21 May 2003

notes for a coastline

quite soon after meeting documentary filmmaker Zoe Roland on her move from Auckland to Christchurch, she commissioned me to write the script for a short experimental film she was working on, based around the 'bach' (holiday house) culture of the South Island seaside settlement of Gore Bay.

This film eventually became Notes for a Coastline, which drew on documentary, oral history, B&W 16mm shot on vintage Bolex cameras, found archival super-8 and experimental radiophony, layering a palimpsest of film and digital video footage, and audio interviews with community members with an essayistic monologue.

It had its inaugural screenings in the 2004 Homegrown programme of the NZ International Film Festivals (Wellington and Auckland), and a screening at the 5th biennial New Zealand Expanding Documentary Conference (2004). It went on to be included in the official selection of the Navarra International Documentary Film Festival (Spain) in 2005, as well as having a hometown showing that year at The Physics Room Contemporary Art Space


"Notes for a Coastline” is an essayist documentary about cultural memory in regard to place; in this instance, Gore Bay, a beach settlement in the South Island of New Zealand. The narrative is a poetic exploration into the art of storytelling, which presents and muses upon the subject from a number of angles. It is “about” storytelling, a semi-scientific portrayal as well as a personal portrayal of the search of stories."

: Zoe Roland
: Sally Ann McIntyre
: Ryan Smith
: Zoe Roland, Sally Ann McIntyre, Nigel Bunn

Director of Photography: Nigel Bunn
: Zoe Roland


  1. 2017. Having just seen this 2004 work. beautiful film. Many things undercut "nostalgia" .. poetic, verbal content and, supremely, original photography/treatment/editing. Great to see this film. Bill.

    1. Thank you Bill, both for watching and for taking the time to leave a comment. We were very proud of this film, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it.