Alastair Tye Samson


I'm an independent film-maker currently living in Auckland, New Zealand.

I work full time as an Online Editor and motion picture workflow nerd at Images&Sound specialising in operating Autodesk Smoke and Avid Symphony.

I collect vinyl, laser-discs and sneakers.

This is a collection of my work, my photos, what I'm listening to and what is inspiring me.

I curate a more tumblr-like tumblog called Apple Of Discordia - if i re-blogged you it was probably over there!
Recent Tweets @c0ina
This is not a practice life.
Brother Ali ft. Dr. Cornel West - “Letter To My Countrymen”

Four years ago (to the day tomorrow) we rolled cameras on our first feature film, JAKE.  Written and directed by Doug Dillaman and produced by Doug, myself and Anoushka Klaus, this has been a roller-coaster of an experience.  JAKE is completely self-funded and to describe its budget as “micro” would be too generous.  

Today we printed the final version of the film to tape.  Tomorrow it screens at the Academy Cinema to cast and crew plus some media types.  

I think the most poignant moment of watching the final version of the movie down in the various sound and picture finishing suites was seeing the number of names in the end credits.  None of them were paid a cent.   I don’t even really know how to begin expressing how grateful I am to all of them but I will do my best tomorrow at the screening.  

I’m extremely tired - this last month has been insane.  Film making is hard.  Anyone who says otherwise is lying or not doing it right.  But we did it.  JAKE exists.  And we’re not broken.   So cheers to my collaborators and cheers to the films that come next!   

It has all been worth it.  I can’t wait to do it all again.

For updates and lols as JAKE goes out into the public follow 

Joe Carolan, union organiser and Socialist activist, leads chants in protest of the National government’s plan to sell off state assets. 

Dude, behind you! 

Way back in high school someone gave me a cassette tape of Bad Religion’s album All Ages.  As cliche as it might sound, that tape changed my life more than any other music ever had then or ever would again. 

The ferociously fast guitar melodies, the smart lyrics, the barbershop quartet backup vocals.  It was so unlike anything else I had heard and I loved it.  Obsessively.   

Their golden run of Suffer (1988), No Control (1989), Against The Grain (1990) and Generator (1992) is peerless, in my opinion.  

Then, after a string of pretty boring major-label albums in the late 90’s, they reinvented themselves in 2002 with The Process Of Belief.  One big part of that reinvention was the addition of drummer Brooks Wackerman (what a perfect name for a drummer!) arguably the first time the band had ever had a good drummer.  Another big part was the return of founding co-songwriter Brett Gurewitz, who had left to focus on his record label Epitaph Records while Bad Religion flirted with Sony.  The Process Of Belief was fresh and really exciting - was Bad Religion back on top form?

Unfortunately, after Process, came another string of mediocre albums.  Despite Gurewitz and Graffin being back writing songs together again and Wackerman’s continued presence in the band, Bad Religion fired out three albums that were fine.  Not bad.  Not Great.  Just.. you know… fine.  Nothing anyone got excited about.  Nothing as bad as their Sony streak, but certainly nothing coming close to their golden streak, either.

Enter 2013’s True North, one of the best Bad Religion albums, period.  I’m not sure why it’s come here and now, but I’m damn thankful it’s here.  A lot of the songs on True North would have been right at home on Suffer or No Control.   They’re short, stripped back and fast as hell.  I really can’t stress how taken aback I am by how awesome this record is.  

These guys are all over 50 now!  I hope I have that much energy in 20 years! 

If this isn’t my album of 2013 then holy crap, it’s going to be a good year for music.  Play this record to anyone who tries to tell you that punk rock isn’t relevant in 2013!    

Boy, this has been a loooong time in the making, but I’m so proud of the finished product!

Inspired by the fine art of Julie Mehretu this music video was a collaboration with Wellington motion-graphics artist Lucas Brooking. Lucas is an amazing designer and we were absolutely over-the-moon to work with him. Check out more of his work here

Directed by Alastair Tye Samson & Lucas Brooking
Produced by Alastair Tye Samson & Alex Bird
Motion Graphics by Lucas Brooking
Photography by Alastair Tye Samson
Edited by Doug Dillaman
Additional Motion Graphics by Carlos Purcell & Richard Borg
Associate Producer Ellie Callahan

Pretty Much is from the older Gatherer album This City Sunrise available now at iTunes & various digital retailers 

Check out Gatherer online…

Earlier this week, an article was posted on the Salient website by Adam Goodall, condemning the Blue Harvest Premier Shorts funding pod with gems like:

"(Blue Harvest insinuate) that our own stories aren’t interesting to anyone but ourselves."

"Blue Harvest would have us play a perpetual game of cultural catch-up, trying to mimic what’s popular in a lame attempt to get Hollywood’s attention. If the film industry were a playground and the Hollywood studios were the popular kids, Blue Harvest would be the kids dressing like them in a desperate attempt to be ‘accepted’. Nobody likes those kids."

"When we start being honest with ourselves, when we take ownership of our stories and stop acting like they’re something to be ashamed of, we benefit – we make films that look good, are good, and get attention. If we don’t care about what we have to say, if we only want to say what other people are saying, why even say it?"

I think what I find most frustrating about the article is that it’s clear from the way that it’s written that Adam has zero experience in dealing with New Zealand funding bodies, yet is so obnoxiously over-opinionated and dogmatic. 

It’s pretty obviously written to provoke through mocking - you don’t need to read past the headline “We Have So Much Creativity Our Production Company Is Named After The Working Title of Star Wars” to understand that much, but that’s hard to get past.  When you start an article in such a childish tone, don’t be surprised when people don’t take you seriously or even think you’re a bit of an ass. 

And it’s not just the headline, either.  The opening sentence puts ‘industry professionals’ in quotations as if to question the validity of the term in relation to the Blue Harvest executive producer team.  That’s a step beyond mocking or being provocative - that’s an outright ‘fuck you’.  It’s just rude.  To which I say to Adam: who the hell are you to judge their credentials?  Grow up.

But the issue is not just the childish tone.  The bit that makes it obvious Adam doesn’t know what he is talking about is the load of bollox he vomits out in the body of the article.

Anyone who has the slightest bit of experience in applying for funding from the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) in the last decade, or even knows someone else who has experience in applying for funding from the NZFC in the last decade, knows the frustration that New Zealand film-makers have around the vague criteria of their film needing to contain “significant New Zealand content”.  Rightly or wrongly, there is a perception amongst New Zealand film-makers that in order to get funding from the NZFC you need to fit a very specific, cliched idea of what “significant New Zealand content” means - and the perception of that cliche is dark dramas.  More often than not they are coming-of-age films that feature long empty country roads, magical mountains or dark childhoods. But I’m not writing this to argue whether this is the case or not, or whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing - neither are the point.  The point is that this is the perception of a LOT of New Zealand film-makers.

And look, I understand that the NZFC is between a rock and a hard place.  They’re a government funding organisation that exists to act as custodians of New Zealand film culture in a time when money is harder and harder to come by and thus there is an expectation of the government that the films they fund turn a profit and be a commercial success internationally.   But you know what, Adam?  The sad reality is that those expectations are contradictions!  That’s why it’s not black and white.  That’s why lots of New Zealand film-makers are frustrated.  New Zealand films should have significant New Zealand content.  Absolutely.  No-one is arguing that.  But how is “significant New Zealand culture” interpreted?  That’s at the very bottom of this whole thing. 

So more and more New Zealand film-makers are bored of making these types of movies, or just outright don’t want to bother making them in the first place, just because it is what is expected of them.  They’re dying to be given the opportunity to make the movies that they want to make.  And you know what type of movies the large majority of them are passionate about?  The type of movies that most of them are really itching to make?  Genre movies.  Fact. 

The Blue Harvest pod (and that’s what it is - an executive producer pod, not a production company as your headline refers to them as - another clear example you don’t understand this funding paradigm and probably shouldn’t even be commenting on it) is not saying “to be commercially successful you must come to us with genre films because they are the only movies that can make money internationally and dark dramas will never” - that’s your naive inference.  They are actually saying “we understand this underlying frustration that exists amongst New Zealand film-makers, that you think you need to make a certain type of dark drama in order to get NZFC funding, but we’re here today to say now is your chance!  Come to us with your genre ideas because we want to make those movies too!”.  

Your other inference that Blue Harvest insinuate that “our own” stories aren’t interesting to anyone but ourselves is so, so, so wrong.  They’re not saying that at all - they’re saying the definition of “our stories” isn’t just dark drama, and if you want to make a New Zealand horror movie, then we think that could be one of “our stories” too.  

The fact that Blue Harvest are requiring proposals to include a career plan should be commended, not ridiculed.  They want film-makers who are dead serious.  It’s $90,000 to make a 10 minute short film - it would be crazy if they weren’t doing this.  It’s not about “making Hollywood movies to get noticed”.  Not at all.  It’s about making commercially viable movies to forward your career, hopefully internationally.  Can you honestly not see how you have inferred a fallacy into this through ignorance and complete misunderstanding??

Also, it’s not like New Zealand film-makers who want to make dark dramas are left out of this funding round, either!  In your article you make no mention of the fact that Blue Harvest is one of three NZFC Premier Shorts EP pods, and they are the only one specifically requesting proposals for genre scripts.    

Asking for genre proposals isn’t a restriction, it’s a huge fucking opportunity!!

The fact that Blue Harvest exists is exciting!!

New Zealand film-makers have been waiting for something like this for a long time, and all you can do is mock it?  Honestly?  If I were you I would keep your mouth shut, Adam.  It’s pretty clear you don’t actually understand what Blue Harvest is about at all.  All you’ve done is embarrass yourself, and you don’t even have the self-awareness to realise it - if your recent tweets are anything to go by.  

This.  On repeat.  Can’t wait for my pre-order to arrive!

Protestors march against the shutdown of New Zealand’s public service television station TVNZ7 after a petition to save the station with more than 36,000 signatures was ignored.

Adam Baines shooting skateboarders at Britomart, Central Auckland while waiting for the Save TVNZ7 protest march to begin.