Say What? Peter Young

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Peter Young is a documentary filmmaker, whose films include the multiple award-winning The Last Ocean. He also works as a freelance cameraman. At the recent APRA Awards, composer Tom McLeod was nominated for his score for Young’s 2015 documentary The Art of Recovery.

We last spoke to Peter Young almost a year ago, as The Art of Recovery was heading to its releases in Auckland and Wellington, following its successful premiere in the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Peter Young at the Lund International Architecture Film Festival

Peter Young at the Lund International Architecture Film Festival

How’s The Art of Recovery going now?
We had a long wait for our first festival outside of NZ, and then we got accepted into two screenings on the same weekend, Lund International Architecture Film Festival in Sweden and New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles. We ended up taking out top honours in both festivals: The Grand Prize in Lund, and Best of the Fest as well as Best Feature in LA.

It was wonderful to see the story resonate so strongly, people loved the spirit it captures and the discussion it provokes. For me, the best thing about these awards is that they will help to get the film into other festivals. There’s a lot of films out there fighting for limited places so you need all the help you can get. We screened at Arohanui Film Festival 26 – 31 October, Joe Hitchcock and the team of dedicated film fans did a great job with that festival.

The Art of Recovery: Liv Worsnop Guerilla Gardener planting succulents amongst the rubble in Central Christchurch

The Art of Recovery: Liv Worsnop Guerilla Gardener planting succulents amongst the rubble in Central Christchurch

A year ago you’d just moved up to Auckland from Christchurch. How’s it been?
After 20 plus years in Christchurch it was quite a change but we’re enjoying the adventure and the community up here is great. Christchurch will always have a special place in our hearts, which is why I made The Art of Recovery, because I care for the place and wanted to contribute to the discussion about its future.

Where we live now, Point Wells (near Matakana), is on the banks of the Whangateau estuary – one of the cleanest in NZ. The coastline is stunning, water warm, my kids go to school bare-foot on a bus and it’s only 50 minutes from downtown Auckland, so close enough to do day to day shoots. I’m working with new directors and producers and getting along to industry events without having to jump in a plane, so all is going well.

Having freelanced for 20-odd years I have a good network of friends throughout the country that I work for, and I’ve always travelled for the longer term projects anyway, so the move north has had little impact on work.

Shooting for Country Calendar

Shooting for Country Calendar

Have you been back to Christchurch in the last year?
I’ve been back quite a few times and still work out of there. Earlier this year I made a four minute promo that celebrated the spirit of Christchurch which was a wonderful project to be involved with. It was commissioned by the Airport and was open sourced so anyone in the community could use it.

I spent a lot of time in the city and it is changing a lot. As new buildings go up and the CBD begins to take shape, it will inevitably become more ordered and gentrified which for me, highlights how dynamic, exciting and energetic the central city was in the post-quake transitional period. I’m really pleased to have captured a small part of the that remarkable era and am sure that the new city will retain some of that energy, especially with Lianne Dalziel back at the helm, who were great supporters of it.

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