New Zealand Len Lye film wins top prize at Amsterdam Film Festival

Thursday 8 July 2010, 10:26AM

By Creative New Zealand


The film Art that Moves, funded by Creative New Zealand’s Screen Innovation Production Fund (SIPF), has just won the Van Gogh Award, one of the top prizes at the July 2010 Amsterdam Film Festival.

Art That Moves, directed by Roger Horrocks and produced by Shirley Horrocks, dramatizes the moment when sixteen-year old Len Lye has “the best idea of his life” for a new art of movement - a “Eureka!” moment for the New Zealand-born artist who went on to become a famous film-maker and kinetic sculptor.

A dramatic image from the film, showing Lye’s silhouette head, introduces the film section of the latest Creative NZ Funding Guide.

The Amsterdam Film Festival received submissions from 20 countries. “The quality of the work that we had the honour of reviewing was simply astounding. Judging from among this exceptionally high calibre of filmmaking talent proved to be extremely difficult, as there were so many unique, well-made and worthy projects.”

The Amsterdam Festival describes its philosophy as seeking to “recognize films that have the potential to move audiences and change perceptions. The Festival is devoted to filmmakers…who live for the art of filmmaking and who recognize the passion that lies within each work. Much like Amsterdam itself, the Amsterdam Film Festival contains a unique mix of art and expression.”

Director Roger Horrocks (who has written extensively on Lye’s art, and once worked as his studio assistant) says: “We are delighted that Amsterdam should respond so strongly to our film about a New Zealand artist. Other European festivals are now inviting the film, and this year’s Anima Festival in Poland intends to celebrate Lye as a great figure in film history.

“Art that Moves was filmed by Leon Narbey, using one of the new digital Red cameras, and it has a music soundtrack by the New Zealand composer Eve de Castro-Robinson. I was fortunate to have a well-known film-maker - my wife Shirley - as producer, and quite a few family members to make up the cast, including my son Dylan (creator of the graphic novel Hicksville, just published by VUP) who created the drawings that we imagine the teenage Lye producing. Four-year-old Oscar also did a great job of performing Lye’s first ‘Eureka’ moment, booting a shiny tin can and discovering he could create not only a mighty din but amazing light effects!”