Hot Air filmmaker to speak

Last updated 12:59 26/08/2014
Hot air documentary
Fairfax NZ

National MP Shane Arden drove a vintage tractor up the steps at Parliament during a 2003 protest - one of the incidents detailed in the new documentary Hot Air, screening on Thursday as part of the International Film Festival in Hamilton.

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Filmmaker Alister Barry will give Hamilton audiences a personal introduction to his new documentary Hot Air, at the International Film Festival on Thursday.

The 92-minute long film tells the story of the politics of climate change in New Zealand since 1988, when it first became a serious political issue, until 2008 when the Emissions Trading Scheme was passed into law.

There is a postscript about what has happened since.Barry is a member of the filmmaking collective Vanguard Films and has worked in the New Zealand cinema industry since the 1970s. His directorial work includes Someone Else's Country, a feature on the new right revolution in New Zealand, and The Hollow Men, a feature documentary of the Nicky Hager book of the same name.

Barry will introduce Hot Air, co-directed with Abi King-Jones, at the Lido Cinema tomorrow at 8.30pm and at midday on Friday. A question and answer session will follow at the conclusion of each film screening.

The film had its premiere in the International Film Festival's residency in Wellington, where it sold out with 40 people on a waiting list for tickets. Since then it has been screened as part of the festival in Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch and Nelson.

Barry said Hot Air gives audiences an insight into 20 years of political struggle between politicians, scientists and activists wanting to reduce New Zealand's emissions, and corporate leaders and their lobbyists working to protect profits and commercial advantage.

''All my feature documentaries deal with the exercise of power, political power, in New Zealand. Another way of putting it is to say they all examine, by way of case histories, the way our democracy works and doesn't work.

:This sort of examination can't be done in a three minutes interview on Campbell Live and, anyway, TV just doesn't want to do this sort of thing because of its need to maintain a mass audience of consumers rather than a mass audience of citizens.:

Making Hot Air and it's predecessors had proved an educational experience for Barry himself.

''The really important thing I learnt was the extent to which power in our society has steadily shifted with neoliberalism to the corporate elite and away from our democratic institutions. And the way that corporate elite, who have names and brush their teeth just like the rest of us, use professional highly paid lobbyists to get what they want. This film is at one level the story of how a new society is quietly being constructed without our noticing. The lobbyists call it 'the insider strategy'.''

Tickets for the Hamilton screenings are on sale directly from the Lido.For more information on the documentary go to hotairfilm.co.nz or the film festival website nziff.co.nz.

mike.mather@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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