Following a rapturous audience response at its Gala screening at the Sydney Film Festival earlier this month, Gaylene Preston’s latest feature, My Year with Helen, will premiere in New Zealand at Auckland’s iconic Civic Theatre on July 23 during the opening weekend of the NZ International Film Festival.
There will be a second screening at the Civic on Tuesday 25 July at 11 am, followed by Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Nelson NZIFF screenings. Director/producer Gaylene Preston (War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us, Home By Christmas) will travel with the film for post-screening Q&A sessions with audiences in each centre.
An observational documentary, My Year with Helen travels alongside former Prime Minister Helen Clark campaigning to become the first woman UN Secretary-General while continuing her work as the highest ranking female at the UN, leading the UN Development Group and managing to stay in daily contact with her 94-year-old father back in New Zealand.
Preston’s cameras explore the cracks between the diplomats, the embedded press and feminist activists as they push for change while caught up in a power process as secretive and patriarchal as the selection of the Pope.
Clark says: “The film conveys how tough it is to break the remaining glass ceilings. May it motivate future generations of women to keep at it!”
Preston: “The film asks the question – what will it take for women to become global leaders.”
Steve Newall of flicks.co.nz awarded My Year with Helen 4 stars, describing it as “moving, revealing”
And: “What a difference losing makes. Helen Clark’s well-documented, ultimately unsuccessful, bid to become United Nations’ Secretary-General may have dented personal dreams, as well as Kiwi aspirations throughout diplomatic, political, and public spheres – but boy has it set Gaylene Preston’s film up to be more than just a victory lap.”
Bill Gosden, NZ International Film Festival: “Clark is dignified and resilient in the face of loss. She can always congratulate herself on having had Preston on hand to mine her disappointing experience and discover in it the fuel for future fire.”
My Year with Helen was funded by NZ Film Commission, NZ On Air and private investors. Producer/director Gaylene Preston, co-producer Catherine Madigan, executive producer Alexander Behse, associate producer Tim Riley, editor Paul Sutorius, composer Jan Preston, cinematography by Sam Russell, Colin Sonner, Gaylene Preston. Australia & New Zealand distribution: Transmission.
Image: Helen Clark & Gaylene Preston.
Photo by Helen Klisser-During