Logline: The story of an Auckland landmark, Unitec's Building One, from Psychiatric Hospital to Art & Design School told through the eyes of its former and current inhabitants. Filmed inside the building of which the future is uncertain.
Length: 27:53 min
Director: Bertie Plaatsman
Producer: Bertie Plaatsman
About the director and producer:
Bertie Plaatsman is a documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Auckland, New Zealand.
With her intimate and sensitive approach she captures people and their everyday lives in an authentic way, creating moving stories to which people can relate.
Her first documentary Close to Home won the Best New Zealand Short Award at the Documentary Edge Film Festival in 2014.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Film festival directors and journalists.
Release date: November 2014
Congratulations! Why did you make a film called Building One?
There are a few reasons why I made this film. Building One is the name of the iconic building where I studied Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts at Unitec Institute of Technology. I love old buildings with character, and it was a great place to study.
I was intrigued by its past as a psychiatric hospital, and wondered how the spaces had been used, who the former inhabitants were, and how they had experienced the building.
Also, the future of the building is uncertain as it is not earthquake proof, and I wanted to show the character of the place, as a tribute to the building and its former and present occupants.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It will pleasantly surprise you! These personal stories are moving and uplifting, and will give an insight into how it was, and is, to work, live, and study in this beautiful, landmark building.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I am interested in capturing people and their lives in an authentic way. By sharing people’s personal stories, we get the chance to understand and appreciate each other, and ourselves, better. Our stories may not always be the same, but we can relate to people’s emotions, and they are universal as we are all interconnected.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The film was unscripted. The original idea was to have the people’s voices speak over images of the building, without showing the people themselves. This all changed when I took Sue, a former nurse, through the building to talk about how the spaces were used when she worked there. I had not planned to film her straightaway, but that is exactly what happened, and her interviews in the film are her first experience of being back in the building after it had closed down as a hospital more than 20 years before.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback I have received has been positive, heart-warming and encouraging.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
A lot of people said that they wished the film was longer with more stories. It has encouraged me to keep following my heart and to keep making films.
One of the unexpected and rewarding aspects of making this film was that the people I interviewed, especially former staff, said it had been therapeutic for them to be back in the building after such a long time.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am hoping that more viewers will get interested and go and watch the film. It is not always easy for filmmakers to get their films “out there” and www.wearemovingstories.com is a great initiative and platform to reach more audiences. It would also be great if film festival directors become interested in showing the film in their festivals.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Film Festival Directors and Journalists.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope the audience will be moved and inspired by the stories the people share, and will gain a greater understanding of what a unique place this is, and how many lives it has touched, and is still touching today.
What’s a key question that will begin a conversation about this film?
There is not really a question. Viewers may start a conversation with other people, or they may have an internal conversation about whatever aspect of the film they were touched by.
Would you like to add anything else?
I am immensely grateful to people who share their personal stories. We are all in this world together and even though circumstances may not be the same, sharing experiences can make us see things in a different light, and move and inspire us in many ways.
There is so much suffering in the world and I always hope that through my work viewers will be uplifted or inspired or both.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am in the process of creating a new documentary film, doing research, talking to, and filming people for that. There are always moving stories that need to be told, and heard! www.bertieplaatsman.com
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela