1. Tell me about your latest project?
I have been working on a feature film project with writer Thomas Sainsbury
over the last couple of years. It’s not horror, more a continuing
interest/exploration of characters on the fringes of society.
2. Who is your greatest inspiration in film and why?
Luis Bunuel, a Surrealist film maker. Because his films reveal that the
unconscious plays a huge role in our conscious lives and his stories move
seamlessly between dream, fantasy and reality. Bunuel’s first film with
Salvador Dali, Un Chien Andalou, was an inspiration for my own first short
film Circadian Rhythms and the follow up feature film Angel Mine.
3. Is horror your preferred genre, as a filmmaker?
Horror is a genre that encompasses a wide range of approaches to telling
stories. I am interested in the psychological and supernatural/magical
elements of our consciousness and the horror genre best describes the
exploration of these areas.
4. What do you love about directing?
I love the process of working creatively with others to organically
manifest emotional atmospheres which audiences can engage and resonate
with. Creativity requires participation without fear, and directors role is
to enrol cast and crew into a shared vision that ultimately takes on its
5. What lessons have you learnt as a prolific filmmaker?
Communication skills are very important at all stages of the film making
process. You have to give yourself permission to make films, if you wait
for “others” to bestow permission, you may be waiting a long time. Most
importantly don’t project your vision on the universe, rather see your
vision in what the universe is showing you.
6. Tell me about your most successful film?
Death Warmed Up, 1984, is likely the film that has travelled the world most
successfully and continues to be requested Internationally for relicensing.
Unfortunately this film has a backstory that is tragic. The original film
negative was burnt mistakenly by the Lab in Wellington. The 35mm Inter-
negative is lost in America. No complete 35mm prints exist, and over 32
cuts were made to one of the few one inch tape copies of Death Warmed Up to
survive. So Death Warmed Up has a very bitter sweet place in my life.
7. What is the most memorable film you have seen and why?
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner would have to be the ground breaking film along
with Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead that fuelled certain elements of the vision
presented in Death Warmed Up.
8. Do you think the dvd is now redundant?
DVD’S will have an on-going role in private collections and specialised
lending institutions. Mass consumption is moving with the digital times
towards watching online and downloading. I am sorry to see the DVD lose its
position and predict there will be no DVD stores left within two years.
9. What makes a good story?
Anything that engages one emotionally that allows universal
truth/understanding to emerge, exploration of the microcosm allows
reflection on the macrocosm.
10. Lastly, any advice for emerging filmmakers?
Stick with your vision of the project. It’s a marathon not a sprint. You
need to pace yourself through the inevitable highs and lows. Time is the
micro budget film makers biggest supporter. Flexibility around cast and
crews life commitments, allow a window of opportunity, that ensure you get
the best from everybody whether they are being paid or not.
A lot of people ask Melissa why she named her project ‘Whore’.
The reason being is that sex workers’ claim that name. Melissa wrote six monologues about street sex workers in late 2013. Three actors each performed two monologues, to sell-out audiences in Auckland & Wellington in 2014.
“Whore consists of six beautifully structured monologues performed serially by three actors. The text was constructed by Fergusson from extensive interviews with sex workers and it’s exceptional. She has consulted with the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective and the entire show has a sense of authenticity that is at the heart of its success because successful it truly is.” – Lexie Matheson, ONZM
Now adapted to screen, six short films: Illegal Migrant, Married Woman, Underage Sex Worker, Rent Boy, Transgender & Refugee each runs for 12 minutes; based on true stories of street sex workers living in Auckland.
“An emotionally effecting and unflinching series of short films that sets out to reveal the real and human side to people who work under the label of “sex worker” and achieves this objective with aplomb.” – Kathryn Burnett, Award-Winning Screenwriter
Melissa is the Creative Director of charlatan clinic; she has directed over twenty theatre productions, six short films and is writing her first feature film presently.
Whore Films @ Capitol Cinema, 610 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland on July 20 & 21 at 8pm, 2016. Tickets available from http://www.iticket.co.nz
Can I get my dream body in 8 weeks? They say you can, so therefore I’m training with the best: Laura Ehlen-Wilson who has been in the fitness industry for 14 years specialising in Pilates, strength training & body conditioning. Laura & I are working on nutrition as well as fitness, to achieve optimum results in 50 days! There isn’t a magic wand to miraculously look 22 years younger – there’s just physical hard work and self discipline. Here is the start of my journey on being the best I can be in early April 2016. Does it really matter what you put in your mouth? Not when you’re 14, however in your 30’s your body starts to rebel. I don’t have any allergies nor phobias. I don’t take diet pills or laxatives. It’s all about truth with no filters. Transparency peeps. Making it happen, one day at a time.
Photographer: Tim Butler-Jones
Stylist: Melissa Fergusson
Talent: Laura Ehlen-Wilson
MUA: Rebecca Alexander
Location: Good Fellas Fitness
Wardrobe: Lululemon, Nike, NZ Boxer
What do you think? After attending the last Social Media Club – Auckland 2014 event this week, I am (still) of the opinion social media is a ‘game changer’ for the greater good. Without Facebook and LinkedIn I wouldn’t have met people virtually all over the world. Twitter is my ‘godsend’ for finding anything with a hashtag. Instagram, Vine & YouTube let me showcase video and stills for free. Yelp & WordPress are global communities, that I applaud. The panel: Pebbles Hopper (Gossip Columnist), Matt Nippert (Reporter) & Rick Shera (Internet Lawyer) discussed the subject of information sharing and the consequences. Pebbles thinks the Internet is revolutionary and social media is a good thing. Matt talked about Google (best search engine), how social media is so immediate with ‘breaking news’ and how data is collected on everybody when posting on FB, swiping your loyalty cards and uploading photos. Corporations build profiles on their customers, spending habits and food preferences. Rick spoke about ‘A Right To Be Forgotten’ legislation here in NZ, copyright and general legal matters. Unanimously they all agreed ‘social media’ is beneficial and what you share with the world – the Internet will always remember.