ScreenTalk: Robin Laing

Robin Laing
Gaylene Preston has called Robin Laing “an oasis of reason and practicality” in the chaos that is filmmaking.

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Gaylene Preston has called Robin Laing “an oasis of reason and practicality” in the chaos that is filmmaking.

Laing began making feature films at a time when women producers were rare in New Zealand. Since then she has produced an eclectic mix of features, short films and arts documentaries, and often lent a hand to emerging filmmakers.

In this ScreenTalk interview, the MBE-awarded producer talks about:

  • A movie-mad childhood
  • First meeting director Gaylene Preston, who persuaded Laing to try out producing
  • Being told to go get a man –  and also that women “are not an audience” – while getting debut feature Mr Wrong off the ground
  • Distributing Mr Wrong themselves, after sellout festival screenings somehow persuaded distributors and TV networks the film had no audience
  • Her interest in history and telling our stories
  • Behind-the-scenes stories of covert property-buying for comedy hit Ruby and Rata
  • Persuading MP Sonja Davies to let a man write her story on the acclaimed Bread and Roses
  • Paying tribute to treasured collaborator Graeme Tetley
  • Working with filmmakers Shirley Horrocks (Flip & Two Twisters) and Niki Caro (The Vintner’s Luck)
  • Her interest in working with emerging filmmakers, including on an anthology series for television
  • How women’s stories have become more acceptable in the market place

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.

NZ On Screen: Interview and editing by Ian Pryor. Camera by Alex Backhouse

Written by

NZ On Screen

13 Nov 2012

Interests www.nzonscreen.com

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