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NZIFF 2011: Costa Botes at the Film Cafe

Following Daytime Tiger’s premiere at the NZFF, Costa Botes had an engaging natter with fellow documentarian Pietra Brettkelly at the Show Me Shorts-run Film Cafe in the Wintergarden on Sunday evening.

Botes covered some the same territory covered in our interview with him last week (LINK HERE). He also had Daytime Tiger subject Michael Morrissey in the audience, who also chipped with responses to a couple of questions. 

Some of the discussion touched on the issues of access and accountability, with Botes reaffirming what he’d said about being very clear that he didn’t want to make an exploitative film. 

Botes also praised Morrissey for his level of co-operation and acceptance of the film, also noting that because Michael had descended into a manic episode during the first of the two blocks of shooting he’d been an extremely difficult subject. Botes also said that if someone had made a film like that about him, he would never allow it to be screened! 

The discussion also touched on the reaction to the film of Michael’s wife Ann, who was apparently unhappy about some of her portrayal and what was said about her in the finished film. 

Botes defended his decisions on that score, saying that Ann had been prescriptive about what Botes could film of her, excluding him from showing her at, for example, her workplace. Botes felt that what he was allowed to shoot, rather than what he chose to use in the edit, created the impression of Ann the film portrays. 

As for others’ comments about her in the film, her unhappiness with those was more easily understood, although she wasn’t present at the session to state her own side of the argument. 

Botes also shared a clip of the opening of his almost-completed Last Dogs of Winter, a chilly tale of one man’s attempt in Manitoba, Canada to save the Canadian Eskimo Dog from extinction. 

Botes came across the story via another New Zealander, actor Caleb Ross, whom he’d directed several years ago on The Tribe. The film is now edited and will shortly complete sound. Like Daytime Tiger, it will initially head – hopefully – for the festival circuit with Botes having already submitted it overseas as a work in progress. 

Unlike Daytime Tiger, which was made without funding, The Last Dogs of Winter was made with assistance from the NZFC, whom Botes also praised for their recent increase in documentary feature funding.

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