“… Who you set out to be is not always who you become…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part One: Film Information

Principal Crew and Cast:
Based on the novel by: Maurice Gee
Written and Directed by Brad McGann
Produced by Trevor Haysom and Dixie Linder
Executive Producers: Sue Bruce Smith
                                   James Mitchell
                                   Jim Reeve
                                   Steve Robbins
                                   Paul Trijbits
Director of Photography: Stuart Dryburgh
Editor: Chris Plummer
Music by: Simon Boswell
Production Designer: Jennifer Kernke
Art Director: Phil Ivey
Casting by: Diana Rowan
Costume Designer: Kristy Cameron
Make-up and Hair Designer: Denise Kum
Sound Recordist: Richard Flynn

Actors: Matthew Macfadyen - Paul Prior
             Miranda Otto - Penny
             Emily Barclay - Celia Steimer
             Colin Moy - Andrew
             Jimmy Keen - Jonathon
             Jodie Rimmer - Jackie
             Toby Alexander - Paul as a teenager
             Vicky Haughton - Ms Seagar
             Nicholas Hayward - Andrew as a teenager
             Liam Herbert  - Andrew as a child
             Vanessa Riddell - Iris
             Asher Emanuel - Paul as a child
             Matthew Chamberlain - Jeff
             Peter Hishon - Vet
             Mabel Wharekawa - Winnie (as Mabel Burt)

Production Company: T.H.E Film
                                     Little Bird Films
                                     Visionview Productions
Distribution Company: Tartan USA (Domestic Theatrical Distributor)
                                      Tartan Video USA (Domestic Video Distributor)
                                      New Zealand Film (Foreign Theatrical Distributor)
                                      Optimum Releasing (Foreign Theatrical Distributor)
                                       Icon Film Distribution (Foreign Theatrical Distributor)
Sales Agent: New Zealand Film Commission
Runtime: 128 minutes
Budget: ~ NZ$7,000,000
Box Office: £0.102 million (UK) (as at 6th September 2005)
Released Date: (Following details available at www.imdb.com)
Australia, 11 June 2004 (Sydney Film Festival)
New Zealand, 18 July 2004 (Auckland International Film Festival)
Canada, 11 September 2004 (Toronto Film Festival)
Spain, 18 September 2004 (San Sebastián Film Festival)
Brazil, 1 October 2004 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
New Zealand, 7 October 2004           
South Korea, 8 October 2004 (Pusan International Film Festival
Australia, 28 October 2004    
Sweden, 28 January 2005 (Gothenburg Film Festival)
Hong Kong, 3 April 2005 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)
USA, 10 June 2005 (Seattle International Film Festival)
Singapore, 16 June 2005        
UK, 24 June 2005      
Taiwan, 29 June 2005 (Taipei Film Festival)
Israel, 30 June 2005   
Switzerland, 7 July 2005 (German speaking region)
Portugal, 11 August 2005      
France, 6 October 2005 (Dinard Festival of British Cinema)
France, 19 October 2005 (Saint-Tropez Festival of the Antipodes)
USA, 1 April 2006 (Wisconsin Film Festival)
Greece, 25 September 2006 (DVD premiere)
Germany, 30 November 2006
 USA, 2007 (limited)

Awards: (Following details available at www.imdb.com)
British Independent Film Awards (2005):

Dinard British Film Festival (2005):

New Zealand Screen Awards (2005):

                             Dixie Linder

                                                                           Chris Burt
                                                                           Gethin Creagh
San Sebastián International Film Festival (2004):

Seattle International Film Festival (2005):

Shanghai International Film Festival (2005):

Stony Brook Film Festival (2005):

Toronto International Film Festival (2004):

Nominations:
British Independent Film Awards (2005):

Emden International Film Festival (2005):

Shanghai International Film Festival (2005):

                        Dixie Linder (producer)

 

Interview with Filmmakers:

“Matthew had a go at a New Zealand accent but sounded like a South African! I knew it wouldn't work for a Kiwi audience so I asked him to put it aside” – Brad McGann.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2005/06/22/brad_mcgann_in_my_fathers_den_interview.shtml

“I think in this film there is a subtle exploration between “shadow” and “light” – the joyous moments and the sadness that underlies the human condition” – Brad McGann.
http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/05/34/brad_mcgann.html

“It’s my first feature and I wanted to work with someone who was going on a similar journey where we both had a lot at stake. I didn't want it to be a battle of egos and Matthew is just a wonderful, intelligent, brilliant actor” – Brad McGann.
http://www.filmfocus.co.uk/lookat.asp?FilmbaseID=292&FeatureID=24&Page=2

 

Reviews from Newspapers and Journals:

“In My Father's Den is a breath of fresh air. Character driven, with a clever intertwining story, those patient enough to wait for the final conclusive 10 minutes will not be disappointed” – Booth.
http://www.musicomh.com/films/in-my-fathers-den.htm

“It’s a story that compulsively twists and turns until its closing moments. A wonderful cast and beautiful cinematography should combine to make this a word-of mouth success” – Hurley.
http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/reviews/in_my_fathers_den.html

http://www.timeout.com/film/newyork/reviews/82832/In_My_Father-s_Den.html

http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1227314.htm

Online Literature:
From the internet, we can find a lot of information about “In My Father’s Den” films like the review of the film and also the interview with the director (Brad McGann). After winning quite lots of awards, the film became one of the top ten grossing New Zealand films.
Some of the helpful links that contain the film review and the information about the crew:
http://www.imdb.com
http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/Stuart_Dryburgh/198280

 

 

Part Two: Critical Review

Synopsis:
“In My Father’s Den” revolves about family problems and all the dirty secrets about the past life. The story starts when Paul Prior (Matthew Macfadyen), a lonely war photographer, who must go back to his hometown in New Zealand to bury his father. He meets with his brother, Andrew Prior (Colin Moy), a local ostrich farmer, after seventeen years apart. Andrew insists Paul to stay longer in order to help him to sell their father’s cottage and the next-door orchard.
He starts to collect all the pieces of the memories that he left behind. From the den where tucked away in the gear or tool shed, until his previous bedroom. His father, Jeff Prior (Matthew Chamberlain), secretly built the den to keep all his literature books as he possesses free thinking viewpoint. No one in the family knows about the den unless Paul who accidentally found out about it and promised not to tell anyone.
One day he meets and befriends with one teenage girl named Celia Steimer (Emily Barclay), a bright girl with a love of books, who happened to be the daughter of his first girlfriend (Jackie (Jodie Rimmer) who is working as a local butcher in present). They share a lot of things from the books until a complexity with social alteration.
The story begins intense after Celia goes missing. Everyone starts to blame Paul for what happened as he is the last person to see her. It forces him to starts investigation which brings back the tragic and hoary wounds and reveals all the dirty secrets about the past life.
http://www.starpulse.com/Movies/In_My_Father's_Den/index.html
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0385017/plotsummary

Comments:
The narrative of “In My Father’s Den” contains a lot of flash back stories. So it will be hard for people who did not pay extra attention while watching the films. The story transforms from a complex family drama but, it ends up being a tragic criminal drama.
Furthermore, the story itself is quite complicated as it is connected with many things that happened in the previous years. However, all the secrets which can only be understood at the end of the story make this film interesting. The music and poetry are also blended harmoniously with the story. It gives a BIG impact to the audiences while they are trying to figure out the ending.
Unluckily, this film contains quite a number of unresolved and unanswered questions. For example, how Paul Prior can be a school teacher without having a formal qualifications.
However, overall the story is visually stunning and full of emotional elements.
(Source: http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1227314.htm)

Critical Uptake:
“In My Father’s Den” received 19 awards and three nominations including Achievement in Cinematography, Directing and Editing, Best Picture, and a lot more. It became one of the best New Zealand films in years. It also has been viewed in Hong Kong and other countries in Asia.
“In My Father’s Den” earned the huge acceptance from the Australian and International audiences for its beautiful performing, cinematography and characters improvement.
Unluckily, the film also obtained criticisms by the viewers as it has quite lots of unresolved parts (like I stated before).
(Source: http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1227314.htm)
Filmography: (the following details available at www.hollywood.com)

In My Father's Den - (Director, 2004 Released)
In My Father's Den - (Screenplay, 2004 Released)
Come as You Are - (Director, 2001 Released)
Possum - (Director, 1999 Released)
It Never Rains – (Director, 1996)
Brad McGann, a graduate from University of Otago and the Swinburne Film and Television School in Melbourne. “In My Father’s Den” is his first feature film which he organized and directed it on his own.

The Girl in the Park - (Director of Photography, Lensing/Awaiting Release)
Nim's Island - (Director of Photography, 2008 Released)
No Reservations - (Director of Photography, 2007 Released)
Shine a Light - (Camera Operator, 2007 Released)
The Painted Veil - (Director of Photography, 2006 Released)
Aeon Flux - (Director of Photography, 2005 Released)
Beautiful Country - (Director of Photography, 2005 Released)
In My Father's Den - (Director of Photography, 2004 Released)
The Recruit - (Director of Photography, 2003 Released)
Bridget Jones's Diary - (Director of Photography, 2001 Released)
Kate & Leopold - (Director of Photography, 2001 Released)
Analyze This - (Director of Photography, 1999 Released, Videocine)
Runaway Bride - (Director of Photography, 1999 Released)
Lone Star - (Director of Photography, 1996 Released, Abbey Entertainment)
Peach - (Cinematographer, 1996 Released)
The Beach - (Director of Photography, 1996 Released)
The Portrait of A Lady - (Director of Photography, 1996 Released)
Once Were Warriors - (Director of Photography, 1995 Released, Footprint Films)
The Perez Family - (Director of Photography, 1995 Released, Malofilms Distribution)
The Piano - (Director of Photography, 1993 Released, Belga Films)
Angel At My Table - (Director of Photography, 1991 Released, Mundial Film)
Kitchen Sink - (Cinematographer, 1989 Released)
Rushes - (Cinematographer, 1989 Released)
The Leading Edge - (Director of Photography, 1987 Released, Everard Films)

TV Credits: New Amsterdam (2008, Released): Director of Photography
                    X-Team (2003, Released): Director of Photography
                    Poodle Springs (1998, Released): Director of Photography
                    Sex and the City (1998, Released): Director of Photography
Stuart Dryburgh, a graduate from University of Auckland (Bachelor of Architecture, 1977). He obtained Oscar nomination for the best Cinematography for “The Piano” (1993).

 

In My Father's Den - (Producer, 2004 Released)
Donuts for Breakfast - (Executive Producer, 2000 Released)
Crush - (Associate Producer, 1993 Released Movie Partners)
User Friendly - (Producer, 1990 Released)
Rushes - (Producer, 1989 Released)
Midnight Run - (Production Manager, 1988 Released)
The Rescue - (Production Manager, 1988 Released)
Hot Target - (Props 1985, Released, Crown International Pictures)

Trevor Haysom, (Producer) produced his first documentary “Every Dancers Dream” and won the ‘Silver Plague’ award for 20th International Chicago Festival. He also produced other films like “User Friendly”, “Crush”, “Pacific 3, 2, 1, Zero” which won the major prize at MIDEM, Cannes 1993 - the Croisette d'Or and Possum. (www.thefilm.co.nz)

 

In My father’s Den and Genre:
In terms of genre, In My Father’s Den can be considered as a ‘Drama’ genre although, there are quite number of audiences argued that this film also can be considered as a ‘Coming of Age’ film. The narrative of the movie itself revolves about a young teenage girl (Celia Steimer) who is trying to find her life calls. And she also experiences all the things that might be the vital elements which actually happen to the teenager’s life, like, friendship, trust, loss, passion and love. In addition, the film recites about something which not everyone will think of it, as it rarely to happen in the society and it might be taboo as well. For example, when Iris (the mother of Andrew and Paul) who accidentally finds out about the den and ironically see her husband is making love with his son’s girlfriend. That is one of the reasons why Paul Prior wanted to leave his hometown in the first place.

In My Father’s Den and Australian Cinema:
According to AFC (Australian Film Commission), in 2005 (the year that In My Father’s Den was released) there were 329 films which have been released into the Australian Film Industry. 27 of those are Australian movies, 175 of those are American movies and 29 of those are UK movies. Australian movies itself obtained $23,1 million or 2.8% of the sum Australian Box Office in 2005.
Compare from now (2007), Australian movies obtained $36,0 million or 4.0% of the entire Australian Box Office. This shows that Australian movie industry has been increased year by year. Many films have been produced and end up with big and great successful.
Source: http://www.afc.gov.au/downloads/pubs/boxoffice%20backgrounder.pdf
             http://www.afc.gov.au/downloads/pubs/2007bobackgrd.pdf

Reference List:

http://www.afc.gov.au/downloads/policies/short%202004%20box%20office_final.pdf (accessed date: April 15, 2008)

http://www.afc.gov.au/downloads/pubs/2007bobackgrd.pdf (accessed date: April 15, 2008)

 http://www.musicomh.com/films/in-my-fathers-den.htm (Accessed date: April 15,               2008)

http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/reviews/in_my_fathers_den.html (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/05/34/brad_mcgann.html (Accessed      date: April 15, 2008)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2005/06/22/brad_mcgann_in_my_fathers_den_interview.shtml (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)

http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1227314.htm (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)

http://www.imdb.com (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)
      http://www.starpulse.com/Movies/In_My_Father's_Den/index.html
      (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)
      http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s1227314.htm (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)
      www.thefilm.co.nz (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)
      http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/Stuart_Dryburgh/198280
     (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)

      http://www.filmfocus.co.uk/lookat.asp?FilmbaseID=292&FeatureID=24&Page=2
     (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)

http://www.timeout.com/film/newyork/reviews/82832/In_My_Father-s_Den.html (Accessed date: April 15, 2008)