Eight of David Blyth’s features will play the NTSV in a retrospective beginning next Thursday (27 August).
In the mix is Blyth’s first title, which inspired a new addition to the R18 label from the censor’s office, Angel Mine, as is Blyth’s most recent feature, Ghost Bride. The full line-up of titles selected is Death Warmed Up (opening film), Ghost Bride, Grampire and Wound, plus two double bills, Angel Mine & Circadian Rhythms and Bound for Pleasure & Transfigured Nights.
Blyth will be in attendance to present his films at the NTSV screenings.Several of Blyth’s titles have had good runs on the international genre festival circuit, attracting plenty of praise, although few are seen here at home. Ghost Bride recently sold to China, becoming one of very few NZ features to get a VOD release there. The film has done well in Asia, receiving a theatrical release in the Philippines, as well as selling to Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan in addition to the USA and a number of Eurpoean territories.
Gost Bride will release here on DVD via Revolution shortly.
Away from the more adult nature of much of his body of work (Grampire being the obvious exception), Blyth has been running almost a second career in documentary work, focused on war and creating legacy material.
Blyth’s grandfather, a WWI veteran, was the subject of Our Oldest Soldier (available on NZOnScreen). Blyth’s French Connection explored the legacy of the relationships formed during WWII between NZ and France, a legacy tarnished for some time by the bombing of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in Auckland.
The war theme continues in an ongoing project Blyth is conducting with RSA museum curator Patricia Stroud to record the experiences of veterans from WWII, the Korean and Vietnam wars. So far he’s conducted 22 interviews with veterans, some of which are also on NZOnScreen under the Memories of Service collection. While the interviews might yield a few soundbites for a TV doco (which is part of the plan for the material), Blyth wants to make them available in their entirety.
Memories of Service
“I’m into the legacy thing now,” Blyth said. “In 30 years time this stuff will be just gold. These guys tell incredible stories.”
For now, capturing those stories is a higher priority, given the age of some of those Blyth wants to interview. He’s already lost some of his proposed interviewees to the march of time.
Blyth hopes to develop the material into a significant transmedia resource for future generations, citing Australian broadcaster SBS’ Cronulla Riots transmedia documentary as one way of approaching the material.
Interested in finding “the Everyman” stories rather than the official versions of experiences, Blyth has received some support from the RSA for the project. The centenary events and activities to mark the centenary of WWI have helped focus attention on the need to get the work done.
It will, Blyth reckons, be “an incredibly valuable resource for generations to come”. Interviews include ones with prisoners-of-war, air crew whose planes were shot out from under them, and other ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances.
Memories of Service is available to view on NZ On Screen.