passion is as strong as ever. Congratulations and thanks, the work of witnessing and recording is so vital in these times.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    That was magic.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Lea Barker,

    Too bad I can't watch it because of copyright restrictions. Sigh! Is that just temporary?

    Oakland, CA • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Lea:
    I certainly hope so, though the legalities of these things are beyond me. It would help if you were warned before you attempted to view the video, because it does come across as a bit of a slap in the face with a wet fish when the message appears in an otherwise blank screen.

    About the soundtrack: It was a massive piece of good fortune that Chris Knox was able to give it a go. Not only Chris but Doug Hood. Both Chris and Doug had recently worked wonders with a TEAC 4-track on the Tall Dwarfs’ Three Songs, the Dunedin Double Ep, and of course The Clean’s Boodle Boodle Boodle.

    I learned a lot about sound from Doug, like how miserable NZ sound effects libraries were back then. Doug went out with a portable recorder and grabbed everything from buses to cicadas. It was like having Phil Spector do your effects, without any of the pistol-packing loopiness.

    Most importantly, especially as it’s the part of the film where sound and vision magically combine to be more than the (cough) sum of the parts, it was Doug who suggested the unmixed instrumental of The Clean’s Point That Thing for the psychedelic finale. As was usual with animation in that analog era the soundtrack was completed up front, with the visuals built to fit. It was after seeing animation from the later part of the film that Doug made the suggestion. Pure inspiration, entirely Doug’s. There are a few empty links to his name on Wikipedia, but as yet no page.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I should add that Doug Hood didn't simply suggest Point That Thing. He offered it, because he had access to the separate tracks, and he knew it would be cool with The Clean. A hell of a generous thing to do from all involved.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Attachment

    Thanks - enjoyed Te Rerenga Wairua, indeed the ending a highlight, second time round see the spirit brothers returning to molecules, atoms the building blocks to be recycled as - buses?! and ... all sorts of things, ultimately the stars of the future/past.

    And the wairua/spirit merging with the water reflections around 6:50, a lovely image. Reminded me of this, captured from a few metres out my front door a week ago - the tui busy slurping flax nectar, oblivious to its orange forehead patch doing that birds and the bees stuff for the flax, while the spirits of tuis past pass by on the water-surface below it.

    All your threads are Capture and belong to us.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Joe, this is amazing, I've never seen anything like it. A lot of haunting images in there (no pun intended!)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Ward,

    Kia ora Te Rerenga Wairua fans, I'm editor for NZ On Screen. It's great to see such a rich korero take place around an awesome wee film. In reply to those of you who are off-island who are frustrated that you can't view it: we share your pain! Ideally everything on NZ On Screen would be freely available to view, everywhere, and as a 'public good' principle we push for this in licensing material for the project. In this case the NZ Film Commission are the sales agents for the film and asked that it be geo-blocked as a license condition. As a backgrounder: geo-blocking a handful of shorts onsite was a compromise we made this year in order to be able to screen some of the more recent short films that the NZFC represents (eg. so as not to threaten potential territorial sales agreements; or eg. so as not to risk the short's chances of festival selection if they're still doing the festival circuit - some festivals don't look kindly on films being available online - old-fashioned I know but that's the way it is). In particular the geo-blocking was an NZFC license condition to enable a (very popular) embedded weekly NZ short film series we did in partnership with them and Stuff.co.nz (where contemporary Kiwi shorts were watched in numbers unseen since since the days when they used to screen in front of features at the theatres -- but that's another story!). BUT I'm curious as to why an older film like Te Rerenga Wairua has been geo-blocked. We'll investigate and see if we can get the geo-blocking reviewed -- it sounds like Joe would be happy for this to be the case?! I'll keep you posted on how we get on ...
    Best,
    Paul Ward, editor, NZ On Screen

    ps. Joe we'd be very keen to collect some of the background info together on the page for the film (and update the credits appropriately) if you're cool with that?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    A good explanation, Paul (in the interests of full transparency, along with Russell I am a trustee of NZ On Screen)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Paul Ward,

    Thanks very much Paul, that'd be great, whatever I can do.
    BTW I remember forming a charitable trust back before we had Film Commission funding, and a PEP scheme paid the wages. The way things were done then, local bodies administered such schemes, and without the proper legal niceties the film would have ended up being owned by the Auckland City Council.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    About the soundtrack: It was a massive piece of good fortune that Chris Knox was able to give it a go. Not only Chris but Doug Hood. Both Chris and Doug had recently worked wonders with a TEAC 4-track on the Tall Dwarfs’ Three Songs, the Dunedin Double Ep, and of course The Clean’s Boodle Boodle Boodle ...

    ... It was after seeing animation from the later part of the film that Doug made the suggestion. Pure inspiration, entirely Doug’s. There are a few empty links to his name on Wikipedia, but as yet no page.

    Doug's role in those days is indeed a story that needs telling. He was the guy who could do it -- run the desk, make the recording, drive the van and, later, book the tours. And, of course, in the midst of any big job, Doug's "production meetings" were legendary ...

    I'll see if I can fill a few of those Wikipedia gaps over the summer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

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