Soulful film about Central Otago gets world premiere

Pictured: A scene from the film Central to the Soul.

The documentary film Central to the Soul, which deals with the communities of Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes districts via music, has been given a world premiere at the Doc Edge Festival. It will be screened at the Q Theatre in Auckland on June 7.

The director, Bill Morris, said the film had been the brainchild of Steve Thomas, founder and director of Arts on Tour. Thomas approached Morris last year and between them they came up with the concept for the doco in a Dunedin cafe.

“The film was been received very well,” Morris said.

“I think people from all parts of New Zealand can see something they recognise in its celebration of community spirit. I think we all have a nagging sense that something is in danger of being lost in the rush of modern life and I hope this film gives people a glimpse of what that might be.”

Morris said one highlight was seeing Flora Knight and Sean Donald getting the crowd up waltzing at the Lowburn concert, a moment epitomising the spirit of small-town Central Otago.   

Thomas urged those who weren’t in Auckland or Wellington to encourage friends and family in those centres to attend a screening of Central to the Soul.

He said the karakia at the opening and closing of the film was recited by Waiariki Parata-Taiapa and recorded in Karitange, Otago, on February 15, 2019.

The opening and closing scenes are where a bridge once stood, Pōtiki-whata-rumaki-nao, which formed a natural pathway across the Kawarau River. The bridge was integral for Māori as a mahika kai (seasonal food-gathering practice) route to travel to Central Otago, where they gathered food and collected pounamu.


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