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
1. Where did the name ‘Clash’ come from?The name Clash came from ‘The Clash’ London Calling record. I knew I wanted to start a streetwear business that specialised in British style and I had been actively listening to bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Specials, The Buzzcocks, Sioux and the Banshees. I had always had a fascination with Britain and the underground street culture that existed around the punk movement in London as I feel that was also when fashion really developed in an individual way rather than a collective. I was sitting back one night listening to a record and noticed the London Calling record at the front of my vinyl stack. It was then I realised how important the word ‘Clash’ was. The bands I was listening to inspired my belief that when it comes to fashion and music there are no right and wrong. Just an open mind that I think does ‘Clash’ with the ideas and ways fashion is presented to people today. People are almost fearful when it comes to fashion and if they don’t have that particular ‘piece’ that is in right now then they won’t be keeping up. These bands and their message to me was to do your own thing and expressing yourself in your own way is so important.
2. Have you always been involved in fashion?
Yes – I worked around clothing retail for a long time. It wasn’t necessarily ‘fashion’ but it taught me a lot about people and their buying habits. It also taught me customer service which is the most important skill to have in any retail job. Starting from a retail assistant I progressed to regional manager looking after handfuls of stores. Previous employers have been both Amazon and Huffer.
3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mainly musicians and not because they all have amazing style but because they tend to be the ones that ‘get’ the power of individuality. If I was to give you a style icon I would say any of the characters on Brighton Rock or Snatch. Real cool British gangsters. Or anyone in the band ‘The Specials’.
4. Who buys your clothes?
Haha mostly my parents! I don’t think it’s sympathy but my Dad in particular knows and feels my passion for what we are doing and really enjoys hearing the history of the brands and styles I try and buy in. But I think the beauty of the era that Clash is inspired by is that it attracts young and old. We have sold our Harrington Jackets to men in their 70’s and to men in their 20’s. We attract younger teen girls but also women wanting something they haven’t seen before. So it’s really a mix of ages from different locations.
5. You stock some great brands – do you have a hero label?
I do. Before we had opened the store 4 years ago I had done so much research into brands and how to get them in. So I continue to buy in product and brands for Clash, always on the lookout for something a little different and unique. People say I am a little quirky, so I guess that may come across in some of the styles we get in.
Dr Martens. My favourite brand. Their history and quality is what I love. Everyone can connect in some way to Docs. I love it when we get someone who tells us their story of when they purchased their first pair back in the day or on the flipside when we get a younger customer coming in who is so excited to be getting their first pair. Their styles are timeless.
6. Do you use social media? Which platforms?
We have a pretty large Facebook following which we find helps with getting people to the website. Instagram is small but growing. We also have Twitter. All of these really do help to get the word out.
7. Does ‘Clash’ get involved in NZ Fashion Week or other catwalk shows? Or are you editorial only?
No – Fashion Week isn’t really something we really believe in. We have supported many musicians in the past so often our ‘models’ have been onstage jamming! We are keen to look at other avenues but at the moment like the idea of sticking to our values in having product that everyone can be a part of. Not just a select group.
8. What is you go-to magazine for fashion?
I don’t really have one but I am reading Billy Idol’s autobiography so that would be it at the moment!!
9. Do you think New Zealanders are fashion-conscious?
Depends on what part of the country you are from. I’m originally from Christchurch and have lived in every major city in NZ. I was glad to get away from the overly conservative scene in Christchurch. I found Dunedin to be an amazing place for unique style at a really low budget. People dress amazing down those ways and really feel comfortable with the style they have and the people they are. Wellington is super hip. A mix of op shopping students to wealthy business people with cash to spend. I find Auckland to be an almost smaller fashion scene in the way that it centres around Ponsonby. It’s very trend focused and it seems that a lot of people up here are guided by the Kardashians. I guess being in the big smoke sometimes it feels like there’s more pressure to blend in? We will always try to stick to what inspires us and hopefully that inspires other kiwis! On the whole I think New Zealanders like to dress nice and ultimately it’s someone’s inner self that creates true style.
10. What is the best way to buy from ‘Clash’?
Director: Melissa Fergusson
DOP: Tim Butler-Jones
1st AD/Sound Tech: Rob Ipsen
Art Department: Lina Cruz
Makeup & Hair Stylist: Angela Crumpe
Rent boy: Lee ah yen Faatoia
Stripper: Christine Becker
Probation officer: Baz Te Hira
Homeless man: Gabriel Henry
John: Michael Hallows
Special thanks: Paper Bag Princess, Christine Becker, Four Eyes Media, Rebecca Parr, Cafe Al-Madina, Topic Rentals, Splice & LYC.
Director: Melissa Fergusson
DOP: Tim Butler-Jones
1st AD/Sound Tech: Rob Ipsen
Location Manager: John Blackman
MUA: Angela Crumpe
Hair Designer: Jordan Camilleri
Stylist: Melissa Fergusson
Refugee: Rebecca Parr
Psych patient: Gaby Turner
Counsellor: Rob Ipsen
Foreigner: John Blackman
Dealer: Baz Te Hira
John: Rhys Collier
Featured extras: Laura Ehlen-Wilson, Olliver Fergusson, Hudson Turner, Cooper Turner
Special thanks to Katherine Hair, The Rose Centre, John Blackman, Paper Bag Princess, Love Your Condom, Splice, Four Eyes Media & Donna Banichevic-Gera x