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Archive for December, 2009

Thanks to the very good people at Hawkes Ridge Winery who supplied their very fine wines to the wrap party. Hawkes Ridge is a boutique winery a little south of Napier. They make a great range of wines including Pinot Gris, Viognier, Semillion, Rose, Pinot Noir and the very interesting Tempranillo – a local version of the famous Rioja wines from Spain. Having explored these wines personally, I can’t recommend them highly enough. These long summer days are perfect for the Viognier, followed in the evening perhaps by a little Tempranillo.

We at The Insatiable Moon are deeply grateful for the support given by Hawkes Ridge, and their partnering with our dreams. They (and the introduction provided by Jane and Matt from Brand Magic) are an integral part of the goodness which has surrounded our project. It’s a part of ‘paying it forward’, and making goodness and kindness a force in this world we inhabit.

And for any of the cast and crew in The Insatiable Moon, email me to find out about a great deal for purchasing wines from Hawkes Ridge.

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The crazy people at The Insatiable Moon offer you this little brainstorm to whet your appetite for the madness to come…

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And then there were none…

The boarding house guys get down and dirty

In the beginning there were 25 days of filming, and each one of them stretched into an indeterminate future. And now, quite suddenly, each and every one of those days is ended. They have been full, rich days. Days replete with astonishing performances and beautiful frames as the camera allowed us to interrogate reality in new and surprising ways. And through it all, the magic. I know we’ve spoken of that a lot in the course of this blog, but for good reason. There are those things which come upon you, not of your own making, which it would be wrong not to acknowledge as being out of the ordinary. So it was for us all as we shot for the moon. For 25 good days; and now there are none.

The wrap party on Saturday night continued in the vein of good times. There was wine taken; indeed there was. Some very fine wine from Hawkes Ridge winery, provided through the very good services of our friends at Brand Magic. There was music played; most spectacularly by the incomparable Luke Hurley – but also a very fine rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Gareth Higgins and Chantelle Gerrard. There were words spoken; some public and some private. They were words intended for those who have been a part of the whole adventure, and so are not to be repeated here. There were friendships celebrated – and, we suspect, the odd one consummated. But again, that is not for us to speak of. The small hours of the morning greeted us, and there were those who found a pool to cool off in. What can be said was that many who experienced it all spoke of it as the best wrap party they had ever attended.

What made it memorable was not what was consumed but what was given. The love, the friendship, the fun, the celebration of life. The gratitude for what we all knew was as much something which had happened to us as that which we had created. It turned out that the making of The Insatiable Moon was an experience of what some speak of as a ‘thin place’; where the sacred and the ordinary are so mixed up that it’s impossible to separate them. All you can do is to count yourself lucky that you were there at the time. We have a small hope that something of it has lodged itself in the film. May it be so.

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It feels like Christmas Eve.  Or at least the way Christmas Eve used to feel when I was young enough to accept that the magic was entirely objective, and not the result (at least partly) of a conspiracy between retail giants and the media to create an appetite for materialism that in turn produced a Herculean effort by my incredibly generous parents to give me the presents I wanted.  (And as The Insatiable Moon seeks not to be bound by the borders of ethnic or cultural tradition, let me say that the same would, I am sure, be true had I been celebrating Hannukkah, Kawanzaa or the more generic version of fun in December re-named by my adopted home of the United States as ‘Holiday’.)

It feels like Christmas Eve, because tomorrow, we reach a climactic moment, a revelatory time, an apocalyptic resolution, if you will.  The Last Days are upon us – the End is coming, as Arthur tells some folk in the script.   This time tomorrow, the remaining set will be on its way to being dismantled, the actors will be doing stretching exercises to shake off their recent characters, the crew will be resting, and the producers, d.o.p, writer and director will be wondering what’s next.  Christmas Day was often an anti-climax for me; once the scattered paper was picked off the floor, the battery-powered toys I’d received ran out of juice, and my stomach full of the richest, unhealthiest, tastiest food, it all began to feel a bit like … mourning.  I’m sure we’ll feel a little of that sadness tomorrow as the community of the Moon begins to dissolve, in its current form at least.  But I hope we’ll also feel a sense of satisfaction – this long, long journey is fast moving toward its next stage, and soon enough many people will have the opportunity to see the film.

The last day’s shoot is of a central scene, that requires some vulnerability and strength from the actors and crew; it will be an attempt at capturing something transcendent.  This is, of course, impossible; for the transcendent by its very nature cannot be captured.  So we’ll fail to capture it, but we might be able to suggest it; if we stumble upon some holy luck, we might encounter the crack that Leonard Cohen sings of – the one that exists in everything, so that the light can get in.  I’m grateful to have been able to share the journey up close for the last three weeks, and I’m sure we all would like to wish the production every good element of serendipity for whatis named on the call sheet, and will forever be known as SHOOT DAY #25

And so, if you want to be in solidarity with us tomorrow, raise a glass to the moon.  We may not be able to share the drink, but hopefully we’ll feel it.

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The Otago Daily Times has published an encouraging editorial in support of The Insatiable Moon.  Money quote?:

“There is art, there is creativity, and there are our own stories that need to be told….I suspect The Insatiable Moon will turn out to be yet another piece of Kiwi artistic endeavour that defied all the odds.”

Read the rest of the editorial here.

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Ian Mune as Norm – Don’t worry, he’s just acting

One of the pleasures of the Insatiable Moon set is the presence of so many character-filled faces familiar to New Zealand audiences from their work in television and theatre. There’s a wealth of experience here that has enriched the film beyond what anyone could have expected.

And yet, the struggle to get the story from script to audience has included a reluctance from some of New Zealand’s powers-that-be to fund it. We’re operating with a vastly limited budget, and are perhaps surprising even ourselves by what can be accomplished. We still hope to work with folks among the ‘official’ NZ film-making gatekeepers, but for now, two of our most distinguished cast members want to speak their minds about the challenges of the current film-funding climate, as we roll toward the completion of production on Friday.

Both veteran Kiwi actor Ian Mune and Whale Rider star Rawiri Paratene say they are proud to be part of this low budget production. Moon struggled over the past seven years, and when external funding was not forthcoming the producers decided to fund it through personal support. Mune, celebrated for his work in Sleeping Dogs, Came a Hot Friday, and The End of the Golden Weather comments on the challenges New Zealand film production, given both financial and regulatory constraints:

“The Insatiable Moon is a great New Zealand story which revels in its own local world, and features some of the cream of our talent. The fact that it has taken seven years of development doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a film which needed to bemade.”

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The Feet of Rawiri Paratene

Rawiri Paratene is one of the most respected New Zealand actors, known to international audiences as the angry grandfather Koro in ‘Whale Rider’; it’s been a privilege to watch him work on the set of ‘The Insatiable Moon’.  Ra’s been involved in the production before it was a script – reading the novel almost a decade ago, and approaching Mike Riddell for the rights.  Mike, being a clever and strategic fellow, suggested that they could make the film together; and I’m sure that periodically each of them looks at the work being done here and now, and thinks how strange and wonderful it all is that the film is finally happening.

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