Talk­ing to pic­tures

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JOE DAW­SON

There prob­a­bly aren’t many who could see a re­sem­blance to the Parthenon in the light-in­dus­trial ur­ban fringes of the North Shore.

But for avant-garde Auck­land film-maker Gabriel White that is what ap­peared when he be­gan shoot­ing his lat­est creative of­fer­ing the ‘‘sur­real doc­u­men­tary’’ Or­a­cle Drive.

‘‘My style has also been de­scribed as pedes­trian film­mak­ing, which I quite like, or as es­says on film,’’ the Mt Eden man says. ‘‘It’s look­ing at the world from a ter­res­trial point of view.’’

Mr White’s style of­ten sees him take to the streets of a par­tic­u­lar area armed with his cam­era to record a kind of trav­el­ogue.

A pre­vi­ous work, Auck­lan­tis, fo­cused on cen­tral Auck­land. Mr White says he sets off and records him­self as he no­tices the of­ten small things around the city that go un­charted but form the ur­ban land­scape.

This time he has turned his gaze on the de­vel­op­ing ar­eas of the North Shore, par­tic­u­larly around Al­bany.

‘‘I have a ra­dio light so I can walk through the land­scape film­ing and talk­ing to the cam­era,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s an im­pro­vised mono­logue, a very spon­ta­neous con­ver­sa­tion with the land­scape record­ing my in­stant reaction to what I’m see­ing.

‘‘Then I edit those down and cut bits out un­til they are a com­pact morsel.’’

The North Shore pre­sented new and mys­te­ri­ous ter­ri­tory for the roam­ing cam­era­man.

‘‘I was look­ing for some­where to film and was driv­ing up the mo­tor­way quite a bit at the time. I saw this self-stor­age ware­house on top of the hill and it re­minded me of the Parthenon or the Acrop­o­lis.

‘‘I thought there was some­thing in this. Then I dis­cov­ered there were all th­ese ref­er­ences to the Hel­lenic world in the street names over there, like Tri­ton Rd or Athena Rd, and the land­scape was point­ing to all that.

‘‘There’s a big lit­er­ary tra­di­tion be­hind that, like James Joyce, so I’m cash­ing in on a pop­u­lar avant-garde idea.’’ Or­a­cle Drive steps away slightly from the one­man doc­u­men­tary style of his pre­vi­ous ef­forts, in­cor­po­rat­ing ac­tors and a sound­track, but re­tains its im­pro­vised feel.

‘‘I think about Mike Leigh, he gets ac­tors to im­pro­vise the scenes and you get a fresh­ness from the per­for­mance. It’s in the same spirit.’’

The film will screen in the Auck­land edi­tion of the New Zealand In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val later this month. Pre­sent­ing his work in such a large con­text is both grat­i­fy­ing and ner­vous-mak­ing for the low bud­get op­er­a­tor, who shot Or­a­cle Drive for $10,000 raised from his own in­come and crowd sourc­ing.

‘‘We’ll have a bit of a pre­miere at the Acad­emy Cin­ema. I think it will be a re­ally in­ter­est­ing film for Auck­lan­ders to re­act to – it’s funny and quite comic and satir­i­cal so hope­fully peo­ple chuckle away and laugh.

‘‘It’s also been a long road for me so it’s quite a big deal and af­firm­ing to be in the fes­ti­val.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Spon­ta­neous con­ver­sa­tion: Film-maker Gabriel White has tack­led the mys­te­ri­ous North Shore for his ‘‘sur­real doc­u­men­tary’’ Or­a­cle Drive.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see clips from Gabriel White’s ear­lier film Auck­lan­tis.

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