Friday, April 02, 2010

An Evening at Park Road Post

Recently I had the privilege of attending the sneak preview of Costa Botes's new documentary, Candyman: The David Klein Story.

Costa, a veteran of the New Zealand film industry, is probably best known in the States for Forgotten Silver, the satire/hoax he co-wrote and co-directed with Peter Jackson (and which largely fooled the New Zealand public), as well as his extensive making-of documentary for The Lord of the Rings (included in the fairly recent special editions of the theatrical-release DVDs).

Candyman I knew less about, only that it had something to do with jelly beans. But I was quite keen, as they say here, to go to an industry event which also had the appeal of being held at Park Road Post.

Sometimes referred to as "Skywalker South," Park Road Post is the premier post-production facility in this neck of the woods, where an increasing number of films is wrapped up, everything from King Kong to Red Cliff to District 9.

The building features a beautiful Arts and Crafts design, but the theater for the screening (I don't know if there are others) depicts what seems a Victorian view of the Near East. The interior is extravagant and a bit kitschy, with frescoes of camels and turbaned traders, but the quality and care taken are so apparent that somehow the overall ambiance is enhanced. Throughout the screening the ceiling's thousands of miniature lights twinkled like the night sky.

The evening's program began with Day Trip, a short directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Zoe McIntosh from a script by Costa about the conflicted aspirations of a Maori gang member. Then came Candyman, an intimate look at the life and inventions of eccentric candymaker David Klein, the man behind the many-flavored Jelly Bellies candy as well as many lesser-known confections. The film explores his sometimes too-generous nature and the collapse of a dream in the face of corporate greed. I hope it finds distribution in the U.S. -- it seems perfectly suited to PBS or other intelligent channels.

After the film I met Costa and we discussed his approach to documentary filmmaking. I found him humble, earnest, genuine, and, like so much of the industry here, encouragingly accessible. Wellington, it's good to be here.

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Blogger Eric D. Lehman said...

Love that building. Maybe you'll be working there?

4:35 PM  

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