ScreenTalk: Michael Firth
Producer/director Michael Firth made his mark directing the documentary feature Off the Edge. The ski movie was a key early film in the NZ 'new wave' (with contemporary Sleeping Dogs and later Goodbye Pork Pie) and earned an Academy Award nomination in 1977.
Since then Firth has produced and directed the dramatic feature films Sylvia, Heart of the Stag and Vulcan Lane. But it is sport and the outdoors he loves best: he went off the edge again in 1987 with the zany adventure sport movie The Leading Edge, and Firth is the key creative behind the internationally successful TV series Adrenalize and fishing show Take the Bait.
In this ScreenTalk, Firth talks about:
- How a love of snow skiing led to his first feature Off the Edge
- How perfect timing enabled the filming of an avalanche
- Delving into a dark part of life in Heart of the Stag
- Facing financing issues while making Sylvia
- Continuity issues recreating the film’s era
- Creating the ‘crazy docudrama’ that was The Leading Edge
- How the 1987 share market crash spoilt the box office
- Being confronted by Billy T James and a machine gun
- Selling the sports show Adrenalize to 50 countries
- Almost causing a diplomatic incident with a topless woman
- How fishing TV show Take the Bait has just grown and grown
NZ On Screen: Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside