Backstabbing, disputes mar Shihad documentary

REVEALED: Backstabbing and a battle for control have been revealed in the making of a Shihad documentary.
REVEALED: Backstabbing and a battle for control have been revealed in the making of a Shihad documentary.

Backstabbing and a battle for control have been revealed in the making of a Shihad documentary, which neither of its directors will have seen completed until tonight's premiere.

Award-winning director Sam Peacocke was brought in to take over the reins of Shihad: Beautiful Machine at the start of last year after the original director, Graeme Tuckett, was fired.

Peacocke says he and producer Pacific Lightworks did not see eye to eye on aspects of the film, which profiles arguably New Zealand's biggest rock band.

"Since [editor] Cushla Dillon and I finished the edit I haven't really been involved in any of the post-production from then on. I can kind of see, I think, what Graeme may have found difficult."

Producer Grant Roa labelled Peacocke artistically exceptional but "sociably inept", and said the film had always been "purely" producer-driven. "Sam was brought in as a director for hire."

Tuckett, a Dominion Post reviewer who wrote the film's original treatment, saw a cut a few months ago that had "a lot less live" music than the treatment he wrote specified. "I walked out quite disappointed."

About a week into directing, he was fired after disagreements with producers.

"In hindsight it was a relief to get out of there. I was very, very uncomfortable with the amount of artistic control the producers wanted to have over the film, and that was never pointed out at the outset.

"Sam and I get on very well and I am extremely perturbed to hear of his experiences as the director."

Peacocke said: "They were just quite negative about Graeme, and I just don't think it was warranted at all. I think he did a good job."

He said he had not been invited to speak at tonight's premiere, but would be there as a guest of Shihad lead singer Jon Toogood.

He hoped the film would turn out as he had planned but remained uncomfortable. "I'm not quite sure what's going to play ... because of the lack of communication. I just don't really feel part of it any more."

Roa said the director had in fact been invited to speak at the opening.

Asked if there had been a lack of communication from producers, he said: "I think everyone is to blame but I'm not sure."

The film got $813,900 in NZ Film Commission funding. It premieres at The Embassy in Wellington tonight.

Contact Tom Hunt
Porirua reporter
Email: tom.hunt@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @tomdom76

The Dominion Post