An almighty batch of homegrown documentaries have been announced for the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival. Let's get straight into it:
Costa Botes' (Forgotten Silver) latest, following dedicated conservationist Brian Ladoon as he strives to breed and preserve an endangered species: the Qimmiq, Canada's indigenous Eskimo dog.
The film which Chris Pryor and Miriam Smith shot while they lived at Jerusalem on the Whanganui River is first and foremost a rapt pictorial response to its beautiful setting through four seasons. Its recurrent subject is whether three Pākehā nuns, kaitiaki of the church and convent founded in the 1880s by Suzanne Aubert, are serving any useful social purpose there in 2011. We meet the sisters working the land, discussing scripture, making jam and preserves, and talking easily about their doubts and outsider status.
Mathurin Molgat takes us through the reality of NZ's exotic tree plantations, labelling issues with the current method of forest destruction and offering ideas in how to make that harvest more manageab
Musical artists Norman Meehan, Bill Manhire and Hannah Griffin are captured mid-process, as songs from their 2011 album Making Baby Float are rehearsed and then performed in front of an audience for the live recording.
Check out the title track from Making Baby Float.
Peter Young, one of the country's leading nature cameramen, heads a conservationist case against the relentless fishing in the Ross Sea, using an array of ravishing Antarctic footage.
In 1881 the children of Parihaka greeted the government invaders with white feathers of peace. 130 years later, the descendants look to explore the trail their ancestors took when transported south and imprisoned after the Taranaki land confiscations of the 1860s.
Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti is an intellectually gifted 16-year-old, given the opportunity to further his political studies in Yale. In a world away from the wider whānau, he encounters more daunting challenges and choices than have been thrown in his path before.
Follows Susan King, an Auckland-based artist who stopped talking in 1955 at the age of four. Her family journeys to expose her work to the art world, all 10,000+ pieces of it.
Paul Janman's lyrical documentary inducts us into the surprising world of Futa Helu and his 'Atenisi Institute, an unconventional Tongan institution that proudly stands apart from church and state, with a focus on the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers whom its founder valued above all.
Michael Heath follows up his earlier Edith Collier portrait to transport us to the Irish fishing village of Bunmahon where the New Zealand artist painted during the summers of 1914 and 1915.