Press Release – Song of the Kauri, directed and produced by Mathurin Molgat
New documentary presents hope and promise for NZ kauri forests – World Premiere
Song of the Kauri, a documentary to premiere at the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival, presents a new vision for the future of New Zealand’s kauri forests.
The story unfolds through the labours of renowned Northland Luthier Laurie Williams who works with kaitiaki Karamea Davis and specialist forester Steve Lane to select and fell a tree to provide the raw material for his instruments – guitars, violins and ukuleles from kauri.
The film then discusses the possibilities of resurrecting mighty kauri forests as it investigates the economics and science of such a vision with experts including kaitiaki Karamea Davis, author Keith Stewart, investor George Kerr, Scion Research kauri specialist Greg Steward and forestry professor Euan Mason.
The film marks the directing debut of Mathurin Molgat, a former World Cup skier who has worked in film production (on both sides of the camera) since 1983.
When Karamea Davis said “I want my trees to sing” he was referring to his philosophy that a Laurie Williams instrument made of kauri could travel the world as an ambassador for New Zealands’ forests and could carry a strong environmental message. Kauri could become New Zealands’ currency in the new world of green economics. “I knew then that I had to make this film” says director, Mathurin Molgat.
Delving deep into the past as it looks towards the future, the documentary covers many perspectives and features cameos by globally recognised musicians including guitarists Jackson Browne, Nigel Gavin, Michael Chapdelaine and Tiki Taane and violinist Miranda Adams.
“As I followed the story of kauri it became clear that there are untapped global markets for kauri and that native forestry should be and could be tree husbandry – for every one we cut down, we plant two,” says Molgat. “I learned that plantation kauri is most certainly possible and that under plantation conditions, kauri is not at all slow growing. We could literally grow ourselves an immensely valuable and unique currency and we owe it to ourselves and the kauri to explore the possibility.”
Economist and columnist David Grimmond supports the movie’s limited-harvest message.
“What interested me were the economic and environmental messages underpinning the film,” he said. “It’s clear a regulatory system that permits the limited harvest of a valued species can be an effective environmental protection tool. Absolute protection of a threatened species such as kauri can have undesirable consequences including removing legitimate economic incentives to expand the habitat.”
“Song of the Kauri offers real possibility and is incredibly engaging and watchable. This is an entertaining and important documentary for New Zealanders and I’m delighted to see it included as one of the few movies that will screen in every festival location.”
The 94 minute documentary features the dedication a small crew including award winning editor Annie Collins, Director of Photography and Cinematographer, Swami Hansa, co producer David Turnbull, and sound recordist John Patrick. Song of the Kauri opens as part of the film festival with its world premiere in Auckland on July 28. It will travel with the festival throughout New Zealand screening in many centres. For screening and booking details click here.
Notes for Editors
If you would like more information, a review copy of Song of the Kauri, to interview Mathurin Molgat or go to one of the screenings, please contact:
About Mathurin Molgat
Mathurin has been involved in the New Zealand film industry since 1985. He was the screen lead in the 1987 cult film The Leading Edge and also worked through the film’s post production and marketing.
Mathurin and Academy Award nominee Michael Firth went on to produce several more films and in 1989 won ‘Best Short’ at the International Festival of Adventure Films for their production Skifield in the Sky.
In 1990 Mathurin represented New Zealand film at the Singapore International Film Festival where he was a keynote speaker. He has worked in well over 50 film productions and television commercials.
Mathurin is a former World Cup skier and has featured in commercials and films in Europe, America, Japan and Australasia. He was voted among the top 20 adventure / big mountain skiers on the planet in 1992. He is an action camera operator and a professional stills photographer, a songwriter / composer and guitarist. He has toured the world and recorded several albums. He owns a recording studio in Queenstown.
Song of the Kauri is his documentary directorial debut and he has surrounded himself with a stellar cast of uniquely talented people who are all impassioned by this project and share a common vision to tell this story.
Song of the Kauri web site:
NZ Film Festival page:
Mathurin’s vision for the documentary:
Image Gallery (Downloads and Captions)
(EPK on SOTK web site media link) Browse and download over 40 images from the film, including profile photos of the filmmakers. We use Dropbox to store our high resolution images. When using an image from Dropbox, please match the image with the appropriate caption available from our image gallery.