TBI Q&A: Tim Rose

Director Tim Rose and Producer Jim Scott with Sam Hunt.
Director Tim Rose answers TBI community question about making 'Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon

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For forty years Sam Hunt has been a force in New Zealand poetry and culture. He is a storyteller who has spent his life struggling with his, often very public, demons. In that journey he has gone from outcast to icon, he has crossed paths with outlaws, Prime Ministers, literary and artistic giants and the public. 

For forty years Sam Hunt has been a force in New Zealand poetry and culture. He is a storyteller who has spent his life struggling with his, often very public, demons. In that journey he has gone from outcast to icon, he has crossed paths with outlaws, Prime Ministers, literary and artistic giants and the public. 

Sam Hunt - Purple Balloon and other stories is a biographical documentary that also explores how Sam reflects the New Zealand landscape – literary and physical - and examines what has made him a great poet and an enigma.

TBI Q&A: Director Tim Rose answers TBI community question about making 'Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon and other stories', on at the NZ International Film Festival 2010. Read the questions and answers in the comment box below.

Sam Hunt

After a writing career that spanned forty years Sam Hunt has been thrust back into the limelight. Last year he published his 15th book of poems, was invited to open for Leonard Cohen at his New Zealand concerts after a personal recommendation from Bob Dylan (Cohen is now adapting two of Sam’s poems to be included in his next album). Also last year he produced a CD collaboration, Falling Debris, with David Kilgour. The music from this collaboration features prominently in Sam Hunt - Purple Balloon and other stories. This year he has published a collection of poems by JK Baxter and will release a new collection of poems, Chords, later this year.

But what do we really know about this man who has strutted our stages and streets for so long? Not a lot. On the one hand he has the public persona of an unkempt larrikin, and yes, that is part of the story, but only part of it.

At 63, and while he is still able to strut his stuff, it is time that his story is told and he has agreed to allow Tim Rose to do just that. It is because of their relationship that Sam is prepared to allow us to meet the man behind the bravado, the man who struggles between the extremities, fights with his demons and who has had a lifelong love affair with words.

Interviews include people close to Sam - his older brother Stephen Hunt, friend and artist Robin White, poet/ mentor Alister Te Ariki Campbell, Barbara Fisher (Joyce Cary expert - Sam is reputedly the bastard grandchild of the famous Irish novelist), publisher/adversary Alister Taylor, Split Enz member and former pupil Noel Crombie, Sam’s son Tom, fellow poet and raconteur Gary McCormick, poetCK Stead, friend and broadcaster Karyn Hay, biographer Colin Hogg, Brian Edwards and artist Dick Frizzell.

Director Tim Rose

Tim Rose’s film career began when as a child he got a Super 8 camera and started making home movies. After leaving school, Tim spent a decade working in lighting, camera and directing roles within the New Zealand film industry, including work with Barry Barclay, Gaylene Preston, Leon Narbey and Roger Donaldson. When his first child was due he left the industry to set up Havana Coffee Works and was, and still is, influential as coffee importer/entrepreneur. Tim’s interest in and contact with the film world has continued unabated.

Last year he completed two well received documentaries, La Verdad and Broken Journey. La Verdad as co director with Helen Smyth and Broken Journey as director/producer.

“I have known Sam Hunt since I was a young boy, he used to take me out fishing on the Pauatahanui inlet, and he is both a friend and confidante.

Each time with Sam is special, commonly Sam the raconteur would recount a story and this would develop into a poem. I had a burning desire to be able to share this experience, to capture some of these moments on film for others to share. That is how I started on this odyssey.

Sam claims he is no great poet, just a man telling a story - “tell the story, tell it, true, and charm it crazy” is his motto.  My vision for this film is to combine the elements that have endeared him to the public with an insightful and revealing view of Sam’s world and to let him tell us why and how his life has been subjugated to poetry. Over the past four years Jim Scott and I have been filming Sam."

Sam Hunt - Purple Balloon and other stories

Director: Tim Rose
Year: 2010
Running time: 83 mins
Photography: Tim Rose
Producers: Tim Rose, Jim Scott
Executive producer: Vincent Burke
Editor: Douglas Frankl
Additional photography: Russell Collins, Kuika Illingworth, Jim Best, Darren Storm
Sound: Jim Scott, Morgan Samuel
Music: David Kilgour
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Written by

The Big Idea Editor

22 Jul 2010

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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