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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com. So you've just had the Wellington launch of the series. How did that go? [00:00:11] It's amazing. It was like sold out full house. We had a great q&a afterwards, Al's cracked the best jokes I've heard yet. I think there's still a little bit more room in that comedy routine. And my best girlfriend from we're going to we drove here for three hours, and it was amazing to see her and we had lots of parents bringing their children which was like really important. [00:00:32] What is the reaction from the audience? [00:00:35] It was it was very different from Auckland. I mean, it was quite intimate this time. I think that just changed the vibe but um, yeah, older sort of audience in there, but yeah, kids as well. Um, I think everyone liked it and was able to say for the q&a, so that was a good, good thing. Yeah. [00:00:52] So what is the difference between the here in the Auckland audience, [00:00:56] I think just opens a little bit more rowdy. [00:00:58] Auckland was drunk. [00:01:01] It was at night it was like a bob beforehand people would had a few drinks champagne. [00:01:07] Yeah, yeah, rowdy and babe. Way more people obviously. Yeah. [00:01:12] What are you reading Craig was the main difference. [00:01:14] I think Williamson cried more. Oakland laughs more Willison cried more. So we go to different emotional responses. Got the laughter from the rowdy bunch in Oakland and the tears from the more intimate current Willington there's a good audience. [00:01:30] I spoke to a couple of audience members just coming out now. And one of them was just just really choked up and didn't actually have the words to say nothing in the q&a, but really wants to pass on the thanks for for the movie. [00:01:43] Ah, that's awesome. I mean, that's a beautiful thing to hear how much we've moved people. And I yeah, I can imagine that. The ones people that have moved the most probably don't want to come out and talk to us. [00:01:55] Yeah, I got a real sense that it just seems so authentic. The characters ceasing the script. [00:02:03] So, I mean that that came about through through a collaborator, friend and part of a team called myos. And Cole is the writer along with all of the page and also co producer on it. And Cole is an incredible trans activist and really brought with him his personal experiences and, and also, I guess what he's always wanted to see on screen which has always been denied to some extent. So it was about creating something truly authentic by the trans community, for the trans community and others, but just really with a clear focus on authentic representation. And Cole really spearheaded that By bringing his voice to the table, one of the biggest [00:03:03] impacts on authenticity in the performances is casting transgender people and trans roles. And you know, I think ELS talks about that in terms of relating to the character. And I certainly see that coming through and some of the more hard hitting poignant moving parts of Al's performance, but we hear from many diverse people, there's lots of little touches, like you and I were talking about that line, what does care say on the hitter asked him about singing. [00:03:32] Just that, you know, cares doesn't sing anymore, because it feels weird for him. And as in that line, apparently, that came from me. Yeah, I mean, I I used to be a singer and you know, starting hormone therapy, but he changed that for me. And it is weird to say no. So that was kind of my little bit of, you know, added thing in there. [00:03:52] Those little touches come from having a trans person running the show, and having trans actors embodying these characters, and There's always dialogue about how does this feel? Would you say it this way, and you know, we have the opportunity of all these heads of department who are trans feeding into the show. So that authenticity that you're noticing comes from having gender diverse people and all the creative departments of the show. [00:04:17] So else, how did you relate to caves? [00:04:20] Oh, I mean, we both trends, so that was the main thing. And yeah, like I say, all the time, that that was like a foundation for me, already set. And then on top of that, we went from, you know, small communities where both mildly mean we should we share so many similarities. It's just, yeah, just, I just get it. You know, it's hard to explain really, to something you get. [00:04:48] I was also really interested in the kind of spaciousness of the production, that you're actually giving the characters, time to reflect and think about where they are and where I've come from. Can you talk about kind of building that kind of spaciousness into the film? [00:05:05] So that spaciousness starts with the script and call and I worked a lot on actually stripping out dialogue and kind of interrogating what's between the lines. And then, you know, through rehearsals when the actors are preparing that will thinking about what's behind the lines, and certainly a stylistic choice as director is, is allowing space, you know, for what's inside the characters to play on their faces. And I think that's also an editorial decision as well. You know, the rainy does have a slower pace in most parts. And you know, that's because so much of what's important to this drama is what's going on inside the characters. We need space to see that. [00:05:47] Yeah, and I agree, I think it's really hard to follow a script that's blocked with dialogue. It just kind of takes away from that authentic feeling. Will that realness you know what I mean? Like [00:06:00] Yes, you get to play a guy, right? [00:06:02] Yeah. Yeah. Someone asked me like, Oh, you must like forget your lines. Like I said to him, I don't really have that many lines now that I'm thinking about He's like, oh true. [00:06:13] really say much? No, [00:06:16] that's a great answer. The questions are that you don't say much and yet you convey so much. Yeah. And you're facing what's going on for you feeling what's [00:06:23] going on inside? That's, yeah, [00:06:26] yeah. That's one of the big things I took away from it, as well as that. I think a lot of these characters don't seem that comfortable talking. You know, it's like New Zealanders aren't good at speaking Hebrew and sentences, and in the way that you convey emotion and build character, not through dialogue, but through how you how you look, you know, the mannerisms. [00:06:48] I mean, Jim, probably of all the characters and bodies that comes in us the most and the terms of you know, he stutters any arms and ahhs and kind of swallow some of his words. That's just you know, again, having a fantastic actor like Alo green was a quality that he started experimenting with in the auditions, you know, call and I kind of looked at that and then went back to the script and kind of shaped a little bit more so he could bring that into the character. And you know, I just think, you know, it creates such an affectionate portrayal of a rural man who's kind of cast into this really unusual situation of being in love with someone who has changed and yet remain the same. [00:07:33] So Jim, and cares have a really multi layered relationship. How did you work with, with the other actor on that? Yeah, [00:07:43] we are a min max spoke about this earlier. And I think it's because both Otto and I are just super passionate about acting and, you know, we put a lot of thought into the backstories. I mean, I don't know what was going on, but that's what it was for me, because we I mean, in rehearsal, we didn't Max, that was your decision to kind of keep that synchronous between us. You know and rehearsal because that's what happens in the story. We're not we don't know, cares and Jim, don't spend a lot of time together. We spent more of rehearsal with as a trio with with Ana hitter. But um, yeah, I don't I don't know. Did what do you think? [00:08:20] Was that something that I don't think I've ever told you? I don't know if you're even aware of it was that? I don't know, I built up an idea of who cares was before he left and a relationship with that person and a lot of memories with that person. And so I think, you know, I wanted to make sure that as much as possible when keres kind of reinvented Jim's life, that there was this both shock and recognition and just like you said, If I'd started rehearsing you two together, and some of that shyness or awkwardness, you know, we would have lost it would have had In the rehearsal room instead of on camera, so that was sort of the idea there was there that seen each other for the first time and you played it really well, like when Jim arrives at the City Council, and you see your basically your ex lover, right. And I love the expression in your face, and you just get out of that. And I think, you know, if we had started to dig into that too much in rehearsals, that that would have been lost to time and wouldn't have happened in front of the camera. [00:09:30] There are a number of scenes that are really highly emotional, and I'm thinking particularly when the media is confronting you. And I'm wondering how was to play this? I mean, it was emotional to watch but how was it to play it? And I'm guessing you did a number of takes I mean, it would have been quite stressful. You [00:09:48] hear we did a lot of takes. [00:09:54] Ah, I don't know. For me, that same wasn't the most emotional for me. Like in particular was kind of easy I think because Max was like, you know, Kas has heard these things before. I mean, he's been through it all. So, you know, initially he gets kind of upset but then he brings himself back down because as an activist that's what he's done with, you know, his whole the last 10 years so but then you know, you do some tricky things and then we you got Rector to you know, to say some things that were off the page to really get in there and hit me which that was that worked. But yeah, those Yeah, we did a hipster types of it. But yeah. [00:10:36] And sort of because I was actually so we're talking about the did naming Yeah, that moment. And I know Cray do like, I remember called being that was a really, it was really important to call how the production handled that. [00:10:52] Yeah, I mean, while we want to avoid did nothing at all. So that means stripping it from the script as well. So It's a dead night it doesn't exist in the script doesn't exist in any previous troughs. So through through shooting it, it was that same approach where we were using words like when she's supposed to be saying his name she's going did name bid and bid down. And, and some other words which which max threw into maybe evokes more of a response from from Elton's in a safe way, but a little bit that might come a little shocking, not expecting it to come from Rene's mouth. Sorry, we're an alien plays, post refer and does an amazing job with it. So yeah, and that kind of thinking was approached throughout the Thai production really and it's just making sure that whatever is on the page, whatever the talent are, reading is safe for them. Safe of filming with Trigger warnings if they exist and are required. And yeah, it was just part of the Copa bought the show really [00:12:06] calls really media savvy, he does a lot of media consultation. And one of his concerns was that if we put things in the show like photos of cares when he was a child, or did named him in the media, when they did their coverage and reporting on the show, just has a habit on like honing in on on these dead names or your who someone was before their transition. And it was really important to call that, you know, he's seen this done wrong so many times so that when the show was out there, these things didn't even exist for the media to get their hands on. If there's one photo, I think of cares, you know, on the wall when he was a child. And again, the same match in the way that we had on the did naming. There was a lot of care around making sure that was always out of focus and barely seen. And yeah, I'm really pleased with the way that the production embody the same principle. polls that were on screen. [00:13:03] I mean, we actually printed that photo out of focus. So it could never have been in focus, which was a little sneaky. Were on that one. [00:13:13] I just thought that yohannes was making sure that Yeah, had the camera out of focus. But that's even smarter. Craig. [00:13:19] So how has the media responded to this production? [00:13:23] As an I sometimes talk about the curly questions that you get asked. I mean, on the whole, the the response has been enormously positive and a real palpable sense of excitement. And, you know, it feels like people are kind of picking up what we're what we're putting down. I do notice that Alice has kind of been pushed forwards, as as a spokesperson for the media tends to treat him as like a spokesperson for all transgender concerns and issues and maybe you want to speak as I said, in your experience. [00:14:00] Yeah, definitely. I mean, yeah, I mean, it's gonna it's inevitable kind of, you know, and like, just as I said in q&a, I mean, I'm not representing anyone else but myself and, and like, I just, I just want people to know that we're all so different. I mean, every human being is different. We just, we come from different backgrounds, we have different parents, some don't have parents, you know, there's so many different things. And yeah, those curly questions like, for so for me, I mean, I'm really open to those questions. It's an opportunity for me to teach or, you know, but but, you know, that's that. It's not to say that you can just go ahead and ask people questions, you kind of got to, you got to vibe, you got to feel what the vibe was between you and that person. And, you know, take care around that. There's still people out there who have really fascinated by the transitions of transgender people and look, in all honesty, it's fascinating to me, but we don't need to continue. You know, I mean, it's it's you don't have to continue talking about it. I mean, let's, let's look at all the things that we are outside of being, you know, outside of transitions. Let's look at what we do for jobs and, you know, the cool people we have in our lives and the people we fall in love with. And, I mean, there's so much more to us. I mean, we've talented, you know, so, yeah, I think, yeah, but it's, we'll get there. [00:15:20] Over the last couple of weeks, we've done a lot of media and when you actually line them up back to back, you know, we've made this the show these stories, these characters, you know, which like our series is about a son returning home to reunite with his father with a difficult relationship. You know, this debate in rural New Zealand, over phosphates, you know, colonialism and a character sort of coming to terms with you know, the modern heritage and wanting to speak to lomani that's what's in the show. And yet we have noticed when you kind of back to back the media, there's this this like this real focus on you know, the transitioning and you know, transgender lens and Yeah, that is obviously part of the show. But it's been interesting for me to notice. Like, how much that tends to dominate the kind of line of questioning from the media. Still. Yeah. [00:16:10] Yeah, not. Yeah, I agree. [00:16:12] Just looking on the website for the production, it seems more than just a movie, you've got internships, you've got a whole page round gender diversity within cast and crew. And you've also got, what you will improve upon, if you get funding for a second series. Can you talk to me about some of those things? [00:16:30] I think what's been really important from us from the start, and actually, this is why we named our production company when they formed it, autonomy mouse for neon and like a little mouse. And the idea is that we wanted to build up the community's autonomy in their storytelling. We wanted them to be able to tell their own stories, and that's ultimately the goal. So as part of that, we ran an internship program which was supported by the New Zealand Film Commission for six Gender diverse interns through the production in in all the creative roles. So we had interns in directing, producing wardrobe makeup, editing, camera and art. So across the board and trying to provide experience and get training, you know, with with, with top people from the industry. I mean, that was that was part of it, you know, and so it's, it's about creating the future generation of trans filmmakers who will be able to tell their stories themselves, which is where we ultimately want to get to and that you know, that's spread across all the way into cast as well you know, phenomenal number of cast, which ended diverse. So yeah, hopefully. Yeah, hopefully we'll get to season two and and some of the trans people that we had working on this show the gender diverse people working on on season one will be In much higher positions, and it'll just keep going from there. That's that's ultimately where we want to get to. [00:18:07] We were talking earlier about some of the emotional high points in the series. And I mentioned the one about you in the mirror, but that wasn't the one for you, which was the highest kind of emotional point for you. [00:18:19] Who Ooh, that's a good question. [00:18:23] I think it was. [00:18:26] This actually this hates but the one that I just comes to mind is when Kaz sees his best friend unheard of for the first time, like, I think, I just think it comes down to the depth of their relationship, like friendship. I mean, they're just so much love for each other. And I think, you know, he's wanting acceptance from his father as well, but I just felt like Kaz really wanted his best friend back and I just think, I think anahit is a safe place basically, I think. I don't know what that's about. got me thinking now but yeah, I think that was really emotional for me. Yeah, [00:19:03] that's an example of that. We've got hotkeys hardly have any lines right and yet we see you kind of like run the link to the Amazon you're in that in that moment what's going on is like there's joy in you reunited. There's all this like sadness and like the 10 years that you've lost and yeah, that's my favorite thing. [00:19:21] Yeah, nuts. Yeah. [00:19:23] Great was what about you? Is there a scene that you get emotional? I've never had this conversation but is there a moment or scene that gets you [00:19:32] in the end always gets me get always get shivers at the end, right down the spine. Like I've seen it how many times now? 1020 times at least, still is always shivers down the spine in that last scene. [00:19:44] There were a number of other pieces of dialogue that really stuck out to me one was when I think feanor asks, who benefits from our shame? Who do you think does benefit from our shame? [00:19:56] I think in general, like the people that benefit from shame Those who are in control of what's perceived as normal, you know, the people that might benefit from maintaining inequality. You know, shame keeps people down. Shame keeps people quiets, you know, shame keeps people away from like, their power. And so yeah, they're the people that benefit from shame. And I think this is what Cole is wanting us to think about [00:20:29] oppresses [00:20:33] another piece of dialogue that really jumped out to me was when your father sees Why did you fucking come back? [00:20:40] Why did you come back? Yeah, like a game or two mothers before maximize? I think we've put it down to sometimes. I mean, as humans, we we sometimes we win. We've got so much going on in our minds now in our hearts. We make these decisions to do these decisions that we wouldn't normally make before. We don't really know why we're doing it and I think, I think because it was just that harm was a place of healing. I have that for myself. It's just when the time when home cause it's time to go, and you don't really always know why. But um, it's just a special place. You know? So, yeah, I don't know, there's so many, so many layers to that. Who cares? What do you what do you reckon Max? I [00:21:24] think you know that when you sit home is a place of healing. And yeah, I know that you go home to hokianga sometimes and and come back feeling that you have perspective and that you sort of understand something that maybe you didn't understand when you were hitting there. And you put it perfectly. I mean, we often say that Rooney and a word is about healing. And yeah, couldn't put a bit else [00:21:46] Yeah, and I think he just Yeah, for me, it's it's about taking yourself away from the environment that you normally in that environments confusing for you. So you're getting out of that and having a new new surroundings we can self reflect and figure stuff out. Yeah, it's a home thing for me [00:22:08] watching the series just seems to me a wonderful world of possibility and opportunity it's it feels like a real just an opening and starting with his route only going after this [00:22:24] well we have big things on the horizon for the donkey and you'll be hearing about them soon. Ultimately though, we would love to make a second season you know we've been story lining and planning with Cole and and thinking about where that can go and and that world as you rightly point out is so beautifully set up. We have all these wonderful little narratives going on and little journeys of our characters and, and characters that you know, we'll hopefully join them on that journey. So We've kind of set the foundations now we want to show the world. [00:23:05] And just finally, what is the most touching comment been to you about the series so far? [00:23:14] Recently, there's been a number of parents that have gotten in contact, and I've, I've been, I've become more aware of, you know, the, I think the enormous hope and joy and pride and fear that can come with being the parent of a gender diverse child. And this so, you know, since our print Premier, it's only been a couple of days ago. But yeah, parents have been like, beating a path to our door. Um, you know, just connect often to find out, you know, whether it's appropriate for an eight year old or a 13 year old, and I think just in those conversations, there's been some really beautiful comments, especially coming out. I mean, I think one Apparently who is here in particular? Was Yeah, I could see was was crying? And yeah, so in some ways the most touching comments has been a no word at all. [00:24:12] I don't know I [00:24:16] I've just been getting [00:24:19] all different comments. And that's been pretty cool. I mean, as I said, in the beginning, I want people to take what they need from it, personal to them. And it's been that's how it's been. So it's just it's been a good. I've learned from other people based on their reactions. Like, everyone's just got a different reaction, something new to say. And I think that's really cool. And it's all important. And yeah, I don't know. That's all I don't know. And [00:24:47] remember, there was there was a review that came out in the pantograph punch. And when I read it, I just sat in my car and cried and cried and cried, because it was from someone who's gender diverse. MADI and, you know, in some ways the elephant in the room for the show is that, you know, as a director, I'm cisgendered, I'm not trans. And so it's been a real. It's really been on my mind. And I guess it's been a big fear for me in terms of just wanting to make sure that in terms of calls voice, and the community of people surrounding rudaki, that they recognize themselves in these characters and these stories. And it's a way I've always been battling over here, whether I can tell the story or you do it justice in a way and when I read that review, yeah, the floodgates open and I was crying because the review had seen themselves so deeply and profoundly and rang me as a multi gender diverse person. And that was actually an enormous relief to me. And from that day on, you know, I felt I could sort of walk a little taller, when it came time to promote and talk about it.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.