Wednesday, October 20, 2010

IDFA - boo-ya!

To anyone out there still reading us, you will have realised that we're getting a few fests - check out the giant list on our website - but we're delighted to add one more - IDFA. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is considered by many to be the top fest for documentary in the world and what makes it even more exciting is that we're screening in their new Green Screen Competition. If you're in Amsterdam in November come check it all out!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wellington Screening October 10

We're excited that There Once was an Island will screen at 8pm Sunday October 10 (this Sunday) at the Paramount in Wellington as part of the 350 Aotearoa Global Climate working Bee 'Film Night Finale'. You can find out more information on their website here, but the ticket price is $20 and this is a full event with music, stalls and fundraising for the island. The whole thing kicks off at 7.30pm.

For more information about the Global 350 movement try the 350 Aotearoa website This is an exciting event - we hope you can be part of it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Editing win at Qantas Film & TV Awards!

I'm so excited to be able to say that Prisca Bouchet and Briar won the Qantas Film and Television Award Craft award for Best Editing Documentary/Factual yesterday. I was so beside myself I (briefly) shed a few tears before getting it together. We were up against two highly respected and extremely experienced editors (Ken Sparks, and Cushla Dillon) so the win was a serious surprise and a huge thrill. It reflects significant respect for the craft skills we have honed on this project. For Prisca, as a fairly fresh editor, it is already opening doors to more work, and given that Briar also co-produced, directed and shot this film, the fact that she managed to also also get an award for editing is a testament to her uncompromising attitude to quality in everything she does.

Now - wish us luck for TONIGHT - we're up for Best Documentary at the Qantas F&TV Gala awards - I've got my fake tan and hollywood tape at the ready. I'll try and post some shots from the ceremony - stay tuned.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

There Once was an Island Premiere

Hi Guys,

Just an update, we are doing the New Zealand premiere of the film tomorrow (Sunday 18th July at 1.30pm Skycity Theatre). We are so excited, its going to be a blast. Sorry that we haven't been able to write more, but Lyn and I are super busy with promotion. We will be filming the event and plan to upload a short video on the blog. If you haven't bought tickets there are still some available - we would love to see you there. Thanks for your support.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Dialogues with Tomorrow Thursday!

I had some good intentions about writing a little update about all that's been happening behind the scenes, but events have caught up with me - as usual...

Thursday this week I will be speaking at the Dialogues with Tomorrow Series at the Downstage Theatre, Wellington. Briar will be there in spirit, or in other words via some pre-recorded pixels she's currently putting together.

Dialogues with Tomorrow is a series of talks that aims to examine the roles art and science can play in debates about the environment and other issues. We're going to be sharing the stage with Sean Weaver, a climate change scientist. The session will be moderated by Hamish Campbell.


Event: Dialogues with Tomorrow - ISLANDS
What: Lecture
Start Time: 20 May at 17:45
End Time: 19:00
Where: Downstage Theatre, Hannah Playhouse Building 12 Cambridge Terrace
Te Aro, Wellington
+64 4 801 6946
You can book online on their website - tickets are only $15 for an adult and cheaper for everyone else...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's late to announce this we know but Lyn will finally be doing an interview on TV3's morning show Sunrise at 8.50am tomorrow. Look out for it!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Screening at Big Sky

I’m sitting in Starbucks at the Seattle airport. First of all let me tell you this is the second time I have ever been in Starbucks. The only other time was in New Zealand when I had to meet a potential documentary subject, who only agreed to talk to me if we went there. This time I am in Starbucks because it is the only place I could find a power point for my laptop. Even though I still feel strange about being here, I have decided it is all part of the American experience, and Starbucks is part of this culture isn’t it? Well sorry for all this digression but I am just getting warmed up. You see, I am actually in Starbucks, at Seattle airport, writing this post, because I am on my way to Montana to screen our film at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. This is the film’s USA premiere. I am feeling nervous. It is a terrifying thought that I am releasing the film out into the world. I know Lyn has already been through this in Tahiti, but since I wasn’t there it doesn’t seem that real to me. This is my first experience of the film being screened in public and in a moment like this I feel a little sentimental just to think that I am coming to the end of a process. I can’t quite believe that we’ve been working on this film for four years. If you are new to this blog you can see that our earliest posts began in 2006, but we were working on it even before then.

Although I’ve never had a child, I reckon that making a film is like having a baby. You grow with your film, you change because of your film, and you can never get rid of your film. Once the edit is finished and you think that finally you might get some rest, there is a whole new set of tasks to complete; such as festival submissions, decisions on where to screen first, getting a distributor or sales agent, the marketing and designing of flyers and posters, DVD sales, press and interviews, and the list goes on. The film just continues to follow you about. It is like it has its own life and its life takes over yours rather than the other way round. There is the pregnancy stage in which you have an idea floating around in your head that over time starts to expand into something bigger and bigger until finally you give birth to it by shooting. Then there is the teething stage, when you start the editing and you don’t know what you’ve got yourself into and you want to give up. There is the maturing stage, which is like the fine cut of an edit. And then finally you have to release your baby into the world and let go of it (which can be rather painful if you are a perfectionist like me). Maybe this is what a parent feels like when their child reaches puberty? So can’t you see, its like having a baby, and now is my turn to release it to the world. The film will screen tomorrow. Please wish me luck! - Briar

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Interview on Sunrise on Wednesday Feb 17

For anyone who's interested, Lyn will be doing an interview on TV3's Sunrise programme this Wednesday (February 17) from 8.30am.

Tune in if you're having a late Breakfast...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Anyone following our twitter posts at the weekend will be aware that, despite a field of quality and high profile films screening at the FIFO festival in Tahiti, There Once was an Island took out the top prize. Simply amazing to get this validation after the journey to get the film completed.

Following the win we've had press in a variety of places including Tahiti newspapers and television (below), ABCs Pacific Beat, Radio New Zealand National and International, BFM and TV3s Nightline.

Woo - what a ride!!

Tahiti Press 1
Tahiti Press 2
Les Nouvelles
La Depeche 1
La Depeche 2

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Found in paradise!

Well – I (Lyn) have been in Tahiti a week and it seems like I arrived yesterday

I’m currently sitting in my hotel room with the sliding door to the balcony open, listening to the traffic on the motorway, the barking of dogs, the clucking of chickens and the tweeting of tropical birds in the trees below. Papeete is very much a product of its parts – French, Polynesian, some other cultures, in ways that I can’t pretend to understand, but the whole is somehow quite familiar. This might be in part because I’ve been here before (albeit nearly 20 years ago) but it’s also because Polynesia has its own flavour, elements in common with New Zealand and with Takuu. The chickens would be a big part of island life, but also the language, the tattoo traditions (to my eye the new Tahitian styles are most beautiful of any), the sea at the door. The sashimi is plentiful and mostly pretty good…not a New Zealand tradition per se but thanks to Ken’s Yakitori on K-Road, extremely reminiscence of home nevertheless.

The festival provides unparalleled hospitality to guests and filmmakers – Gallic grace meets Polynesian honour perhaps. We were initially taken to Moorea (a neighbouring island) for the day, went swimming with sharks and rays (not my favourite) and ate incredible poisson cru (tuna sashimi salad with lime juice marinade and coconut cream) on a small private island. The whole experience formed an initial time for filmmakers and press to bond and get to know each other in a really relaxed natural way and was a fantastic start to the week.

Every night we’ve been here, there have been cocktails – at the hotel, the president’s “office”, the High commissioners home and culminating last night in a sit-down dinner at the Hotel de Ville – the town hall. Of course I damaged my fancy shoes (borrowed from my sister) the second night and have been reduced to wearing sandals ever since, but Tahiti is a pretty relaxed kind of place so its ok. I’m just sad not to have them for the big prize-giving ceremony tonight. The attention the film has received has been such that I’m hopeful we might pick something up.

Generally speaking it’s been a big six days – TOWAI’s screening run is over now but the feedback from people on the selection panel and from the press has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve received interest from a European distributor as well as generous comments from other filmmakers and the audience reactions have been enthusiastic. I’ve been able to do more publicity than I anticipated and some of what has been done is getting picked up by other media outlets – which is just wonderful.

With representatives from ITVS, large productions companies in Australia and independent programmers, producers and directors from all over the Pacific region, FIFO is actually not a bad place to network, which is a bonus. The festival has just started a pitching forum this year and this looks set to help Pacific filmmakers develop their contacts and skills as well as offering anyone from further afield a chance to get some attention for their projects.

On balance FIFO has also run a very successful bilingual event with dialogue between French and English parts of the Pacific made possible by bilingual subtitling on all competition films, selective translation at events, the presence of bilingual press and FIFO organisers and the efforts of a surprisingly large number of New Zealand, American and Australian filmmakers with “un peu de franglais” stringing some sentences together when required. Given the physical distance and variation within the Pacific region, a coming together of many of the different parts in one place for a cultural event like this is rare and it’s great to experience a flow of information between the francophone and anglophone elements.

I leave tomorrow and I can hardly believe that the time has slipped away so fast. I haven’t seen nearly enough of the country and of course I want to come back – Tahiti is a perfect place to slip into island time and to think about all the best ways to about set the world to rights. It hasn’t been a holiday, but certainly a welcome change of pace.

For a link to an interview I did yesterday on ABC’s Pacific Beat and ran out of time to blog about go here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Press update and pics

Slight update - I (as in Lyn) will be doing a live interview tomorrow on Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, so if you're in the mood, feel free to listen in (I've got stage fright already).

In the meantime here are some snaps from last night's premiere, the cocktail party in the garden of the French Polynesian "Presidence" the palatial office of the President, and one of Papeete from the main harbour area which is very near the Maison de la Culture where the festival is running. The person in the foreground of the last shot is Joy-Marie Scott who is on the jury!

Coming to you from FIFO in Tahiti

Apologies to anyone who has been eagerly awaiting an update from the Pacific. I've been here at the FIFO festival in Tahiti for three days so far and its been pretty amazing. The festival staff look after everyone really well and the accommodation is great - although not without its foibles. The second day I moved to a room with working internet (my own being unfixable), only to be woken up in the middle of the night by the safe in the new room beeping, and having to move rooms again....I am the queen of small dramas.

Now to the matter at hand...we've had three screenings of the film so far, and it seems to have been well-received despite some technical difficulties. We had a full house this morning and very respectable audiences for the two evening screenings last night. The final screening is the jury screening on Friday (Saturday NZ time) at 8am but this is not as early as it sounds in Tahiti. I'm hopeful that the technical issues will be well resolved by then and that our audiences so far have been able to see past these to the heart of the story.

In the meantime I have been delighted to do interviews with ICA TV, RFO and the French ABC radio service. If you get French news in the Pacific, look out for these - you'll be able to hear me in translation. The press and publicity have been well-organised and the festival itself has a high profile in Tahiti so we've been fortunate to have this much attention to the story - long may it continue.

If you haven't visited our website recently you should head on over to and have a look at our updated effort. You can now make a donation to the island via paypal if you go to Any money will go direct to the Council of Elders on Takuu for projects they nominate.

More later.....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The big update!!!

Well - those of you still following the blog and wondering what has become of us will be delighted to hear that, as I write, the film is nearly finished and we have our world premiere at the FIFO festival in Tahiti on January 26. We're in competition in this festival which is really exciting. Lyn will be attending the premiere and prize-giving as Briar is now studying full-time at Stanford University and won't be able to get there.

Our US premiere is soon after on February 15th at the Big Sky Film Festival, an increasingly recognised event in Montana. There Once was an Island is also in competition there for "Best Feature" and Briar will be attending this as it's in her neck of the woods.

We will be twittering from FIFO onwards and will let you know all about the festival experience as it happens. Unfortunately we can't advise on New Zealand screenings yet but stay posted.