RIFF Movies Archive

Assume Nothing



New Zealand, 2009, Mini_DV - Color - 81 min

DIRECTED BY:
Kirsty MacDonald

CAST:
Rebecca Swan, mani Bruce Mitchell, Ema Lyon, Jack Byrne, Shigeyuki Kihara

SCREENPLAY:
Kirsty MacDonald

PHOTOGRAPHY:
Chris Pryor

EDITING:
Kirsty MacDonald

MUSIC:
Claire Cowan, James Webster, Aphex Twin

SOUND:
Chris Pryor

PRODUCER:
Kirsty MacDonald

PRODUCTION:
Girl-on-a-Bike Films

WORLD SALES:
Smiley Film Sales

STORY DESCRIPTION:

Many of us assume that there are only two genders and that being female or male follows from the sex of our biological bodies. Focusing on the art, photography and performances of five "alternative" gender artists of Maori, Samoan-Japanese, and Pakeha-European descent, Assume Nothing poses the questions: "What if "male" and "female" are not the only options? How do other genders express themselves through art?" Intimate present-day interviews and actuality are interspersed with lush Super-8, 2-D and 3-D animations and beautifully staged performances - blurring the conventions of documentary, animation, drama and gender in the process. Meticulously crafted, playful and provocative, Assume Nothing travels from Wellington’s Red Rocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to explore the potent creative world that flourishes between and beyond genders.
DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:

Kirsty MacDonald is an independent filmmaker based in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2009 she completed her first feature-length documentary and 8 short films exploring alternative gender identity and creativity called Assume Nothing. These films are currently part of an exhibition of the same name touring New Zealand Art Galleries and Museums until 2010. Assume Nothing the feature film has been accepted into numerous international film festivals including Vancouver, DOK Leipzig, Rhode Island and Frameline and was recently a finalist in the 2009 Qantas Film and Television Awards (Best Arts/Festival/Feature Documentary). In 2008 she spent three months in France where she was Niki Caro’s assistant on the feature film The Vintner’s Luck, and shot the “making of” documentary for the film. In 2007, after completing a Masters in Directing Documentary and Scriptwriting at the University of Auckland, MacDonald worked as Vincent Ward’s assistant on the feature documentary-drama Rain of the Children. In 2006 she researched, directed and edited material for the first ANZAC Day Special on Maori Television (at Screentime Productions), and in 2008-9 directed 3 episodes of Kete Aronui for Kiwa Films/Maori Television. MacDonald has also directed several short award-winning digital documentaries including: Black and White (2006) exploring the potent collaboration between intersex activist Mani Bruce Mitchell and acclaimed New Zealand photographer Rebecca Swan, and Good For a Girl (2005), a portrait of the New Zealand Women’s Boxing Champion.

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