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12.16  Film Writers compete to get on a Black List!

Shuchi Kothari

Shuchi Kothari Photo: supplied

Taratoa Stappard

Taratoa Stappard Photo: supplied


The movie business, famously, is a lottery.  Quality alone has never been a guarantee a film would get the green light.

Hence Hollywood's famous Black List - drawing movie producers' attention to the many amazing screenplays that for one reason or another weren't getting made.

Since the annual publishing of Black Lists began in 2005, over 400 scripts got turned into movies, including Oscar winners like Jojo Rabbit, Slumdog Milljonaire and The King's speech.

Now Black List members are being matched up with six Kiwi screenwriters, to improve the chances of their scripts finding a home with feature filmmakers.

Just six artists were selected from almost 180 scripts by the New Zealand Film Commission for the Black List New Zealand Project (BLNZP). 

As well as working with mentors, the six screenwriters will take part in a professional development workshop, and receive up to $25,000 each to finish the next draft of their scripts.

Lynn Freeman speaks to two of them.

Taratoa Stappard's MĀRAMA is a horror story about a young Māori woman who's sent a ticket to North Yorkshire where she discovers a dreadful secret. 

Indian-born Shuchi Kothari is a filmmaker and academic who's long fought for the rights of under-represented Asian film makers.  Her script NAVRATRI/NINE NIGHTS takes place during an Indian Festival where people are encouraged to dance with abandon.


12.33  Tawhai Rickard reinvents Māori superheroes

Two Māori superheroes - based on the Batman and Robin characters - are placed in different moments in Aotearoa's history in a new series of work by Tauranga-based visual artist Tawhai  Rickard of Ngati Porou.   

His exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery is called The Misadventures of Te Kuri

Tawhai features them in both paintings and sculptural works.  The paintings include the Batman figure Te Kuri,riding in a waka, or conversing and eating cucumber sandwiches with Lord George Grey 

For the sculptures he's repainted actual Batman and Robin figures from the 1960s and put them in scenes, including one with the pair being suspended upside down over a giant teapot!

Tawhai Rickard explains to Lynn Freeman how he came to combine American pop culture and Māoridom.

The misadventures of Te Kuri opens at Tauranga Art Gallery on the 22nd of May.

12.41  Dressed - what the well-dressed colonial was wearing

When specialist textile curators at New Zealand museums examine donated garments, often the most fascinating stories come from the signs of stains, repairs and repurposing that they discover.  

Many of these stories are shared in a new book by Te Papa's Senior Curator, New Zealand Culture and History, Claire Regnault.  She's brought them together in a book that examines Aotearoa's fashionable dress history, from 1840 to 1910.

There's been some real detective work by Claire to find out details of the garments' owners and makers from the often scant museum records. 

Lynn Freeman asked Claire about the time-consuming work that goes into investigating the history of these garments.

Dressed :Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910 is written by Claire Regnault and published by Te Papa Press.

1.07  At The Movies

Simon Morris reviews New Zealand documentary James and Isey, American civil rights drama Son of the South, and Covid-era romcom Locked Down.


1.31  Tiki Taane's family affair

Tiki Taane with Charlie and Karcia

Tiki Taane with Charlie and Karcia Photo: supplied

Charlie and Karcia Taane are just 12 and 9 respectively, but they are about to go on stage with their famous Dad, performer and superstar producer Tiki Taane.  That sounds pretty intimidating, but Tiki's tamariki are old pros.   They performed recently in front of a televised audience of billions at a recent All Blacks match.

However this is slightly different.  This time they go on stage with the backing of a full orchestra.

This event is called called Ōtautahi Proud, and it's also being filmed.  The three Taanes are looking forward to the gig with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, not only for the big band sound it offers but also because their whānau has a longtime connection with the orchestra.

Lynn Freeman asked Tiki how he would have felt about singing with an orchestra when he was Charlie's age.

Tiki, Karcia and Charlie Taane will be performing with other invited guest musician and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra at the Town Hall on the 21st of May.

1.48  Photographer Cody Ellingham captures the poetry of isolation

Moonlit shots of deserted country roads and derelict buildings, are among the images Wellington photographer Cody Ellingham is exhibiting at the upcoming  Auckland Festival of Photography. 

The theme this year is "Isolation" and Cody's evocative, late-night photographs often ask uncomfortable questions about issues like home ownership and belonging.

Cody Ellingham joins Lynn Freeman in the studio, and talks about the inspirations for his show - including the experience of returning home after six years in Japan.

New Zealand Nocturnes A Photo Series by Cody Ellingham is in this year's Auckland Festival of Photography.  It will open at the Viaduct Basin on the waterfront on the 28th of May alongside work by Cameron McLaren.


2.05  The Laugh Track - Ben Elton

Ben Elton

Ben Elton Photo: supplied

Ben Elton was right at the epicentre of one of British comedy's Big Bangs.

The Eighties TV shows The Young Ones - which Ben wrote - and Saturday live - which he wrote and presented - marked a real before-and-after "alternative comedy" moment, and just about all comics since owe an enormous debt to them and their stars - Rik Mayall, Ade Admondson, Harry Enfield, French and Saunders and the rest.

Well that's certainly the usual story, but taking time off his tour of New Zealand, it's interesting that Ben Elton's comedy choices on the Laugh Track include a lot of the comedy he allegedly put out of business.  Simon Morris talks to Ben about his choices - Morecambe and Wise, Monty Python, The Flight of the Conchords and Dad's Army.


2.26  Poet Siobhan Harvey is haunted by Ghosts

Siobhan Harvey

Siobhan Harvey Photo: supplied

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Photo: supplied

Migrants and the ghosts they bring with them from their old homes to their new one - that's the theme of the new poetry collection from Siobhan Harvey.

Ghosts is the Auckland writer, editor and AUT creative writing lecturer's eighth book.

These include Cloudboy that won the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award in 2014.

Siobhan is originally from the UK and often writes about the migrant experience.   Lynn Freeman talks with her about Ghosts, and Siobhan starts by reading the title poem.

Ghosts, a collection of poems by Siobhan Harvey is an Otago University Press publication.


2.41  Leanne Radojkovich's short stories put people under pressure 

Leanne Radojkovich

Leanne Radojkovich Photo: Nicole Brannen

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Photo: supplied

The new short story collection by writer and librarian Leanne Radojkovich, hailman, includes some cautionary tales for people facing moral dilemmas.

There are ten stories about people under pressure, where they have to decide either to face uncomfortable truths, or to bolt.

It's a follow-up to her debut short story collection First fox, that came out in 2017.

Leanne talks with Lynn Freeman about the stories in hailman, published by The Emma Press. 




2.51  Michael Bush wins Best Children's Song 2021 

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Photo: supplied

Michal Bush's 'catchy songs with a message' for children have found a national and international fanbase over the past 9 years.

And this afternoon the Christchurch based musician and author has picked up the award for  Best Children's Song for her track called "Brave".

Previous winners include Anika Moa, Levity Beet and Craig Smith of Wonky Donkey fame.

She was a double nominee this year, having also been in the running for Best Children's Music Artist for her  album 'Can You Make Music'.

Lynn Freeman talks with Micha moments after she heard about her award win for "Brave", which she made with Andrew and Victoria Knopp.

3.05  Drama - U.Me: The Musical (BBC)


From the BBC Worldservice, U.Me: The Musical had its world premiere two days ago in the UK. 

Narrated by Stephen Fry, U.Me is set during the pandemic, and sees two young people connect over two different time zones, on opposite sides of the world. 

Sung by Anoushka Lucas and Martin Sarreal, composed by Theo Jamieson and performed by the BBC Philharmonic, this musical had its world premier this week on the BBC.

An international love story staged for radio, U.Me: The Musical tells the story of two young people on opposite sides of the world who meet online and make a true connection during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Having moved to London to start a new job just as everything in her world stops, Rose (Anoushka Lucas) meets Ryo (Martin Sarreal) across a crowded video conference at work. He's a Japanese-American living in Kyoto experiencing a quarter-life crisis and is starting out again.

Alone and together during the lockdowns, they make sense of it all between them and find hope and joy amidst everything.