Back to school for a history lesson on film
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.