Ambergris. What is it? Most people know it derives from whales, but after that knowledge is a little murky.
A group of actors get together in a Grey Lynn bar, to read through a script concerned with Ambergris. The reading doesn’t exactly go to plan. Actors argue over semantics, politics and the direction the plot should take. Writer, producer and director become increasingly uncomfortable, as alcohol consumption fuels interaction. The reading comes to a premature close, when the manager re-opens the bar for business. Discussion over drinks continues. Resolutions are tenuous, but there’s an optimism (maybe deluded) …that the film will get made. Interspersed with group dynamics are clips from the film, as made by a director who is obviously not the sharpest tool in the film shelf . And who’s that? An Oscar winner on his hands and knees, making titles out of sand.
This is a humorous film that takes a subtle dig at the New Zealand “get up and make ‘em” film industry.
The film is written and directed by Peter Tait with a crew were headed by Jeff Smith, Grant La Hood, Chris Todd and Grant Major.
Following in the footsteps of Housebound's breakout success at the same event last year, two upcoming Kiwi genre films have received a rapturous response at SXSW2015, the film, music and interactive media festival held in Austin, Texas.
The world premiere of Jason Lei Howdon's gonzo metal horror comedy Deathgasm, winner of the Make My Horror Movie competition, went so well that extra screenings had to be organised.
Sci-fi action '80s throwback Turbo Kid, a New Zealand / Canada co-production written and directed by filmmaking collective RKSS, arrived with good buzz from its recent premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and went on to win SXSW's Audience Award.
Slow West was one of the highest profile films to premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival based on one factor alone: it stars Michael Fassbender. The western - from first-time feature director John Maclean, who previously worked on the shorts Man on a Motorcyle and Pitch Black Heist with the actor - won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section of the event and garnered mostly favorable reviews.
Today, distributor A24 has released the first trailer for the award-winner.
A collective of Auckland creatives are thrilled to announce a new partnership with esteemed UK and US theatrical heavy-hitters for the remounting of New Zealand-born show The Generation of Z in London, from April 2015.
David Van Horn, Simon London and Benjamin Farry, along with producers Beth Allen (Shortland Street’s Brooke Freeman) and Charlie McDermott (Basement Theatre) have partnered with Riverside Studios’ William Burdett Coutts, a veteran of British television and theatre; Andy Harries of Left Bank Pictures (The Queen, Wallander) and serial entrepreneur, author and investor Luke Johnson, to bring the show - now titled The Generation of Z: Apocalypse - to London.
The show has also partnered with Jean Doumanian Productions (The Book of Mormon, August: Osage County) towards the show’s presentation in New York, USA, in 2016.
The Generation of Z: Apocalypse is a theatre project pioneering a new form of high-octane, interactive storytelling. Set amongst the chaos of a zombie apocalypse, ‘GenZ’ throws the audience into their own live video game, where every “survivor” can directly influence the show’s narrative and outcome. The brainchild of Simon London and David Van Horn, its premiere (then titled Apocalypse Z) enjoyed a sell-out season in Auckland, April 2013 and another in Christchurch in April 2014.
Part of the NZ at Edinburgh season in August 2014, The Generation of Z: Edinburgh sold out its 48 shows and attracted glowing reviews from several national broadsheets. Extra performances were scheduled to meet the demand for tickets and several production houses approached the company, determined to secure the rights to the show.
William Burdett Coutts of Riverside Studios comments, “This does something special in terms of appealing to both a traditional and non-traditional theatre audience and in terms of generating interest in live work is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen.”
Opening in the trendy East London suburb of Whitechapel, The Generation of Z: Apocalypse is booked for a three-month season to the Northern summer, with a possible season extension.
"We could not be more thrilled to join the dynamic team of The Generation of Z: Apocalypse as it prepares to electrify London audiences as both a superb immersive live experience and adrenaline-fueled theatre", says Jean Doumanian.
The Generation of Z: Apocalypse has enjoyed collaborations with some of New Zealand’s foremost creatives and talent, and the New Zealand team wish to extend the utmost gratitude to everyone who has helped get the show this far.
“If this show goes where we think it can,” says producer McDermott, “It will be New Zealand’s most successful theatre export since The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
“An adrenaline-churning assault of a show” - The Scotsman
Four top casting directors revealed some of the secrets of their industry at a SXSW panel in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.
Christian Kaplan from Fox, Joseph Middleton from Paramount, Paul Weber from Weber Casting and Randi Hiller from Disney, whose job is to find the right actors for the right roles in the films they work on, discussed attempting to find new film stars on Vine; why having greater acting talent than a rival may only account for 7% of the reason an actor is cast in a particular role; and exactly how independent filmmakers can snare the stars that will ensure their film gets funded.
An independent filmmaker in the audience, who said that his first film had enjoyed some success, asked the panel whether he would be able to get the star he wanted in a second movie with a $650,000 to $1m budget.
Middleton said that for that money he was unlikely to get Brad Pitt. The director admitted that he had Marisa Tomei in mind, nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Wrestler.
“Marisa Tomei you can get,” declared Middleton. “I would pay her $150,000 from a $1m budget and a point or two from the back end” – in other words, 1% or 2% of the profits. “Everyone wants money up front,” he added.
by Jo Randerson
BASEMENT THEATRE, 31 March - 4 April
In the best New Zealand suburb, five of the best of friends each host five birthday parties, all celebrating what a wonderful thing it is to live lives like theirs. As they wallow in joyous disregard of the problems of others, or even each other, it becomes clear that there are some problems that cannot be solved with wine, presents and small talk.
Fold is a biting and witty satire of wealth and privilege, set in our own backyard, by award-winning New Zealand playwright Jo Randerson.
"I don't care if it's got AIDS or cancer or is starving to death in a gas chamber - I'm having a party".
featuring Alex Ellis, Ben Truman, Cliff Robinson, Emily Jackson and Niwa Whatuira
direction by Jessica Jeffries
In December last year, a group of people got together to meet and chat about growing the current Maori theatre community here in Auckland. The necessity for such a movement was acknowledged, and a hui was called by founding members of the initiative Jason Te Kare, Tainui Tukiwaho and Noa Campbell. During the hui, ideas about what the hui might look like were discussed and fleshed out, and the exciting potential of having our own whare/ theatre space with rehearsal studios was also voiced.
We are excited to announce that as of the 1st of March, the lease was signed on the building in 44a Portage road New Lynn, and we now have a new ‘Home for Maori theatre’. Ka rawe katoa! Our community and Whare ethos consists of a strong basis of tikanga maori and principle. Ahakoa to whakapapa toto, our community is for anyone or any styles of mahi, not only maori, any indivisuals or group wanting to be involved however will appreciate and align with the fundamental tikanga models such as Whanau, manaakitanga and Aroha, respect before suring and after the process of the work. These models will assist us in all decisions made for our whare.
A few dedicated whanau members are busy working away on various aspects of the space, to make sure the whare is all set up for the official opening on April 11 (a month yesterday). Te mutunga ke mai o te miharo! Stoked!
One of the many exciting initiatives we are running is a competition to name our beautiful new whare. At the moment we are affectionately referring to our space as ‘whare no name’ and are engaging you, our community, by encouraging you to send through any ideas of names you might have for the space so they can go into the pool of suggestions. Our kaumatua, Rangimoana Taylor, will be given the name offers and will choose the final ingoa for the Whare, which will be revealed on the opening day, Aprill 11.
So please, email your suggestions to our email account (below). Even if you havn’t been to any of the meetings yet, we are starting up a free, weekly reo class every Tuesday starting next week ( March 17) at 6.30 pm for all levels, so please feel free to come along and bring a plate. If you are interested in working with these models while you are creating and exploring your art form then get in touch and we can have a chat about housing your mahi at the whare!. You do NOT have to be maori to work here, you only have to respect the tikanga that the whare seeks to uphold, if you have curiosity around what that means feel free to get in touch with Tainui via the below email address also or come to one of the hui/ working bees that are coming up. (There is also a document an attached that explains a version of tikanga marae if you are interested)
If you would like to support our whare on any other level that would be much appreciated. If you have anything useful that a theatre might want, let us know if you would like to donate. Our funding team is busy typing away at the moment, but until the funding results are announced this whare only exists with the aroha and tautoko from its whanau and individuals investing in this kaupapa because of their belief in how much a whare like this could help us all.
Programming for ‘’whare no name” will begin next week, Monday 16th March, so if you have a show you would like to rehearse or perform over the next year get in touch. We will have 2 rehearsals spaces and a theatre with a 98 seat capacity available for hire. We are in the process of deciding how the pricing will work, but rest assured the price for hireage of both the rehearsal spaces & theatre will be very reasonable. While we are going through our process feel free to make contact if you would like an idea of where pricing and process is going.
We are so excited to have the opportunity to grow a theatre community that’s ethos is fostered in tikanga maori and protocol, a model that will harness, grow and nurture the work we create but more importantly nurture and create this community of artists.
Coming out of SXSW like a freight train of bloody, metal as f&%* entertainment, Jason Lei Howden gory extravaganza that is Deathgasm is a heavy metal splatterfest, guaranteed to please the most diehard horror fan. Led by memorable performances, out of this world effects and a soundtrack that refuses to NOT let you bang your head throughout the entire film, it's a standout film at this year's festival and destined to become like Shaun of the Dead or Dead Alive, a horro/comedy cult classic, one that will instantly be a genre fan favourite.
Following Brodie (Milo Cawthorne, Blood Punch), a young hesher that is forced to live with his conservative Christian aunt and uncle, following his mom being committed due to meth and giving blowjobs, Deathgasm does what very few films are able to do: hook you right from the beginning.
Using techniques developed during his thirteen year stint as the Artistic Director of Silo Theatre, Shane Bosher will ignite participants with the tools necessary to build fearless, visceral performance which is deeply inhabited.
Interrogate the complex algebra of bodily, gestural and verbal interaction.
Explore connection and contradiction.
Find a new way to meet yourself and others in performance and create authentic, multi-dimensional evocations of the human confusion.
MAY 1-3 in Auckland Venue to be confirmed
$300 Full Price
$260 Current Members of Actors Equity
Actors must be aged 18+
Places are strictly limited and by selection.
Please submit a current CV for consideration to email@example.com by March 30.
Shane Bosher is an award-winning director and specialist in contemporary theatre practice.
He regularly teaches acting technique for The Actors Program, UNITEC and Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. He has undertaken professional development at the Donmar Warehouse and Young Vic Company in London and the Public Theater in New York.
From 2001-2014, he was the Artistic Director of Silo Theatre, where he directed critically acclaimed productions of Angels in America, When the Rain Stops Falling, Tribes, The Brothers Size, That Face, Holding the Man, Speaking in Tongues and The Only Child, amongst many others.
Shane has developed strong working relationships with the majority of New Zealand's premier talent, regularly directing actors such as Danielle Cormack, Stephen Lovatt, Tandi Wright, Pua Magasiva, Theresa Healey, Peter Elliott, Sophie Henderson, Oliver Driver, Mia Blake, Craig Hall, Jarod Rawiri, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward-Lealand.
Currently based in Sydney, he has recently directed a sold-out season of C*ck for the Mardi Gras Festival. Shane has also just been appointed Artistic Director of Rock Surfers.