Interview with Nurse Me

Director Kezia Barnett
Director of Photography Ian McCarroll
Choreographer MaryJane O’Reilly
Dancer Julie Van Renen, Maria Munkowits, Molly McDowall
Composer Mahuia Bridgman Cooper
Country of Origin New Zealand
Production Designer Sarah Cooper
Editor Mark Bennett
Costume Designer Phil O’Reilly
Makeup Artist Verity Griffiths

Emerging from the sea’s dark folds, three lone figures are reborn into a post-apocalyptic world. The nurses – bearers of solace, fetish and sexual power – have been drawn back to the center, the vortex, to where it all began.

Based on the dance ‘Nurses’ from MaryJane & Phil O’Reilly’s stage production In Flagrante.

Film adaptation by Kezia Barnett.

Kezia Barnett is an accomplished filmmaker, director and artist. Her short films have been shown in festivals around the world, and her music videos and international commercials have received numerous accolades.

Rebekah Kelly is a producer
 for films and TV commercials. She has produced a number of shorts, including Cold Snap, which premiered at Venice Orrizonti. She has an MA in film from Goldsmiths College, London.

MaryJane O’Reilly has had a forty-five year career in ballet, contemporary dance and choreography. She is currently the director / choreographer of her neo burlesque company In Flagrante.


Describe, in as many or as few words as you see fit, the genesis of or inspiration behind your film.
Over a coffee, award winning filmmaker Kezia Barnett and legendary New Zealand choreographer MaryJane O’Reilly, discussed making a film based on one of the dances from the stage show ‘In Flagrante’: brainchild of MJ and Phil O’Reilly. When Kezia first saw the neo burlesque cult hit ‘In Flagrante’, she didn’t just see a new form of theatrical sexual provocation. She saw a filmic opportunity. What particularly caught her eye was a piece called ‘Nurses’ – a short and deeply satiric tribute to nurses. A tongue-in-cheek riff on the well-trodden erotic cliché about women in uniform that traverses between Florence Nightingale and Linda Lovelace. Sassy, irreverent and choreographed by MaryJane O’Reilly (of Limbs renown) the dance is hypnotic, erotic. Perfect for filmic re-interpretation. Back in Auckland, from some years in London directing commercials, Kezia rounded up her A Team of top local filmmakers, formed production company Flim Duende, and working with MaryJane, Phil and producer Rebekah Kelly, pitched a dance film fusion concept to Creative New Zealand. CNZ granted core funding for ‘Nurse Me’, an eleven and a half minute film. Drawing from ‘In Flagrante’s’ cast of classically and modern trained dancers, MaryJane and Kezia choose three for the role. The film was shot over two days at Auckland Wynyard Quarter’s old cement silos, whose haunted concrete countenance was the perfect foil to the fecund Nurses — as both battle weary survivors and symbols of life ephemeral. Beautifully shot by Ian McCarroll and with an evocative score by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper the result is an astonishing and uniquely original short film that premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival, 2016. It has screened in a number of festivals around the world and won Best International Music/Dance Film at the New Renaissance Film Festival Amsterdam and Best Cinematography at Discover Film London. MaryJane O’Reilly on ‘Nurses’: “I wanted to repudiate some of the orthodoxies of burlesque female sexuality; that women are capable of being bad, not just coquettish avatars. An excursion into deep fetish, from colonics to inoculations. A tribute to ‘Nurses’ as sex objects, Bond Girls and bodily functions.” INTERVIEW — WE ARE MOVING STORIES INTERVIEW — THE NEW CURRENT
What is interesting or intriguing to you about engaging with dance for film vs. dance for stage? Or, if you are coming from a film background and working with dance is a secondary medium for you, what drew you to wanting to capture and work with dance?
Kezia Barnett: “I’ve always loved film. I’ve always loved dance. I grew up watching Busby Berkeley, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair film musicals. Dance on film fascinates me. Both dance and film, independently, are emotive mediums, in different ways: together they can be visceral and powerful. When designing shots I like to think of it as choreography, the camera dancing with the dancers — interacting with the dancers to create the onscreen experience: as the camera has on the day of shooting. This is how film dance differs – it curates your point of view to see things from that perspective – to stage – which is effectively one wide shot, and the viewer chooses where they put their own personal camera – their eyes. Each audience member chooses what is close up, where the ‘shot’ moves and what action it follows. I also love that with film you can play with time, lingering on slow motion shots — extending time.”
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