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NZIFF Q&A: Thomas Gleeson

Thomas Gleeson
What makes a house a home? We hear from Thomas Gleeson, director/editor of NZ short film Home.

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What makes a house a home? We hear from Thomas Gleeson, director/editor of Home, one of New Zealand’s Best shorts at the NZ International Film Festival.

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During what hours of the day do you feel most inspired?

10pm – 2am followed swiftly by no sleep.

How would a good friend describe your aesthetic or style?

Inconspicuous or ‘a grey t shirt’.

What aspect of your creative practice gives you the biggest thrill?

A close tie between the initial ideas stage when we’re saying “how about we do this?” and the very end of a project when it suddenly comes to life.

How does your environment affect your work?

Quite a lot, I'm easily distracted so I like to be able to lock myself away, but that could be anywhere…

Do you like to look at the big picture or focus on the details?

Both. I directed and edited my last project so initially it was more about broad brush strokes and then in post it was all about subtle details.

What's your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in the creative industries?

Tough one, perhaps its good to stay flexible and be willing to sacrifice some things while always retaining an end goal in your mind.

Which of your projects to date has given you the most satisfaction?

We recently finished Home, a short doco. It’s a real buzz finally getting it in front of some eyes and ears.

Who or what has inspired you recently?

Chris Knox.

Tell us a bit about your background.

Recently I’ve found myself working with good people on animal shows. Sharks, Lions, Tarsiers, Millipedes. It’s been great.

Tell us a bit about your film, from inception to conception.

Home is a short documentary about what makes a house a home. The idea developed from a love for the spectacle of ‘wide loads’ on the road. Large machinery, huge pipes etc. We followed a house being relocated from a cold empty yard in Invercargill to its final destination in Kurow. Houses are supposed to be solid, permanent things but they’re not. They’re very fragile and its easy to move them.

What do you hope the audience takes away from it?

The knowledge that, should you need them to, King House Removals can and will move your house through the Devil’s Staircase.

If you could go back and choose a completely different career path to the one you've chosen, what would it be?

Being Nick Cave

What place is always with you, wherever you go

Purangi Estuary, Cook’s Beach

What's the best way to listen to music, and why?

Stuck on a long haul bus trip with good headphones. You can’t go anywhere.

You are given a piece of string, a stick and some fabric. What do you make?

Fly fishing rod

What's the best stress relief advice you've ever been given?

“Hey Thomas, let’s watch Point Break again”

What’s great about the NZ International Film Festival?

Lots of great things but the fact that it tours the country is pretty amazing.

What’s your big idea for 2013?

Make some things in London.

* * * The Big Idea 10th Birthday Questions * * *

What does The Big Idea mean to you?

Love The Big Idea, there’s always something interesting to check out. Here's to another 10 years.

What changes have you noticed in film in the past 10 years?

It’s a topic that’s been discussed a lot already but when we first started putting together the prop for Home camera equipment was completely different. That was only a few years ago. Advancements over the last few years allowed us to make the film we did, on the budget we did.

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* Festival programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 109 submissions to make a shortlist of 12 from which filmmaker Roger Donaldson selected these six finalists. A jury of three, Actress Robyn Malcolm, filmmaker Sima Urale, and Madman Entertainment representative Michael Eldred, will select the $5000 Jury Prize winner and $3000 Friends of the Civic Award. The winner of the Audience vote takes away 25% of the box office from the Festival screening. 

The winners will be announced on Saturday 4 August at the Closing Night of the NZIFF in Auckland.

New Zealand’s Best next showing is at Dunedin Thursday 9 August, and will continue to screen around the country as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival.

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