17 Feb 2019

Ainsley Gardiner

From Standing Room Only, 12:45 pm on 17 February 2019

Some 15 years after Merata Mita's plan for a movie based on the Patricia Grace novel Cousins languished, her dream's about to be realised. Briar-Grace Smith is writing a new script - based on the book rather than Merata's script, but she and producer Ainsley Gardiner are determined to honour the late film maker's vision. Merata's influence on Patricia Grace's family saga is two-fold. Briar and Ainsley were awarded the prestigious Merata Mita Fellowship at the Sundance Institute this year - selected from an international field of applicants. And the grants and mentorships that come with it are proving invaluable as they get ready to roll the cameras on Cousins later in the year. Ainsley Gardiner is one of our leading film-producers, best known for her work on Taika Waititi's films, but also The Breaker Upperers and She Shears last year. She's currently woirking on a film called Reunion starring Emmy award winning actress Julia Ormond and directed by Jake Mahaffy for Misconception Films. I spoke to Ainsley on her return from Sundance to her home in Whakatane. She says she remembers reading the novel Cousins when she was in her 20s: