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