Waikato University lecturer’s film screens internationally

10 August 2004
Media release

New Zealand short film Fleeting Beauty has been selected to screen in competition at the Films of Oceana section of the World Film Festival at Montreal this month, and the 49th Valladolid International Film Festival in Spain in October.

Directed by Waikato University lecturer Virginia Pitts, the film is about an Indian woman who traces the spice routes of antiquity on her Kiwi lover’s body. Says Virginia Pitts: “On one level, my aim was to tell a compelling and dramatic story with a touch of magic. On another, I wanted to fuse the intellectual and sensual realms as a way to seduce viewers into thinking about the themes explored in the film – power, trade, and how they so often come together at great cost to humanity.

“It’s an honour to be nominated for awards at such prestigious international festivals, but I am thrilled the film is touring nationally first. Fleeting Beauty is set in New Zealand, shot here, and conveys how immigrant stories can expand the consciousness of a nation.”

Writer/producer Kothari elaborates: “This is a tremendous achievement for an independently funded New Zealand film. We are also delighted that the Valladolid selection enabled us to receive post-production funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.”

Fleeting Beauty stars Indian actress Nandita Das, renowned for her leading roles in the internationally acclaimed hits Fire and Earth. Her pakeha lover is played by New Zealand actor, William Wallace. The film premiered to a warm response in Auckland last month. Critic, Stephen O’Hay, described it as the “standout” film in the Homegrown Works on Film selection.

Shot on 35mm film, Fleeting Beauty is 10 minutes long and will screen in the Homegrown selection at the Hamilton Rialto on Friday 13 August at 4pm, and again on Saturday 14 August at 4.15pm

With financial assistance from the New Zealand Film Commission, Virginia Pitts will present Fleeting Beauty to the Spanish audience at Valladolid, where it is nominated for the Gold and Silver Spike awards.

“The whole point of a film is to communicate to viewers,” says Pitts, “but we have very few chances to experience audience responses to our short films here in New Zealand. I’m extremely grateful to the film commission for providing this opportunity.”

Pitts has received three rounds of development finance from the NZFC for her feature film based on the life of New Zealander, Freda Stark, and hopes to generate further interest in the project whilst in Europe.

Enquiries: Virginia Pitts 021 661 290 vpitts@waikato.ac.nz