It’s been a quiet week here at Killer – Christine Vachon has headed off to Scandinavia to give lecture in Stockholm and then Oslo.

Our major piece of news is Betsy and the Emperor. It’s about Napoleon Bonaparte’s last days and the friendship he forms with a young girl on the island on which he is imprisoned. So far we have Al Pacino attached as Napolean and Dakota Fanning as the girl. Currently we are working on the script – it’s an interesting project, and much bigger budget. Already there’s a slew of phone calls in the office for everything from crew to actors.

The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off yesterday with Woody Allan’s new film Whatever Works having its world premiere. It’s going to be hard to get time to see much, but top of the list is Pandora’s Box, a Turkish film about three generations coming together. In The Loop also looks phenomenal and timely – it stars James Gandolfini and is a political satire. Think The Office meets Wag The Dog. Plus, seeing as our boss has a Hudson Pass, (which allows entry into anything) it’s just a question of balancing who gets to go when.

I’ll check out at least one of the shorts programmes to see the caliber of this years shorts. My short Cargo was at Tribeca last year, and my friend Steph Green’s film, New Boy, won the top shorts prize before going on to be nominated for an Oscar.

Another hot ticket, away from the festival circuit and also mainstream cinema is the indie film Sin Nombre. It tells two intersecting stories of young Honduran thug and a Mexican girl who both ride atop a train to the United States. Sayra, the girl, is hoping to re-unite with her family, whereas Caspar, the thug, is on the train for a much more sinister reason. Thrown violently together, the two characters form a strong bond that might just get them to the border.

I watched the movie at an art house cinema that plays great films just down the street from my apartment. It reminds of Auckland’s Civic, and has faux golden pillars outside. It is retro cool complete with red-velvet ropes and big plush seats plus old style cardboard popcorn containers! It’s a really classy cinema, and on Friday nights they play recent classics like City Of Lost Children and Goodfellas.

Anyway – Sin Nombre: It’s a great film from a first time director and really blew me away – something that hasn’t happened in a long time. It’s almost like a modern western with elements of a road movie – violent, visceral and jaw-dropping. But the detail (the Honduran gangs intricate tattoos, the on location shooting, the use of non-actors) and great performances gives Sin Nombre an authenticity I haven’t seen in years.  Ignore the cheesy voice-over in the trailer, it’s really an amazing film. Hopefully it will play at this years NZ film festival. If so it’s the first must-see.

Speaking of strong must-sees (and in relation to Tribeca, James Gandolfini) I finally saw my first Broadway show last week.

It’s called God Of Carnage, and the cast consists of James Gandolfini, Hope Davis, Jeff Daniels and Marcia Gay Harden. It is written by Yasmina Reza, who previously wrote Art and Life x3.

The story revolves around two couples who meet to discuss a playground fight between two of their children. What begins with the niceties of coffee and cake soon descends into a hilarious and tragic expose of human frailty, as the two couples turn on each other, their spouses and finally themselves. There’s one particular moment involving projectile vomit that literally floors everyone in the room. It’s also great to see such high caliber actors up close and personal, in a play that perfectly balances comedy and social commentary. And apparently, it’s the hottest ticket in New York.

So hot, that you have to queue up at TKTS (the ticket booth) in Times Square for about 40 mins (around the block) while being buffeted by wind and rain. And then, it’s only tickets near the back. And it’s $60 ($120NZ).

I was skeptical. But then the rain stopped. And I turned up at the theatre round the corner of Broadway. It’s a 50’s throwback, all gold and glitz and red carpet. And then the cast arrive out the front of the theatre and make their way in. To a theatre where they do six shows a week, plus matinees.

Who cares about wind, rain, crowds, money and queues when you’re a 50’s theatre watching four actors on the top of their game?

Not me.


New Stories from New Pasifika and Asian Storytellers

March 21, 2019

Eight new scripted stories by, for and about Pasifika and Asian peoples have been selected for development under a new initiative from NZ On Air. The teams selected will participate in a development programme run by Script to Screen, including follow up mentoring to guide them as they prepare to submit production funding applications.... Read more