New Zealand 2008
New Zealand - Rotorua Silent Film Festival 2008
REPORT ON SILENCE!
FESTIVAL OF SILENT FILM
ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND APRIL 2008
The festival, extending over three days 17th-19th April, opened with a Whakatau, a Maori greeting and blessing for the festival, for our distinguished guest pianist Gerhard Gruber, and for extending our knowledge and relationship with Gerhard’s country of origin, Austria. Audiences were immediately impressed by Mr.Gruber’s virtuosity on the piano, knowledge of the genre and by the quality of the Austrian films shown.
While the highlight of the festival was the films and accompaniment, we also enjoyed the depth of discussion around Austrian silent films and filmmakers and the subjects of the films shown.
Local readers translating for the audiences accompanied films with German subtitles, and a local guitarist accompanied one film. Gerhard Gruber also gave a workshop, encouraging other performers and musicians to become involved in working with silent film.
The final showing, of the Michael Curtiz film Sodom and Gomorrha, was introduced by an account of the biblical story by a local Anglican minister. The performance concluded with a response by a Professor from Auckland University of Technology. This opening of discussion around the films proved very interesting and we hope to extend this to other films in the future.
Rotorua has been extraordinarily fortunate to have the privilege of hosting Gerhard Gruber, witnessing his gifts and sharing a delight in the wonderful films from Austria. We would like to thank again the Austrian Embassy in Canberra for giving us the opportunity to hear this amazing pianist, and to let you know that you have an extraordinary ambassador in Gerhard Gruber.
I am already entering into discussions to see how we may be able to have Mr.Gruber play again next year, with perhaps the inclusion of some New Zealand films in the programme. The response from the community here has been astonishing, with several venues wanting to host his next visit and schools interested in having their students attend performances.
My husband and I join others in Rotorua in looking forward to further strengthening our relationship with our remarkable new friend.
Moata McNamara Mitai-Ngatai