Just as this month’s edition of Crewed was being assembled came the sad news that producer and director Paul Swadel had died. Paul and I ran into one another regularly at industry events and conferences over the last decade or so, often cramming conversation and cigarettes into outdoor breaks at a variety of venues.
The last time we met, it was for a drink in Auckland. Paul was lively, cheerful, excited, proud of something his son had recently done at school. He talked about Media Design School and his friend and MDS colleague James (Cunningham), about his students’ aspirations, their energy, relentless creativity and how what they really needed to learn was how to fill in a GST return. The preferred way, Paul opined, was with a calculator in one hand and a beer in the other.
We talked low-budget features including The Devil Dared Me To, on which Paul was a producer. He was excited about the progress of Gerard Johnstone and Guy Pigden’s Escalator titles Housebound and I Survived A Zombie Holocaust.
It’s perhaps appropriate that, this month, Ande Schurr draws on his experience of another Escalator project, Paolo Rotondo’s Orphans & Kingdoms, to muse on micro-budget methodology.
Just as this month’s edition of Crewed was being put to bed came news of another death, of another producer, another casualty of a terminal illness. Ross Jennings was 71. Coincidentally, in this edition we have an interview with Philly de Lacey, who succeeded Jennings as the head of Screentime (which we did some weeks before his death).
We’d like to offer our condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of both Paul and Ross.
On a happier note, Peter Parnham takes a look at the next stage in the journey of SPP’s Shortland Street as it introduces some flash new kit.
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Keith is the editor of SCREENZ, and the co-creator and founding editor of CREWED.