Music of Aotearoa: past, present and future

Show Me Shorts is celebrating NZ Music Month by accepting NZ music video submissions to our 2015 festival for free during May! We’re also showing you some top local music videos here in the Screening Room, as chosen by festival Programming Assistant Rebekah Ngatae.

Making a great music video is a little like making a great short film, and that’s something New Zealanders excel at. So this month I took up the opportunity to highlight unique perspectives on Aotearoa through the musical imaginings of some of our best. The creators of these videos transport us through the lands of our ancestors, reveal a delightful cultural niche, and land us in a strange and wonderful dystopian future.


Trinity Roots – Little Things

Director: Chris Graham

Trinity Roots – Little Things from goodLife on Vimeo.

In this video for Wellington band, Trinity Roots, locally renowned music video director, Chris Graham, transports us to the early 20th Century. We venture into the past of a man with a long history on the very estate he sits, as apparent in the powerfully emotive face of the late great Wi Kuki Kaa. Not only are we presented with personal memories of those he loved and lost, but the video is also nostalgic for a simpler time. Ultimately, it resolves that while people may have come and gone and modern technology may have set in, it’s evident that some things never change. We’re still working hard providing, entertaining ourselves and enjoying the company of our loved ones just as every generation before us did.


Coco Solid – Heaven’s Gate

Directors: Coco Solid and Carthew Neal

In this next video, Auckland musician Coco Solid takes us to a world that may seem foreign to a lot of people even though it’s shot right here in New Zealand and it’s set right now. Solid’s electronic Heaven’s Gate provides the perfect soundtrack for her short documentary of an event she considers to be “one of, if not the most important social event in [her] circle” – the Fafswag Ball.

Prefaced with insights from some of those in the fa’afafine (transgender) community that are set to participate in the night’s competition, this is essentially a dance battle with the love turned up to 11. The outfits are bold, the choreography is intense and the audience’s enthusiasm is so infectious it’s no wonder the event is described as “freeing.”

Be warned: This video may too great for some to handle.


Fat Freddy’s Drop – Ray Ray

Directors: Jon Baxter and Armagan Ballantyne

Rayray from Jon Baxter on Vimeo.

Like the Little Things video, the creators behind Fat Freddy’s Drop’s Ray Ray contrast the present day with another time in a way that is also wonderful, albeit much weirder. From the familiar rural weatherboard town along a wall of ponga beneath an uninterrupted sky, we’re thrust into a dystopian future that is equal parts steampunk and amplification of our 21st Century digital age – a contrast also present between the methods used to create this wee masterpiece.

Once you’ve watched this great video through, I suggest checking out a little of what went on behind the scenes to see what I mean. It seems the metal sculptures and digital animation were a winning combination for the team at Perceptual Engineering who received a tonne of accolades for this video.

As a part of the Show Me Shorts programming team, I would love to see more local music videos submitted for a chance to screen in cinemas nationwide and compete for awards. So please help us spread the word about free entry during May!