The Post

Gaylene Preston: New Zealand film-maker

- Where do you go to feel inspired? What artist/performer has best captured your sense of Wellington?

AS SHE has made films and documentar­ies and travelled to internatio­nal film festivals, awardwinni­ng film-maker Gaylene Preston has always returned to Wellington, her chosen home since 1977.

This week, the proud Wellington­ian joins her sister, Jan Preston, in a show at Circa Theatre, Adventures in Pianoland.

Gaylene directs the solo show written and performed by Jan, which reveals the musician’s unwavering love for music over the years.

Growing up in Greymouth and Napier in 1950s New Zealand, Jan discovered her talent for the piano about the same time as she could walk. Now based in Sydney, she has played everywhere from dives in London’s Soho to concert halls in Europe.

Like a musical journey of her life, the show reveals her repertoire, including personal compositio­ns that haven’t been aired before.

Gaylene says: ‘‘It’s an autobiogra­phical show, which is how do you deal with an obsession for playing the piano while earning a living. Jan plays some of my favourite songs, some lovely classical pieces and also boogie woogie.’’

It’s the second time the sisters have worked together. Jan composed the music for Gaylene’s 2010 feature film Home by Christmas.

‘‘We grew up in a very musical household,’’ Gaylene says.

Gaylene also learned to play the piano, before studying painting at Ilam in Christchur­ch. ‘‘I learned it but Jan let me off the hook and I headed in a different direction.’’

Gaylene made her first feature film, Mr Wrong, in 1985, and over the years has made films and documentar­ies that saw her honoured as New Zealand’s first Filmmaker Laureate in 2001.

Most recently, she made a three-part television drama, Hope and Wire, about the Christchur­ch earthquake­s, attending the release at the Palm Springs and Vancouver Internatio­nal Film Festivals this year.

‘‘It’s a very emotional story and people get really involved. They keep begging for another series, but I think too much time has possibly passed,’’ she says.

 ??  ?? New Zealand film-maker and proud Wellington­ian Gaylene Preston.
New Zealand film-maker and proud Wellington­ian Gaylene Preston.

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