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SPADA 09: gone ahead

As with many conferences, there’s too much to do and take it all in. Here’s the quick(ish) run around some of the sessions that couldn’t be covered in depth, plus other snippets of information of interest.

The Film Archive’s (NZFA) Frank Stark ran an informative session on the NZFA’s work at SPADA. The news was that the NZFA is restricting its access to the archive for the summer, while it moves house to what’s currently a field in Plimmerton but – all things being equal – will shortly be a field with a climate-controlled shed in Plimmerton. If you had ‘get footage from NZFA’ on your to do list, bump it up. You’ve got until the end of the month to make arrangements with the Archive or you might well be out of luck until March.

Parts of the session could be taken as response to the recently-released report on the NZFA commissioned by New Zealand On Air (NZOA). Another report mentioned during the session was Initial Assessment and Digital Infrastructure Roadmap for the NZFA, which the Archive itself commissioned from Jim Lindner of New York-based Media Matters.

Also, the NZFA also released its annual report last week. Enough light reading to last a while. We’ll take a closer look at all three reports and try to give more considered coverage by the end of the week.

Gareth Wiley, Woody Allen’s producer on (amongst others) Vicky Cristina Barcelona shared snippets about why crews love Mr Allen: “He knows how to finish at 5.30. He likes to get home for tea.”

He also revealed the secret of his own success: “For my first film I re-mortgaged my flat. Despite its questionable quality, the film returned most of my money. From then on, I used other people’s money.”

Opinions of German Andreas Dresen’s session were divided, not unlike his homeland. Some people suggested the session didn’t really get going, while others found it inspirational. He did describe The Lives of Others as “bullshit – a well-made fairytale”, saying it had “no connection with the reality of East Germany.” Imagine that – film not being reality.

By contrast, Vincent Burke and panellists Rachel Jean, Bryan Bruce and Paul Oremland stayed very close to reality, debating the relative merits of and differences between drama documentary, docu-drama and dramatized documentary.

The conference had its back-slapping event on Friday night, but we’ve got a few awards of own to pass out.

The Biggest Loser was definitely the International Trends session, attendance at which was positively anorexic up against Matthew Weiner’s second appearance, which was bursting at the seams. Speaking of Mr W, he was a shoo-in for conference Idol, point that short balding men of a certain age, with a few mill in the bank, are still strangely attractive to women.

The winner of Survivor is always a hard one to pick, as late and unexpected events can leave favourites eating dust, but the tribe has spoken the name of Anthony Ginnane. The Who Wants to be a Millionaire? award goes, sadly, to the Film Commission for its support of Vintner’s Luck.

The What’s Really in Our Food? gong goes to fellow guests the Bahrain football team, who were spotted pushing things around their plates suspiciously in the breakfast room at conference venue the Intercontinental. We were later encouraged by seeing a number of them outside the hotel, smoking away. Recent medical research has obviously not made much of a splash in the Gulf.

Masterchef, or in this case Mistress, was Penelope Borland for doing the hard yards putting together the programme and the event. We know she’d say it was a team effort, so we’ll say it for her, and thank Sandy and Michael too. Good on ya, and we’ll look forward to next year’s.

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