The Art of Recovery to Premiere at NZIFF Christchurch

Monday 6 July 2015

The Art of Recovery to Premiere at NZIFF Christchurch

The Art of Recovery captures the creative revival in central Christchurch, the global attention it is attracting and questions the ‘top-down’ government-led approach to the recovery. It will be shown for the first time at the Isaac Theatre Royal on 13 and 18 August.

The film focuses on a small but passionate group of artists and entrepreneurs from the February earthquake over a 4-year period. Among them, Coralie Winn and Ryan Reynolds of Gap Filler, street artist Wongi Wilson and his wife Emma, entrepreneurs Sam Crofsky (C1 café) and Johnny Moore (Smash Palace) and artist Peter Majendie who created the 185 Empty chairs memorial.

“Their stories reveal the power of the human spirit. What they have achieved in post-quake Christchurch is really quite remarkable. They responded quickly and creatively to the earthquakes bringing life back to the ruins of the central city by creating welcoming places for people to be,” says director Peter Young, “It’s work that is attracting the attention of urban designers around the world – some of whom feature in the documentary. They describe the creative recovery as ‘pioneering’ and ‘powerful’.”

The documentary also explores the cultural shift in the post-quake community.

“What we saw were people, some of whom were previously on the fringes of the cultural norm, being given an opportunity to shine and lead the recovery.  The street artists, in particular, have a fascinating perspective on this.”

Peter Young has no doubt that the documentary will raise a few eyebrows.

“Initially I set out to capture the creativity in the city but in the process discovered a fascinating discussion about what cities are and what they can be. That discussion has relevance not only for Christchurch but for any city in any part of the world. Christchurch is now at a crucial crossroad, as the city rises it will be interesting to see how much of this dynamic transitional movement will remain in the fabric of the city’s future.”

The Art of Recovery was made with funding from the Joint Documentary Fund of NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission.

The full Christchurch programme will be revealed online on the evening of Monday 13 July. Print programmes will be available from Tuesday 14 July.

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