Sunday magazine interview Helen and Gaylene

Sunday magazine interview Helen and Gaylene

Given half the chance, New Zealanders not living under a rock at the turn of the millennium will tell you about the time they met Prime Minister Helen Clark. Ribbon-cuttings, corporate keynotes, tree plantings, prize-givings, a ride shared in a Beehive elevator – mention Clark's name in conversation, and your companion will invariably regale you about their brush with Aunty Helen.

Gaylene Preston's tale lasts rather longer than most. The award-winning film-maker's latest documentary, My Year With Helen, is a study in what happens when a woman publicly contests the most prestigious role in international diplomacy. It's also a portrait of resilience in the face of a very public loss.

Given half the chance, New Zealanders not living under a rock at the turn of the millennium will tell you about the time they met Prime Minister Helen Clark. Ribbon-cuttings, corporate keynotes, tree plantings, prize-givings, a ride shared in a Beehive elevator – mention Clark's name in conversation, and your companion will invariably regale you about their brush with Aunty Helen.

Gaylene Preston's tale lasts rather longer than most. The award-winning film-maker's latest documentary, My Year With Helen, is a study in what happens when a woman publicly contests the most prestigious role in international diplomacy. It's also a portrait of resilience in the face of a very public loss.

read more here

NZ Herald interview with Gaylene Preston

NZ Herald interview with Gaylene Preston

Let's start at the beginning - what sparked this idea?

I have to feel really moved to want to do something, I have to feel I've got something to say. I was wanting to make a film that could look at the way the world was going, which didn't seem terrifically good to me. I'm not a journalist and I'm not a current affairs maker, so what could I make? I decided that following Helen Clark about could be quite a good documentary - and it turns out it is.

I had no idea about the Secretary-General changing in 2016. I didn't know I was choosing a hugely historic year to be following her around.

read the full interview here

Gaylene Preston interviewed in DominionPost

Gaylene Preston interviewed in DominionPost

Kiwi film-maker Gaylene Preston says she didn't set out to expose the UN in her latest documentary.

But while My Year With Helen is designed as a portrait of one of our own, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, the focus on her bid to be Secretary General reveals the closed-door politicking and archaic attitudes rife at the supposedly transparent world body.

With candidate-swapping, block voting and vetos, the film suggest an organisation as slippery as the much-maligned IOC or FIFA and a voting process akin to the Vatican's anointing of a new pope. There's even a depiction of white smoke, something Preston puts down to "a little film-makery joke", but that was really billowing just outside the UN that day. 

read the full interview here:

 

Wallace Chapman interviews Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston on RNZ Sunday Morning

Wallace Chapman interviews Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston on RNZ Sunday Morning

What started out as an idea to do a year-long, fly-on the-wall style film about former Prime Minister Helen Clark turned out to be a documentary about an historic process.

Renowned Kiwi filmmaker Gaylene Preston's film My Year With Helen became a study of gender politics and an insight into the closed world of international diplomacy at the United Nation, at a time when the UN was claiming to be transparent in its appointment of its 9th Secretary General. 

Helen Clark, who'd been running the UN Development Programme for more than seven years, was vying for the top UN job, but ultimately lost out to former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.

He became the ninth man to be appointed UN Secretary General - there has never been a woman in the job.

Wallace Chapman spoke to Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston about the film and the process of making it.

Watch below:

Newshub interviews Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston

Newshub interviews Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston

Helen Clark believes she was unsuccessful in her bid to become Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) because the system is rigged against women.

The former Prime Minister of New Zealand made the comments while promoting My Year With Helen, a documentary by Gaylene Preston, which is returning to cinemas soon.

Ms Clark said that while she was proud of all her achievements, including those at the UN, sexism in the organisation meant she never had a chance of landing the top job, regardless of how qualified she was.

"Well it wasn't a fair fight," she said.

See the full story here

Gaylene Preston brings My Year with Helen to Hawkes Bay

Gaylene Preston brings My Year with Helen to Hawkes Bay

An award winning Hawke's Bay filmmaker has shared Helen Clark's bid to become the first woman UN Secretary-General through a moving documentary.

Hawke's Bay is being treated to an advanced screening of Gaylene Preston's My Year with Helen tonight in support of Ikaroa-Rawhiti Labour MP Meka Whaitiri.

The documentary was first screened to a sold-out crowd at The Civic in Auckland during the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Ms Preston said she was looking forward to returning to Hawke's Bay and hoped she would get a similar response here.

Read the full story here

Women in Film and Television interview Gaylene Preston

Women in Film and Television interview Gaylene Preston

WIFT sat down with Gaylene to talk about what she learned from making the film, feminism and how outrage can be invigorating.

At one point in the film, Helen said that women have to believe in themselves and it's up to any woman of influence to encourage others to believe in themselves. Have you always had that confidence or have you learned it over time?
I think you can decide whether you're going to be confident or not. I think resilience is more important, actually. Being able to take the knocks is really the important thing.

Read the full interview here

 

The Spinoff interview with Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston

The Spinoff interview with Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston

Helen Clark’s ill-fated bid for the top job at the UN is documented with extraordinary proximity and passion in My Year with Helen. Alex Casey sits down with the former NZ prime minister and director Gaylene Preston, in an empty foyer at the movies, to discuss the shit that happens.

Of all the firm handshakes in the world, ‘twas Helen Clark’s that nearly crushed my brittle, brittle bones to a very fine dust. Last week – long before the streets of Auckland’s CBD ran red with the sacrificial blood of Don McGlashan – the ex-Prime Minister, ex-Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and tremendous emoji-user was in town with filmmaker Gaylene Preston to yarn about her new documentary My Year With Helen.

Filmed last year during Helen Clark’s bid to secure the position as the first woman secretary general of the UN, My Year With Helen is angering evidence of a reinforced glass ceiling in action. See, no matter how much light it appears to be letting in, a woman is always going to get a big old donk on the head for trying to charge through it. Because, spoiler alert: like a lot of people towards the tail-end of 2016, Clark doesn’t really come out of the experience smiling.

Despite being what looked like a shoo-in to win on paper, a favourite of the media, and surrounded by a group of unwavering optimists, My Year With Helen is all the more fascinating for chalking up a loss over a win. It’s a portrait full of extraordinary candid moments of pause, heavy disappointed air, and a puzzlingly devastating wooden Buzzy Bee atop an office desk. And if that moves you to tears, wait till you see the oceans of curry she cooks for her 94-year-old father back home in Waihi.

Click here to read the full interview.

Flicks.co.nz interview with Gaylene Preston

Flicks.co.nz interview with Gaylene Preston

"FLICKS: I saw the film in Sydney at the State, at the world premiere, which was a great way to kick it off.

GAYLENE PRESTON: I don’t think it gets much better than that. That was my fifth film there at the State. First actual premiere there, and I’ve always found that that’s a great space. It’s a great cinema to show your film and so is [Wellington's] Embassy. The State is like the Embassy times two, really, isn’t it? It’s got a similar vibe, and the Civic is always amazing because the Civic’s a bit more sort of stately, do you know what I mean?

There’s something about a big theatre – like State and the Embassy – where it’s got a real gathering place feel in it.

I don’t know what it looked like from the stage as you came out to greet the audience after the film, but it seems like when you’re in the audience there that there’s great sightlines onto the stage. So I suppose you’re eyeballing people once you’re up there, right?

I’ll tell you what, that is breathtaking. The first time I walked on to that stage at the State cinema… It’s the same with the Civic, actually. I go up there with the lions and you feel like a little ant [laughter]. The space is so big, and when it’s full of people, it’s just got this vibe to it that’s electric. It’s brilliant. And that’s before the film’s screened.

But at the State, that was a memorable moment. There are standing ovations where some people are sitting, clapping, while some people are standing and putting their coats on and it kind of gradually becomes a bit of a standing ovation. But when a huge audience like that just leaps to its feet as one and does a spontaneous thing like that, it was quite something to see."

Click here to read the full interview with Flicks.

Gaylene Preston - The Wireless interview

Gaylene Preston - The Wireless interview

"When Helen Clark announced that she would be putting herself forth as a candidate for the role of Secretary General of the UN in April of last year, many assumed she was a shoe-in. After all, how could Helen - our very own Aunty Helen, who became the first elected female prime minister and went on to become the third highest ranking member of the UN - possibly lose?

But then a lot of things didn’t go as expected in 2016. Brexit passed. Donald Trump was elected. And Helen, along with six other women in the running to be the UN’s first female secretary general, was ultimately unsuccessful and stepped down from her role as head of the UNDP not long after.

For the moment in history in which we find ourselves, the story of Clark’s campaign told by Gaylene Preston’s My Year with Helen could hardly be better timed. Not because it’s a story of defeat - but because it’s a story of strength.

“Helen is resilient”, Preston tells me of her subject’s ability to keep on keeping-on, even when faced with seemingly immovable power structures.

“She's taught me a lot about resilience, just being alongside her for this journey.”

Click here to read the full interview at The Wireless.

Darren Bevan profiles My Year With Helen ahead of NZIFF premiere.

Darren Bevan profiles My Year With Helen ahead of NZIFF premiere.

"Already sold out in Wellington, and likely to be the big-hitter of the festival, Gaylene Preston's My Year With Helen chronicles Helen Clark's campaign to become UN Secretary General last year. However, what emerges from Preston's laconic doco is more a deafening cry for change within the UN itself as it reveals how increasingly close to irrelevance it's coming in representing the people."

Read the feature in full here.

Brisbane International Film Festival announces My Year With Helen.

Brisbane International Film Festival announces My Year With Helen.

Following on from the announcement of My Year With Helen being screened in the Melbourne International Film Festival, it has also just been announced for the Brisbane International Film Festival.

There are four screenings in Brisbane of the film - with tickets for each of the screenings on sale now:

August 21st, Palace Centro, 1pm
August 25th, Palace Barracks, 1pm
August 26th, Palace Centro, 12pm
August 28th, Palace Barracks, 3.15pm