Interview: ‘Oracle Drive’ director Gabriel White

Oracle Drive is the experimental documentary debut from New Zealand filmmaker Gabriel White.

Auckland’s North Shore becomes the setting for an unusual outsider’s perspective on bland industrial landscapes. Everyday street names and signage take on new significance as they become the subject of Oracle Drive’s unseen narrator.

Oracle Drive is screening at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival. We asked White a few questions about the film.

FLICKS: Hello from Flicks. What have you been up to today?

WHITE: Teaching English, running around trying to get the sound mix for the film completed, looking after my two girls.

What makes Auckland’s North Shore an interesting – or uninteresting as the case may be – subject for a film?

I’m a Ponsonby boy so it’s a bit like forbidden fruit for me.

When did the inspiration for ‘Oracle Drive’ strike you?

While I was driving down the motorway. I saw a self-storage warehouse on a hilltop and thought of the Parthenon.

It’s a little tricky to put our finger on what exactly is going on in ‘Oracle Drive’ based on the info in the Film Festival guide. Is that the way you like it?

I’m still trying to put my own finger on it. It’s a stream of consciousness essay about the Shore, which may or may not be a literal place.

Could you share your strongest memory from filming?

Vertigo during the heli-shoot. Wading around an artificial pond in the middle of winter. Discovering Sexyland.

If you could make a film about anyone alive or dead, who would it be?

That is really tough. When I think about a film I think about landscape first. So I guess an explorer. Ihenga?

What was the last great film you saw?

Satyajit Ray’s Apu trilogy.

What are you thinking about doing next?

Making a film in the Manukau area.