Gaylene's Take

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From one of our very best filmmakers comes a memoir of filmmaking in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Gaylene Preston has always sought out the stories that have not yet been told, and in this book she reveals the challenges and sometimes heartbreak that have come with that ambition. In both wide lens and close-up, she writes of formative experiences: her childhood in Greymouth in the 1950s, working in a psychiatric institution near Cambridge, England in the 70s, interviewing her tight-lipped father about his life in the war, and a mysterious story of her great-grandfather chiselling a biblical text off a gravestone in the dead of night. Along the way she takes us behind the scenes and into the shadows of some of the most enduring popular classics of New Zealand cinema, including Mr WrongRuby & RataWar Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us, and My Year With Helen, and how she has worked to realise her vision, come what may.

Preston is one of Aotearoa’s most distinctive storytellers, and in Gaylene’s Take she brings the compassion, humour, irreverence and heart that her films are known for to the page.

'I had no idea Gaylene was so hilarious. I adored this brilliant memoir: part liar, part cowgirl, mouthy and determined Gaylene grows up in Greymouth and migrates into the wild 70s, ending up in the tough-as-gumboots world of New Zealand film. Her book is irresistible.' —Jane Campion

'I loved this rich account of an exceptional life, lived with creative genius, passion and a beguiling sense of humour.' —Fiona Kidman

'I was completely mesmerised. The best memoir I've read in decades. Gaylene's voice is somehow compelling and companionable, salty and dry and loving and occasionally rueful, and so fully of this place. Completely fab.' —Kate De Goldi

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ISBN: 9781776920143
Te Herenga Waka University Press
Publication date:
10 November 2022
Trade Paperback
Pages: 400