Production Manager Victoria Hardy has recently come off a TVC with William Grieve’s Big Pictures, shot in Auckland for the Chinese mainland market. This month Mar has serviced TVCs for Flying Fish, The Sweet Shop and Thick As Thieves. He also took off to Fiji for a week to help family members rebuild property damaged by Cyclone Winston.
Hardy enjoys working with international clients because you get to show off NZ (“It’s kind of like being a sort of unofficial ambassador”) although some relationships have lasted so long there’s no longer any need to be an ambassador. Not so long back, at dinner with Film Factory Hong Kong’s Louis Ng and May Tang, Hardy observed that they (Louis, May, William Grieve and herself) had been working together for 25 years.
Returning from London in the early 1980s, Hardy found it hard to get a job because, in those days at least, there was a fair bit of suspicion among employers about people who’d done an OE. They might have the travel bug and not stick around.
“I didn’t know we had a film industry,” Hardy says, but some of her friends did. She was introduced to Mort and Marion Schreiber, who was then running a production company called Frolic Films, making commercials from its just off College Hill in Auckland. Hardy started there as a PA/runner/general dogsbody. “They had high standards and taught me a lot.”
After walking out in tears one day, never to return, Hardy spent the rest of that summer on the dole. Hardy’s camera assistant boyfriend was down in Te Kuiti, staying in a caravan, working on Michael Firth’s 1984 feature Heart of the Stag. Production Manager Sue May gave Hardy a job on the film, and Hardy got her first taste of features.
Among others on the film were Alun Bollinger, working on second unit, and Bridget Bourke, doing continuity.
When Heart of the Stag wrapped, Chris Short suggested to Hardy she could go on to another feature. There wasn’t a regular flow of features at the time and film certainly wasn’t seen as a career option, more like a huge adventure.