Following its sold out premiere at the NZIFF, Sarah Grohnert’s observational documentary Ever The Land has begun its theatrical release.
Ever The Land is filmmaker Sarah Grohnert’s first feature. The idea was developed and executed in a close knit creative collaboration with producer Alexander Behse from Monsoon Pictures International, with Grohnert doing almost all the shooting herself.
Ever The Land is ‘direct cinema’, void of narration or interviews, although that wasn’t Grohnert’s original intention.
“What started out as a documentary about architecture, quickly turned into an immersive experience of real life that is deeply human, spontaneous and involving,” Grohnert explained. The film was made over a three year period which included the completion of the “living building” Te Uru Taumatua and the return of the Urewera land to Tuhoe. “The intention with the film is to provide an open invitation to discover and rediscover our own sense of connection with ourselves, each other and the land that sustains us.”
The Lumiere Reader review said, ”[Grohnert] powerfully conveys just how much a living entity the finished building is.”
“Tuhoe embody their land, and their land embodies them,” Grohnert said. “The film explores how this relationship is manifested in their building.
“The legal return of Te Urewera to Tuhoe as well as the moving apology spoken by the Ministry of Treaty Negotiations in the film echoes through every room and fibre of that building. It is a building of new beginnings. It is a celebration of land and people.”
The reviews from festival outings have been very positive, including a five-star review from Rip It Up (”a profound experience that deeply affected both my heart and mind”) and a four-star review from Flicks (“…elegant, and breath-haltingly profound … an experience that documented the birth of an important New Zealand monument while providing an organic look at Tūhoe life and philosophy (i.e. the movie was great).”
Ever The Land will have its international debut at the Vancouver International Film Festival in September with its US premiere in New York at the Margaret Mead festival at the end of October. The film is also a finalist in the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards, winners of which will be announced on 9 October.