Thursday, 12 July 2018

NZIFF Q&A - Pietra Brettkelly

NZIFF Q&A - Pietra Brettkelly

My film is.... 

The moment I'm most proud of is....
…it's that I completed this film, against the odds.  But highlighting a specific moment it would be backstage with Guo Pei, the designer and subject of my film, in the final scene of my film, as she’s watching her collection in Paris walk the runway.  It's the moment she creatively challenges the status quo, the inherent arrogance, the largely European males club of the Haute Couture Commission.  And says take a look at what I can do, this diminutive Chinese woman.  And the emotion on her face as we hold the extreme close up shot, gets me every time.  She’s in tears and I’m in tears.  Her face is one of anguish, tension, pride
Yellow is Forbidden

The reason I carried on with this film when it got tough is.....
I’m incredibly curious, and driven and believe completely in the importance of story-telling – to capture our time now, to open a window into another world, another culture and to break down barriers through understanding each other more, through the power of storytelling, and the ability for my films to travel internationally which they do.
But it is also that moment that I’ve described above - it's a truly beautiful moment that keeps me passionate about documentary filmmaking and passionate about this film, that moment you can’t predict but hope through my skills as a director I might get to when I launched into this film two years previously – a moment of intense emotion, intimacy and trust between myself and my subject.

The one moment that will resonate with an audience is.......
This film is so complex and will truly appeal to many different people. 

The hardest thing I had to cut from this film is........

Filmed over two years, I amassed something like 200 hours of footage.  The edit process that took one year, was so painful I try not to think back on what I had to cut.  But the access I got to Guo Pei’s life was so extraordinary – she had signs up throughout her salon of NO FILMING and yet we were allowed to film, the intricacies of her designing, the craftswork of her 500 staff, the phenomenal skills that go into these artworks she creates.  
There was a scene when we were filming with the famous Rihanna cape, the 27kg yellow cape Rihanna wore on the Met Gala red carpet in 2015 that luanched Guo Pei internatinally, and began my film.  We were in Paris and filmed scenes with the cape and the delicate and treasured way the cape was handled and looked at by the models, by the photography team, by passers by was extraordinary.  It was like a superstar in its own right.  And then one of the team stripped down and put it on and got the photographer to take photos of him.  There was a tension in the air. I would have liked this scene to be somewhere in the film but I feel the aspect of how the cape is reverred is covered in another scene of a Guo Pei exhibition at the Louvre.
And there was another scene with the cape, the Queen of Malaysia and Michael Jackson’s brother….

The reason I love the NZIFF is.......
I travel often to festivals and markets and watch a lot of films.  
My film YELLOW IS FORBIDDEN just premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, New York and then went on to market screenings at Cannes Film Festival.  Bill Gosden and his team at NZIFF have curated some of the best films I was lucky to see at those festivals – and some I didn’t manage to get to so am relieved they’re going to be in NZIFF.  Bill brings to us here in New Zealand an eclectic, thought-provoking, entertaining and intelligent range of the best films.   

What the 50th NZIFF means to me is......
NZIFF has fed me over the years.

We are so lucky to have had access to the world’s best films  in the last 50 years – and it has certainly encouraged my learning, love and appreciation of film.   I’m often walking away from a film at the Civic, wrapping myself up in a scarf, just thinking over all that I’ve just experienced in the last 90 minutes – another storyteller’s visual perspective on another place, another land, another people.  It's the richness of inspiration itself.  

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