New Zealand - Rotorua Silent Film Festival 2008on YouTube REPORT ON SILENCE!
FESTIVAL OF SILENT FILM
ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND APRIL 2008
The festival, extending over three days 17th-19th April, opened with a
Whakatau, a Maori greeting and blessing for the festival, for our
distinguished guest pianist Gerhard Gruber, and for extending our
knowledge and relationship with Gerhard’s country of origin, Austria.
Audiences were immediately impressed by Mr.Gruber’s virtuosity on the
piano, knowledge of the genre and by the quality of the Austrian films
While the highlight of the festival was the films and accompaniment, we
also enjoyed the depth of discussion around Austrian silent films and
filmmakers and the subjects of the films shown.
Local readers translating for the audiences accompanied films with
German subtitles, and a local guitarist accompanied one film. Gerhard
Gruber also gave a workshop, encouraging other performers and musicians
to become involved in working with silent film.
The final showing, of the Michael Curtiz film Sodom and Gomorrha, was
introduced by an account of the biblical story by a local Anglican
minister. The performance concluded with a response by a Professor from
Auckland University of Technology. This opening of discussion around
the films proved very interesting and we hope to extend this to other
films in the future.
Rotorua has been extraordinarily fortunate to have the privilege of
hosting Gerhard Gruber, witnessing his gifts and sharing a delight in
the wonderful films from Austria. We would like to thank again the
Austrian Embassy in Canberra for giving us the opportunity to hear this
amazing pianist, and to let you know that you have an extraordinary
ambassador in Gerhard Gruber.
I am already entering into discussions to see how we may be able to
have Mr.Gruber play again next year, with perhaps the inclusion of some
New Zealand films in the programme. The response from the community
here has been astonishing, with several venues wanting to host his next
visit and schools interested in having their students attend
My husband and I join others in Rotorua in looking forward to further
strengthening our relationship with our remarkable new friend.
Moata McNamara Mitai-Ngatai