Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

The Man in the Hat 2009

Directed by Luit Bieringa

Luit Bieringa’s lovely portrait of Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey intersperses a lyrical picture of McLeavey’s Wellington with Sam Neill’s readings from his correspondence, and frank conversations with the man himself.

73 minutes DigiBeta



Jan Bieringa


Leon Narbey


Lala Rolls




Sam Neill

World Premiere

Soundings Theatre, Te Papa, 19 July 2009

There's an airy spirit of existential enquiry floating through Luit Bieringa's lovely portrait of Wellington artdealer Peter McLeavey. A fundamental biographer's question – what makes this guy tick? – is quietly turned back on us: McLeavey seems to live a highly ordered life in a state of perpetual curiosity about what makes any of us in this corner of the world tick, himself included. Starting out as a dealer from his bedroom flat in 1966, McLeavey was already championing Toss Woollaston, Colin McCahon and Gordon Walters as purveyors of vision informed by New Zealand experience. He opened his two-room dealer gallery at 147 Cuba Street in 1968. Forty years and 500 or so exhibitions later he's still there. Cinematographer Leon Narbey follows the dapper man in a hat from his home in Hill Street on the circuitous scenic route he takes each morning to work. Bieringa intersperses this lyrical picture of McLeavey's Wellington with readings from his correspondence and frank, revealing conversations with the man himself. — BG