From the Archives...

Posted Tuesday 26 Jan 2016

Since it's summer and you still have time... we have this lovely interview with WIFT member Roseanne Liang done by another WIFT member Ruth Dunphy from 2011 for you to read...

1. After Banana in a Nutshell was released you received hate mail from white supremacists claiming that you are single-handedly threatening the future of the white race and now your first feature is about to be released. How do you possibly find the time for all of this?

Contrary to popular belief, it's surprisingly easy to be a worldly threat. Making a feature film, however�.

2. You are firmly established as an award winning writer and director. Were you presented with any obstacles getting to this place in terms of your gender?

No, I don't think so. If anything, my pre-conceptions of myself were probably the biggest obstacle. A lot directors and writers face self-doubt - 'I'm a fraud, I got lucky, I'm winging it, they'll see me for the fake I am' type of stuff - and for me the biggest problem is wanting people to like me. Is that a gender thing? I guess I do worry that people see me as this little girl who is sensitive and fragile, and getting worked up about winning approval doesn't help. Jane Campion said something about how there are less women directors because women are more sensitive to criticism, and we need to toughen up. I think there could be some truth in that. It's not about being more of an asshole and caring less about other people's opinions; it's about having greater conviction in my own.

3. Your name and occupation is often preceded by your Chinese ethnicity. Do you mind being defined like this or would you rather just be 'Roseanne Liang - writer and director'?

I don't mind being introduced as a Chinese New Zealander. I think New Zealand is getting to a point as a multicultural society that'll cease to be noteworthy. So far, a lot of my films have explored ideas of ethnicity and culture and diasporic identity issues, and I feel that while these things will always be an important dimension of who I am, I am keen to tell some stories that don't put those issues front and centre. The wonderful director Ang Lee springs to mind - he seems to have done that wonderfully in his career. His cultural heritage is always present but not always the focus.

4. 'My Wedding and Other Secrets' is based on 'Banana in a Nutshell' which focuses on your inter-racial relationship and the struggle to understand your traditional Chinese parents' less- than- positive reaction to the relationship. How was the process of transforming a documentary into a dramatic piece?

The first thing we did was change the names! I co-wrote the film with Angeline Loo because I knew I needed someone who could provide a sort of objectivity from the real-life events. Ange and I were at film school when I was making the documentary, so as an outside eye with an inside knowledge, she was the perfect person for this script.

We would be arguing about a plot point and I would say "But that would never happen!" And she would say something like " O.K but this character is not that person." It was an often difficult, but ultimately rewarding experience. Rachel Lang was our script advisor, and she would say things like " this is a story about a selfish girl who takes all the people who love her for granted, in the most well -meaning way". I'd say " Hey! Now hang on a minute!�" and then think about it. Interesting way to self-evaluate, for sure!

5. 'Banana in a Nutshell' seemed to me to be a documentary that was essentially about love. You and Stephen have been married for a few years now. How is married life?

Due to our liberal tendencies, I think Stephen and I underestimated the significance of a proper wedding, especially for my parents. It was almost as if the very act of naming Stephen my husband gave him a weight and importance that a 'boyfriend' could never have. My mum welcomed him into her house with a surprising enthusiasm (he hadn't really been invited in before). She would ask if I fed him properly, and found out what his favourite dishes were (peking duck, for the record), always ordering them when he was at the table. It was wonderful and a bit weird, the way it changed almost overnight !

Stephen and I's relationship is entering its teens now, and we are still pretty solid. Like any relationship it changes and grows and needs tending, but each new challenge has so far brought its own set of rewards. I'm so lucky to have him (soppy much?).

6. Your parents were initially disappointed with your choice of career, preferring you to keep up the family tradition and become a doctor. How do they feel about your choice now?

I think they've been worn down over the years, and hardly mention it these days! Kenneth Tsang and Cheng Pei Pei played the parents in the film, and they are well-known movie stars, particularly in Hong Kong. My parents had dinner with them while they were here, and Kenneth told them that he is at a point in his life where he can pick and choose the projects he works on. He said that acting is no trivial thing for him, he often gets so worked up about a character that he can't sleep at night. He told them that he felt this film was worth his effort. I snuck a look at my parents and while they would never say to my face that they were proud, I don't think they needed to.

7. You certainly are an inspiration - not only have you faced criticism from white supremacists but also from the Asian community who thought you were pandering to Western fantasies of cultural superiority. How do you remain impervious and focused when faced with such criticism?

I've been getting used to it. When it first happened, it was a real shock to the system. I had to keep asking ' I mean really? Is this for real?' Unfortunately one downside to the freedom of the internet is that the inner dick is unleashed in an awful lot of people. Have you noticed, online anonymity appears to aid a weird proliferation of death threats? A woman explains her style of parenting and gets death threats. A girl goes out with a cute pop star and gets death threats. It's a strange first- resort default of our times. Anyway, I guess it's hard not to be shaken or upset by such random and mindless criticism, but I can't do anything about it. People can accuse me of all sorts of made up things, but I know who I am and what I mean. Also, a wonderful family and quick-witted friends make all the difference. Bless em.

Ruth Dunphy

Next Up...


New Year, New Job

Posted Tuesday 26 Jan 2016

We've stretched the net a bit wider given it is traditionally a lean time in film and telly - but there are some goodies in there so good luck!

The Women's Centre in Auckland are looking for an experienced bookkeeper and administrator to work 20 hours per week at the Centre.

The deadline for applications is 10am, Tuesday 9 February,

The pay is between $26 - $28 per hour

Job interviews are on Friday 12 February

They would like someone to start as soon as possible.

Contact them at

4 Warnock St
Grey Lynn
ph 376 3227 x 7

Internship Program for FilmTV Production - Camera, Sound, Editing, LighitngBroadcast & Film New Zealand Ltd

Internship in a FilmTV production company. We currently supply trainees to reality TV.

 

Comment ModeratorAustralian Associated Press

Review the online comments of readers & be responsible for publishing or rejecting them in line with our client's comment moderation guidelines.

Marketing Executive - Fixed term till May 2017SKY TV

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  • SWITCHED ON in your field?

SKY TV is looking for a creative and enthusiastic person to join our Marketing Team, to assist in the monthly production of our SKYWATCH Magazine.

Creative Traffic ManagerNZME. New Zealand Media & Entertainment

Could YOU be the one? The orderer of disorder, sworn enemy of chaos, the Master Juggler of Deadlines we've been waiting for?

Creative Media Production TechnicianMassey University

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Manage the technical resource development and support of the of the new Bachelor of Creative Media Production.

Arts and Culture Project ManagerAuckland Council

Great opportunity to combine your love of Arts and Culture with your Project Management experience!

Arts and Culture Programmer (12 Months Fixed Term)Auckland Council

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  • Engage with local networks, artists and creative Aucklanders

Develop and deliver engaging programmes alongside the local community.

Producer | Internal ProductionsMaori Television

Join Maori Television as a Producer - Internal Productions.

Broadcast EngineerNew Zealand Racing Board

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We have an excellent opportunity for a mature, self-motivated, hardworking and customer focused Broadcast Engineer.

Motion Graphic DesignerTVNZ

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TVNZ Blacksand is on the hunt for a talented and motivated Motion Graphics Designer.

Caption Producer/Kaihautu Kupu HauraroMaori Television

Join the Language & Subtitling Team as a Caption Producer with Maori Television.

Fluent Programme CommissionerMaori Television

Join Maori Television as a Fluent Programme Commissioner.

Head of Broadcasting Operations - AucklandNew Zealand Racing Board

  • Work with a team of passionate broadcasting professionals
  • Contribute to the Broadcasting strategy
  • Manage one of the largest live broadcasters in NZ

We are looking for an exceptional leader with commercial acumen and strong logistical skills to head our Outside Broadcasting operation

Media Operations Trainee - 12 Month Fixed TermTVNZ

  • Manage the process of ingest, outgest/transfer and playout of all our content
  • You'll need a strong eye for detail
  • Excellent problem solving ability is essential

We're looking to add to our fantastic team of Media Controllers with a motivated trainee for a 12 month fixed-term training position.

Programme SchedulerMediaWorks NZ Limited

  • Media Industry
  • Showcase your scheduling skills

Do you have a flair for planning and coordination? Are you a scheduling connoisseur?

Orchestra ManagerManukau Symphony Orchestra

  • Creative
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The Orchestra Manager is responsible for the concert-to-concert related management of the orchestra

Promotions CoordinatorMediaWorks NZ Limited

  • Award winning team
  • Radio brands
  • No two days the same!

Do you love getting out and engaging with people? Are you keen to work with a fabulous team encouraging the public to get involved with our brands?

Duty News Editor: Assignment DeskMediaWorks NZ Limited

  • Media Industry
  • Fantastic Opportunity
  • NZ's largest independent broadcaster

The position is one of the key roles in our new multi-media Newshub operation, servicing MediaWorks' digital, radio and television outlets.

Video Producer / Production ManagerUno Loco Limited

We are seeking an experienced Video Producer / Production Manager who is interested in applying their talent to a range of video projects.

On Air Host/Radio Support Person, Ngati Hine FM Radio Station, WhangareiNgati Hine Health Trust

  • Use your Maori language skills to progress your career in Maori Media
  • An opportunity to engage with local Iwi, Hapu and Community Groups
  • Be part of an Innovative Award Winning team of Radio Profesionals

If you are outgoing, love working with people, and are loaded with personality, then a career awaits YOU with Ngati Hine FM

Senior Producer - The NationMediaWorks NZ Limited

Join TV3's The Nation

Assignments Desk Producer - OvernightMediaWorks NZ Limited

  • Media Industry
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Are you looking for a fantastic start to your journalism career working with the best in the news business?

Resident Cameraman/DOPCamistry Limited

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Vision Switcher OperatorNZ Live Limited

  • Based at our brand new television facility on Stanley Street, Parnell, Auckland
  • NZ's most advanced, independent television services company
  • Relaxed, modern, welcoming work environment - superb location, carpark included

The brief is simple; you need to be experienced, you need to be energetic, you need to be dedicated and you need to know how to enjoy yourself.

Marketing and Ticketing CoordinatorRoyal New Zealand Ballet

  • The opportunity to work for one of New Zealand's leading arts organisations
  • Interesting, varied role within a stimulating, creative environment

The RNZB is seeking a ticketing specialist to join its team of passionate, hardworking marketing professionals.

Programme ManagerBATS Theatre

The BATS Programme Manager is responsible for ensuring the organisational stability and artistic vision of BATS.

Senior MCR OperatorSKY TV

  • Great Opportunities in Auckland
  • Bring your Broadcast experience to a KIWI audience!

SKY TV NZ has a great opportunity for a Senior MCR Operator to join the Master Control Room (MCR) team and bring entertainment to Kiwi