1. Tell me about your latest project?
I have been working on a feature film project with writer Thomas Sainsbury
over the last couple of years. It’s not horror, more a continuing
interest/exploration of characters on the fringes of society.
2. Who is your greatest inspiration in film and why?
Luis Bunuel, a Surrealist film maker. Because his films reveal that the
unconscious plays a huge role in our conscious lives and his stories move
seamlessly between dream, fantasy and reality. Bunuel’s first film with
Salvador Dali, Un Chien Andalou, was an inspiration for my own first short
film Circadian Rhythms and the follow up feature film Angel Mine.
3. Is horror your preferred genre, as a filmmaker?
Horror is a genre that encompasses a wide range of approaches to telling
stories. I am interested in the psychological and supernatural/magical
elements of our consciousness and the horror genre best describes the
exploration of these areas.
4. What do you love about directing?
I love the process of working creatively with others to organically
manifest emotional atmospheres which audiences can engage and resonate
with. Creativity requires participation without fear, and directors role is
to enrol cast and crew into a shared vision that ultimately takes on its
5. What lessons have you learnt as a prolific filmmaker?
Communication skills are very important at all stages of the film making
process. You have to give yourself permission to make films, if you wait
for “others” to bestow permission, you may be waiting a long time. Most
importantly don’t project your vision on the universe, rather see your
vision in what the universe is showing you.
6. Tell me about your most successful film?
Death Warmed Up, 1984, is likely the film that has travelled the world most
successfully and continues to be requested Internationally for relicensing.
Unfortunately this film has a backstory that is tragic. The original film
negative was burnt mistakenly by the Lab in Wellington. The 35mm Inter-
negative is lost in America. No complete 35mm prints exist, and over 32
cuts were made to one of the few one inch tape copies of Death Warmed Up to
survive. So Death Warmed Up has a very bitter sweet place in my life.
7. What is the most memorable film you have seen and why?
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner would have to be the ground breaking film along
with Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead that fuelled certain elements of the vision
presented in Death Warmed Up.
8. Do you think the dvd is now redundant?
DVD’S will have an on-going role in private collections and specialised
lending institutions. Mass consumption is moving with the digital times
towards watching online and downloading. I am sorry to see the DVD lose its
position and predict there will be no DVD stores left within two years.
9. What makes a good story?
Anything that engages one emotionally that allows universal
truth/understanding to emerge, exploration of the microcosm allows
reflection on the macrocosm.
10. Lastly, any advice for emerging filmmakers?
Stick with your vision of the project. It’s a marathon not a sprint. You
need to pace yourself through the inevitable highs and lows. Time is the
micro budget film makers biggest supporter. Flexibility around cast and
crews life commitments, allow a window of opportunity, that ensure you get
the best from everybody whether they are being paid or not.
Director: Melissa Fergusson
DOP: Tim Butler-Jones
1st AD/Sound Tech: Rob Ipsen
Art Department: Lina Cruz
Makeup & Hair Stylist: Angela Crumpe
Rent boy: Lee ah yen Faatoia
Stripper: Christine Becker
Probation officer: Baz Te Hira
Homeless man: Gabriel Henry
John: Michael Hallows
Special thanks: Paper Bag Princess, Christine Becker, Four Eyes Media, Rebecca Parr, Cafe Al-Madina, Topic Rentals, Splice & LYC.
Director: Melissa Fergusson 1st AD: Rob Ipsen DOP: Tim Butler-Jones MUA: Angela Crumpe Hair Designer: Jordan Camilleri Refugee (Lead): Rebecca Parr Counsellor: Rob Ipsen Psych patient: Gaby Turner Dealer: Baz Te Hira Foreigner: John Blackman John: Rhys Collier
Get your ‘salt’ on
charlatan clinic’s dramatic new work, ‘salt’ begins Wednesday, 13 November at The Williamson, upstairs in The Private Meeting Room in Ponsonby. The season runs until Saturday 16 November.
‘Henry lives at home with his Mother and is besotted with Lilly. He has been secretly stalking Lilly for 2 years, when they finally met face-to-face and spend 7 hours together, one Friday afternoon. Love meets obsession.’
‘charlatan clinic’ have introduced tweet seats and tweet reviews for their event #projectsalt.
Fergusson has recently been interviewed by Justin Gregory for ‘Arts on Sunday’ broadcasting on 3 November, focussing on the social media engagement for the project and the interactive love questionnaire.
The cast of ‘salt’ playing Henry (Coen Falke) and Lilly (Jess Holly Bates) have both blogged about their characters and #projectsalt journey on the charlatan clinic blog.
The Williamson Private Meeting Room is an alternative space that has being transformed into an…
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Three actors, three cities, four seasons, and one VIP over two years (September 2010- September 2012). ‘Motherlock’ is a journey of (four) pregnancies over a fourteen year period, exploring the challenges women face, when becoming a ‘mother’. I have thoroughly enjoyed working (as both playwright/director) with Virginia Frankovich, Narelle Ahrens and Tara O’Brien, who have all added a different dimension to ‘Motherlock’. The set is minimal, based in a bedroom, with some favourite books by George Orwell and Stephen Fry, along with photos and letters. The key props are the chair and mirror, which is where the storytelling happens. Monologue is brilliant when it works, through pace, colour and content. Hopefully I achieved this, some reviewers think so. No matter, I believe in my work. ‘Motherlock’ will soon be adapted to a short film, eventuating in 2013. Keep you posted.
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