Back to school for a his­tory les­son on film

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ELESHA ED­MONDS

It’s gone from be­ing a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal to a de­sign school, and now the old Car­ring­ton Hos­pi­tal build­ing is the sub­ject of a doc­u­men­tary.

Unitec’s Build­ing One, for­merly known as Oak­ley or Car­ring­ton Hos­pi­tal, is the home of the Depart­ment of De­sign and Con­tem­po­rary Arts in the Auck­land sub­urb of Mt Al­bert. It’s also where film-maker Ber­tie Plaats­man stud­ied me­dia arts and photography.

She was in­spired to make a doc­u­men­tary on the cen­tu­ry­old land­mark af­ter be­com­ing in­ter­ested in its his­tory and peo­ple’s sto­ries about the build­ing.

‘‘The build­ing has al­ways been a land­mark for Auck­land, with many peo­ple hav­ing mem­o­ries and wanted to know the ev­ery­day life sto­ries of peo­ple in­volved. con­nec­tions with it,’’ she says.

‘‘I loved study­ing there, and feel it re­ally en­hanced my ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

Build­ing One tells its story through the eyes and ex­pe­ri­ences of cur­rent staff and stu­dents as well as for­mer staff and pa­tients.

The doc­u­men­tary brings to life the his­tory of the build­ing, built in 1867, through rarely seen his­tor­i­cal images.

‘‘I didn’t want to fo­cus on the neg­a­tive his­tory, as there is al­ready so much writ­ten and known about that,’’ Plaats­man says.

‘‘I wanted to know the ev­ery­day life sto­ries of peo­ple in­volved with­out negat­ing the fact that for many, it is also a dis­con­cert­ing place.’’

Build­ing One has been se­lected to ap­pear in the Doc­u­men­tary Edge fes­ti­val from May 20 to June 1.

It’s not the first time Plaats­man’s work has been screened at the fes­ti­val.

Her short film Close to Home won the Best New Zealand Short Award at last year’s event.

Build­ing One screens at Q Theatre on May 23 at 11am and May 26 at 2.15pm. Plaats­man will be at the ques­tion and an­swer ses­sions af­ter both screen­ings.

Film-maker Ber­tie Plaats­man has made a doc­u­men­tary on the his­tory of Unitec’s Build­ing One.

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