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The third Festival of Colour launched officially last night to an audience of patrons, sponsors and benefactors with a special preview of Grahame Sydney’s new documentary, Dreaming of El Dorado: the Old Dunstan Road.
After a mihi by Otakou iwi kaumata Matt Ellison followed by a stirring waiata, Festival chairman John Beattie said it was the huge sense of participation and community ownership that makes the Festival of Colour so special. He also announced the Festival had committed $75,000 into developing new work, putting a significant proportion of its income back into the arts.
Renowned New Zealand artist, Grahame Sydney introduced his new work saying that the evening reminded him of his first solo exhibition as a painter in 1972. “I was as nervous as I am tonight and had no thoughts that I would succeed, I just had a dream that I would be a painter. The only difference between then and now is a vast number of years, it is the same courageous step that I have long waited to do. Film is a whole new world that I enjoy very much and I don’t intend on stopping now, whatever happens tonight! This project was born out of a great love of mine for this province and its landscape and the feeling it is worthy of intense respect. I hope the film will go some way to persuade people to love it as much as I do.”
The documentary chronicles the landscape over 150 years, beginning with the hardship of the early settlers in Dunedin and the lure of gold in Central Otago, moving to present day with how the region’s waterways have born the brunt of progress. Each frame is beautifully composed, capturing the essence of the stark and memorable landscape of Central Otago.
“It is a very beautiful Grahame Sydney work with stunning cinematography, lingering on the iconic Central Otago landscape- it’s a painter’s film,” said festival director, Philip Tremewan.
Dreaming of El Dorado has three public showings as a work in progress as part of the WildSouth Film Festival at Cinema Paradiso with tickets available on the door for $5. For further information, visit www.paradiso.net.nz
The Festival of Colour takes place on 28 April to 3 May 2009 with tickets still available for a number of shows and is generously supported by Central Lakes Trust, The Community Trust of Otago, Creative New Zealand, Infinity Investment Group, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Aurora. For further information and ticket sales visit www.festivalofcolour.co.nz