Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Michael Smither 10 celebrates ten years of Smither’s work, bringing a unique collaboration between an artist and a filmmaker to an end. For Tony Hiles, the rules were simple: there would be one documentary a year, filming would capture things as they happened; there were to be no rehearsals; each episode had to be different.
While Smither works intensely on several landscapes and a portrait, he talks of how the past nine months have taken a circular course, leading him back to earlier ideas, which he picks up and works with again. This is borne out by the study of a tree growing out of a cliff face, which inspired a now-finished work. Under the artist’s attentive paintbrush, this piece, which began as a sketch in which Smither neglected to take the hill in the background into account, thereby causing himself no end of trouble, transforms into a vibrant Sunset on the Hills.
The film offers viewers the privileged position of observing the creative process and Smither in a light-hearted and reflective mood as he ponders the questions that arise as a person approaches the end of their life.