The first My Year With Helen review is here!

The first My Year With Helen review is here!

Read an excerpt of Flicks' 4 star review of My Year With Helen below:

What a difference losing makes. Helen Clark’s well-documented, ultimately unsuccessful, bid to become United Nations’ Secretary-General may have dented personal dreams, as well as Kiwi aspirations throughout diplomatic, political, and public spheres – but boy has it set Gaylene Preston’s film up to be more than just a victory lap.

While there’s plenty of inside access to Preston’s subject, Clark isn’t as constant a fixture on screen as the title may suggest, allowing the most forthright cases for her to get the gig to be made by others, as well as advancing informed critiques of the U.N.’s historical (and still-present) gender bias. Interviews with Clark and footage of her at work as U.N. Development Program head certainly build a case for her skill set, but the compelling arguments for a woman to finally be appointed Secretary-General, and the optimism of those voicing them, are what contribute to this being such a moving, revealing, documentary when those hopes are eventually dashed.

Read the review in full here.

Gaylene Preston - interview

Gaylene Preston - interview

Kiwi director Gaylene Preston says the debut of her latest documentary "couldn't have been better", with the audience leaping to their feet to applaud the film at its conclusion.

My Year With Helen, which followed former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark as she unsuccessfully campaigned for the role UN Secretary-General, had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival last weekend.

Preston, who had finished editing the film only days before Saturday's screening, says she was delighted with the response from the packed State Theatre.

"When you have your first screening, you don't know how it is going to work with an audience. This was amazing. People laughed quite a lot at things we didn't think would get a laugh and they started clapping at certain points. 

Read the interview in full here.

Devex Q&A with Helen Clark

Q&A: Helen Clark on cracking the glass ceiling and life post-UNDP

It has been less than two months since Helen Clark finished her time at the head of the United Nations Development Programme. But never one to rest or shy away from controversy, Clark is already approaching new challenges head on — including highlighting the United Nations’ lack of transparency in the election of its secretary-general.

At the 2017 Research for Development Impact conference in Sydney on June 13, Clark gave a keynote speech discussing her experience on the value of broad partnerships to deliver sustainable development outcomes. Clark made time to speak with Devex about life post-UNDP and creating chips on the glass ceiling for other women to pierce through where she did not.

You are here in Sydney not just for the Research for Development Impact conference but also the Sydney Film Festival, where they are screening the documentary My Life with Helen about your campaign for U.N. secretary-general. From that experience, does it bring home how important you have been in breaking the glass ceiling for women?

The filmmaker, Gaylene Preston, is one of New Zealand’s best known filmmakers. When she approached me, I said “yes, why not.” At that time, I had made no decision to run for the secretary-general job, so she started because she was interested in me as a change agent.

We started in Botswana and then of course the secretary-general story started to overtake the documentary.

There is always a lot of interest in New Zealand on what Helen is doing, and I think the movie will be of great interest to them. But it is also of broader interest — it sheds light on the opaque processes of the U.N. And that’s something worthy of wider debate.

Read the interview in full here.

Helen Clark - The Guardian interview

Helen Clark - The Guardian interview

Elle Hunt from The Guardian spoke to Helen about the glass ceiling in the UN, as well as a broader discussion of her entire political career.

"In the United Nations’ 72-year history, eight of its nine secretaries general have been decided behind closed doors by a few powerful countries. But not the ninth. Last year’s appointment process resembled American Idol: a public-facing contest with a strong social media component and a side of drama and double-crossing.

When the process to replace Ban Ki-moon got under way in April 2016, it was said to be unprecedented in its transparency. Helen Clark, one of the eight unsuccessful challengers, is quick to put that into context. “The ‘transparency’ – I’ll put that in quotation marks – I don’t think that had any impact on the outcome,” she says. “What it did was expose how opaque the real process was.”

As head of the UN development program, Clark had been considered a strong contender when she announced her candidacy, particularly given the groundswell of support for a female leader. By 30 September – the week before the former Portuguese prime minister António Guterres was confirmed in the top job – her chances had reportedly dwindled to nil.

“I won the public vote, I won the social media scene, I won the staff votes – all of that, but it didn’t matter at all,” says Clark pragmatically, without bitterness. “Clearly, the security council wasn’t looking for someone like me, from a small, independent-minded country, having been an independent-minded leader, who looks at the evidence and makes decisions accordingly.

“That’s fine. That’s the outcome.”

Clark’s experience of the process is the subject of a documentary, My Year with Helen, that screened last weekend as part of the Sydney film festival. What thoughts or feelings did she have, watching her failed bid unfold again, from within the audience?

“You know, I’ve always had a capacity to move on from things very fast,” she says. “That was a pretty intense six-month period and at the end of it I shut the door, went home to see my family and got on with life.”"

Read the interview in full here.

OPINION: New Helen Clark doco shows heights of UN glass ceiling.

OPINION: New Helen Clark doco shows heights of UN glass ceiling.

Newshub's Connor Whitten wrote an opinion piece following watching My Year With Helen at the Sydney Film Festival.

"She may be New Zealand's most high-profile politician - but being diplomatic is no longer a concern for former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Especially when asked about her previous employer.

"There's a very big glass ceiling," Ms Clark recently claimed.

She was talking, of course, about the United Nations, the job she left only two months ago. It's the first time she's spoken with such cutting candour.

And it shows the spectre of workplace sexism extends to the highest offices in the world.

Ms Clark's collision with the UN's glass ceiling is the subject of a new documentary, My Year With Helen, which premiered Saturday at the Sydney Film Festival.

The film should make Kiwis - men and women - hopping mad."

Read the story in full here.

Helen Clark - ABC interview

While in Sydney for the My Year With Helen screening, Helen Clark was interviewed by ABC News about the importance of the film in showcasing the glass ceiling for women.

She said:

"I'm constantly shocked by how little progress the whole world has made."

"The number of women leaders in the world actually peaked a few years ago and is back on the way down."

Watch the interview in full here.

Standing ovation for Helen Clark doco in Sydney

The upcoming documentary following Helen Clark for a year has premiered in Sydney.

My Year With Helen, directed by filmmaker Gaylene Preston, follows the former prime minister in the year she campaigned for the position of UN Secretary General.

Clark shared a photo of her and Preston on Instagram, confirming the film received a standing ovation.

Helen Clark and filmmaker Gaylene Preston at My Year With Helen premiere in Sydney.

Helen Clark and filmmaker Gaylene Preston at My Year With Helen premiere in Sydney.

My Year With Helen's debut in Sydney was reported on by the Daily Mail, who noted the following:

She went from a modest upbringing on a rural farm to becoming New Zealand's first elected female Prime Minister.

And on Saturday, Helen Clark, 67, made her big screen debut at the Sydney Film Festival at State Theatre in Sydney. 

The celebrated politician, who cut a sophisticated figure in a snazzy embroidered coat, joined filmmaker Gaylene Preston at the world premiere of My Year With Helen.

In 2016, Helen attempted to become the United Nations' first ever female Secretary-General.

Gaylene's film follows Helen as she campaigns for the coveted Secretary-General role while also carrying out her work as Administrator of UNDP.

The camera travels with the politician around the world to Botswana, Britain, Spain, the Ukraine and the UN in New York.

Gaylene hoped to showcase the achievements of a female politician in a male dominated field. 

Click here to read the full story.




Gaylene Preston and Helen Clark at Sydney Film Festival - Scoop News

Gaylene Preston and Helen Clark at Sydney Film Festival - Scoop News


The 64TH Sydney Film Festival announces Korean-American actor and The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun will join director and 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or contender Bong Joon-ho, and Australian actor Daniel Henshall (Snowtown) at the Sydney Film Festival in June (7-18). Their film Okja will premiere at the Festival, direct from sparking controversy in Cannes.

The Festival also reveals former New Zealand Prime Minister and UN Secretary-General candidate Helen Clark will attend with director-producer Gaylene Preston for the World Premiere of her documentary My Year with Helen.

These Festival guests join an incredible line-up with some of the world’s most exciting filmmakers and industry stars, both local and international.

Festival audiences can see and hear from Oscar-winning actor and political activist Vanessa Redgrave, Hollywood based Emmy-winning actor Ben Mendelsohn, Cannes-winning Indigenous director Warwick Thornton, 2017 Berlinale Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize winner Alain Gomis, 2017 Berlinale Golden Bear winner Ildikó Enyedi, Australian director-writer-producer David Wenham, Red Dog director Kriv Stenders, and acclaimed Indigenous actor and director Wayne Blair.

These luminaries and many more will join audiences at the premieres of their films, in talks, panels and at Q&A sessions. The Hub at Town Hall will also host FREE Meet the Filmmaker talks: a collaboration between the Sydney Film Festival and Vivid Ideas, part of the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney.


• Oscar-winning actor and political activist Vanessa Redgrave and producer and son Carlo Nero | Sea Sorrow | Cannes selected directorial debut by the 80-year-old about the global refugee crisis | Talk at The Hub (Saturday 17 June, 2pm)

• Former NZ Prime Minister and UN Secretary-General candidate Helen Clark and director- producer Gaylene Preston | My Year with Helen | Extended Q&A in the Town Hall Vestibule about the year-long project (Saturday 10 June 6:30pm)

• 2017 Cannes Palme d'Or contender Bong Joon-ho, Korean-American actor and The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun and Australian actor Daniel Henshall (Snowtown) | Okja | Closing Night | Netflix film starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Daniel Henshall and An Seo-hyun.

Read the full article here

Gaylene Preston: My Year With Helen - RNZ

Gaylene Preston: My Year With Helen - RNZ

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark is signing off after eight years at the United Nations.

Online tributes have been pouring in marking her two terms as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Filmmaker Gaylene Preston and her team spent a year with Clark at the UN making the documentary My Year With Helen.

Preston says it was good luck more than anything that meant they were filming when the race for Secretary General was on, which also gave them an insight into how Clark “spruced up” the UNDP.

“The tributes to Helen all point out how she had reformed the organisation made it more efficient. She’s clearly been effective within the UNDP.”

Preston says that was evident from spending long workdays with Clarke.

“If you spend time in anyone’s office, you can tell whether it functions or it doesn’t. Helen runs a very functional good-humoured, working office.”

Gender parity is another of Clark's achievements, Preston says.

“Now down the line, all the areas, top to bottom are 50 percent. Helen is rigorous in terms of systems.”

Preston says her film crew captured Clark’s tilt at the top job and the arcane processes surrounding the election.

“We filmed three tribes – the diplomats, the press and the civil society groups – all with very different kaupapa, rubbing along together, trying to get a handle on what’s happening.

“Everything was transparent to a certain point, then it went behind a wall of secrecy where the process became almost papal.”

She says of Clark’s campaign: “We see what resilience really is.”

“I hope we get out of this documentary a discussion about what does it take for women to become global leaders?

“Because it seems to me that once women are in the leadership seat everybody settles down, and they seem to be good leaders and they seem to last for quite some time.”

Despite this, of the UN’s 193 members only 22 are women and the UN itself is falling some way short of its own gender parity standards, says Preston.

“We just keep seeing men in suits. It’s crazy, it’s not doing our species any good.

In the last contest [for secretary general] 50 percent [of the candidates] were women, and as soon as there were straw polls the women were at the bottom of the heap. Helen wasn’t the only hugely qualified woman, but she was the most qualified, and the most high profile, and the one the staff at the UN voted for. But they gave it to the best man.”

Read the article and listen to Gaylene talk with Jesse Mulligan here

Helen Clark doco to premiere at Sydney Film Festival – New Zealand Herald

Helen Clark doco to premiere at Sydney Film Festival – New Zealand Herald

A documentary about former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark will debut in Australia.

Made by Kiwi filmmaker Gaylene Preston, My Year With Helen has been confirmed to debut at the Sydney Film Festival on June 10.

The film follows Clark in her 2016 campaign to become the United Nations' first ever-female Secretary-General.

It is described as casting "a wry eye on proceedings as the United Nations chooses a new Secretary General" with "unique access" to Clark.

Clark served as the Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008. My Year With Helen will go on to screen as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival in July.

Read the article here