Kiwi Filmmaker Behind ‘Apple Pie’ On Experimental Art, Touring Outside NZ, & Disney Films


Artist Sam Hamilton speculates on the relational aspects of our solar system’s major celestial bodies and their significance in the experimental New Zealand film Apple Pie. In preparation of the film’s screenings at the New Zealand International Film Festival, we posed five simple questions to give us an understanding of the film and the filmmaker.


Can you summarise your film in EXACTLY ten words?

Relationalist meditations,
political tapestries,
photonic sculptures,
atomic choreographies,
ceremonial homages.

How challenging is it to make a feature-length film on 16mm in 2016?

Specifically I guess the answer is that, comparatively speaking, it is more challenging than using other technologies.

But for me, one of the reasons I employ is because those challenges associated with working on film are also vital and essential pressures and limitations through which the creative work is chiselled. The metallurgic magnifying glass that’s used to smelter the material into being.

It’s not a perfect equation, but I feel there is likely a strong correlation between challenge and value that frames just about any good art work, film or otherwise.

If it’s too easy, perhaps its worth asking yourself some harder questions.

What came first – the chicken or the egg? I mean, the structure of your film, or having a number of subjects you wanted to shoot?

The structure came first. In fact I still don’t really know what this film’s about. Sorry, audience. Maybe they know the answer?

I think it’s unfortunate to think that the cinema space is a kind of passive one way deliverance of a message. I do not think that applies at all for this work. I would hope that it is more of a conversation than a complete package. In the same way that reading requires your mind to embody the words, this work requires your mind to become the otherwise absent central character in this plot.

What sort of life do you think a film like ‘Apple Pie’ has outside NZIFF – what are you hoping for?

Oscars, all of them.

I just want to show it to people. There will be a prerequisite conventional push to get it into film festivals around the world. Targeting some big ones, some small ones.

But personally I’m most interest in showing it more within a kind of DIY contemporary art context. Taking it on the road showing it in galleries, performance spaces, squats, basements, schools, fales, residencies, boats, caves, arts festivals… that kinda thing. To begin with, outside of legit festival submissions, I have designs for a US west coast tour as well as Japan.

I am also interested in showing it outside of the western Hemisphere as much as possible. In fact, I really wanted to premier it in Samoa, where a good amount of it was shot. Although that didn’t quite pan out, plans are still being designed to get it there at some point.

I’d also like to take it out of the NZ cities into smaller rural towns. It might be a radically challenging work compared to many, but you don’t have to live in a city to use your brain or your heart.

What was the last great film you experienced?

Zootopia.