It’s fifty years since Shelly Gentry disappeared
and 50’s one of those numbers that seem to mean something.
People celebrate fifty.
Maybe islands do too – so watch out!
In pre-European New Zealand, the tiny Island of Kaitangata was the scene of awful happenings.
After that, the Island seemed to have a life of its own.
It dreamt terrible dreams.
The local tribe knew it was best to leave it alone.
And so the Island slept again.
But now Kaitangata is twitching. It’s moving. It’s waking up!
The last time it moved was over fifty years ago.
It twitched and a girl disappeared without a trace, apparently swallowed up by the Island.
Now it’s moving again.
Only 13 year old Meredith can stop it. If she can discover what it wants before it’s too late.
Before it claims another victim.
Described as a “Māori Twilight Zone“, Mataku was a series of half-hour dramatic narratives steeped in Māori experience with the “unexplained”. Two South Pacific Pictures-produced series screened on TV3; a later series screened on TV One in 2005. Each episode was introduced by Temuera Morrison Rod Serling-style. The bi-lingual series was a strong international and domestic success; producer Carey Carter: “Our people are very spiritual … and here we are … turning it into stories so that the rest of the world can get a glimpse of that aspect of our culture.”
After the Great Chaos in the time of the Remaking a Travelling Fantasia are set on a Quest to save their home from ruin and their future from evil. They are joined in their quest by two boys from the future who tell them of the horrors that will happen should the Fantasia fail.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been casting for an era, an insanely long time because I’ve seen so many actors over the years. In actual fact it’s only been a few decades. 26 years to be exact. It’s interesting to cast your memory back over the years. The makers of the first movie I ever cast, TE RUA ,have now passed on having earned many accolades for their work. Barry Barclay earned recognition for his superb documentaries and dramas and John O’Shea was considered the Grandfather of the film industry in this country. I think I’m saying all this because I come across so many young film makers who are often unaware of the work that went on over the decades before they were even born.
I worked with people who were passionate about film making, telling stories and getting them right, telling stories from other than a purely Pakeha perspective and creating masterpieces on celluloid. What a grand statement! Well some of them have and I think I’ve had the privilege of working on many of them.
Yes I am biased and believe that most of the dramas I work on are brilliant scripts from the outset. Stories worthy of telling and just waiting for the perfect cast.
I like to think that I’ve contributed hugely to the creative process by suggesting some left of field or off the radar actors for key roles. I believe a Casting directors job is always more interesting if one can challenge the original idea of a Producer or Director.
Ah yes we all have stories that can never be told.
So we are all involved in this great effort of story telling. Even a small TV commercial is a tale of sorts. So I started casting as a choreographer for the Lotto commercials and I think a Roses chocolate TVC. I was working in theatre with actors so Production companies asked me to continue casting non dance roles and the rest is history. Well my history really. From years of Lotto and commercials for chocolates, fast food, endless cars, trucks, food, toothpaste, you name it I’ve cast it and it has been fun.
These days I cast more TV Dramas and Feature Films with the occasional commercial thrown in for good measure. Drama’s are a different kettle of fish altogether, and in a way, so much more rewarding for all involved. Most Drama Directors in this country have at some time made commercials so they have honed their craft through the creation of the very short story. So we’ve arrived at the place where we can enjoy a different set of challenges.
The actors feel more fortunate to be part of a drama family. A long story that develops over weeks rather than days.
I’ve had some great experiences and consider myself fortunate to be part of the production process. The part that brings the wonderful craft of acting to the script and screen. It’s a position where I see the best an actor can offer and at their most vulnerable time where they expect to be judged. I am given the task of ensuring that each actor is allowed to give his or her very best performance in their opportunity to breathe life into a character. I have to say it is always a privilege.