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A good month for film books

by Lindsay Shelton
It’s a good month for Wellington books about the New Zealand film industry.

Launching tonight at Nga Taonga in Taranaki Street is a long-awaited book about Jonathan Dennis, who was the founding director of the New Zealand Film Archive (the name by which Nga Taonga was formerly known.)

book jonathan

Written by Emma Jean Kelly, it’s titled “The Adventures of Jonathan Dennis: bicultural film archiving practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.” The writer describes her 200 page book as being “about Jonathan Dennis, film archives, and the philosophy and practice of archive.” The publisher is John Libbey Publishing Ltd of England and the distributor is the Indiana University Press.

Launching on Thursday next week at Unity Books in Willis Street is a 400-page memoir by Geoff Murphy, who directed three of New Zealand’s first box office successes – Goodbye Pork Pie, Utu, and The Quiet Earth.

book geoff

It’s published by Harper Collins, who describe it as “the majorly entertaining memoir from a major entertainer – Geoff tells it like it really was in this director’s cut of his life and times.”

The launch seems sure to attract a crowd of Wellington filmmakers.

Then there’s my own book. It was titled “The Selling of New Zealand Movies” when it was first published by Mary Varnham’s Awa Press in 2005. Now there’s a second edition, fully updated (including the filmography), with a new title “Dancing With Hollywood.”

dancing try again

If you want to know how we thought of that title, it goes back to my childhood in Marton, when we would go to the Civic Theatre to see matinees of Hollywood musicals, and then we’d dance our way home, up the main street, imitating the stars we’d seen on the screen. With absolutely no idea that in years to come New Zealand would be sending its own films and its own stars to Hollywood.

“Dancing With Hollywood” is available only as an eBook, from Unity Books’ ebook page, or from Amazon.