Interview with Bill Gosden
Critic film reviewer Jane Ross caught up with Bill Gosden, Dunedin-born Director of the New Zealand International Film Festival, for a quick chat about his lifetime love of film and what to expect from this year’s NZIFF.
Critic: So from where I’m sitting I think you probably have one of the coolest jobs in the world. Does it feel like that?
Bill: Haha! It does and it doesn’t – some aspects of it are fairly gruelling but there are times when I have to pinch myself that anybody’s paying me to do what I do. No job’s perfect but mine’s a lot more fun than many jobs I know of.
C: How did you enter into your career in film?
B: After I graduated I had no clear idea about what I wanted to do but I thought it would be something to do with journalism, and I ended up applying for a job at the Wellington Film Society. That became a job at the Wellington Film Festival and I just stayed there. This is my 29th festival — I was 12 years old when I started.
C: So you’re here now to launch the 2012 NZIFF in Dunedin. How do you decide what goes into the programme?
B: We try to keep the programme as broad as possible, as it has to appeal to many different groups. I think the most obvious expression of that is always in the music programme. So this year you’ve got a documentary about Bob Marley, a Neil Young concert movie, the McGarrigle sisters tribute concert, and there’s the LCD Soundsystem movie. So extrapolate from that the number of different audiences we hope to cater to in any different realm.
C: Do you have any top recommendations from this year’s programme?
B: One film that I really love is called ¡Vivan las Antipodas! - Long Live the Antipodes. It’s a rhapsodic nature documentary. The filmmaker has matched four pairs of antipodal places in the world and cuts back and fourth between them. The visual quality of the film is like nothing you’ve ever seen on screen before.
C: What can you recommend from the Cannes Film Festival prize winners?
B: I’ve seen the Ken Loach film The Angels’ Share which is really funny, and Beasts of the Southern Wild which won the prize for the Best First Film and it also won the big prize at Sundance this year. It’s an extraordinary film, and very hard to describe. It’s like an explosion of energy from Louisiana. The central character of the film is a 6 year old girl — she’s riveting, and she’s kind of leading her people away from the floodwaters. There’s a very specific reference to global warming in this. It’s an amazing film.
C: Sounds great! I also really look forward to seeing what’s in the programme from our New Zealand filmmakers, especially the documentaries.
B: Well, you are in luck this year — there’s quite a few. Tatarakihi, which Gaylene Preston has produced, is filmed by Maori filmmaker Paora Joseph. It’s about kids from Parihaka who come on a hikoi down to Dunedin in the footsteps of their forebears who were all prisoners in the 1880s and were transported from Taranaki down to Dunedin where they built a lot of the infrastructure here. A lot of it was slave labour and they were imprisoned in caves down in Anderson’s Bay. Dunedin figures large in this film.
C: Wow, that’s definitely one to see!
The 36th Dunedin International Film Festival runs from 26 July — 19 August.
Visit nzff.co.nz to check out the programme. Also, keep an eye on Critic for upcoming sneak peaks, reviews and some great giveaways!
Photo Courtesy Rebecca McMillan