Surreal Estate has been released as part of Loading Docs - a launchpad for short New Zealand documentaries.
DIRECTOR INTERVIEW: URSULA WILLIAMS
I'm a director and producer. I mainly focus on documentaries, which are my buzz. I started getting into it when I did my honours at AUT and then I did a lot of assisting for a production company. Then I progressed onto making my own stuff when doing a masters at AUT, where I got first-class honours. The thesis won a lot of awards nationally and internationally.
Tell us a bit about Surreal Estate come about?
The main thing is that it’s super funny. The interesting thing about this film is that it’s an artist’s take on the housing crisis but also an artist who has built his own business model. He doesn’t rely on getting involved with galleries or commissions. He sells and makes these pieces of surreal estate which are the highly detailed models of old 1900 bay villas.
John has his alter ego Ron. Ron is in real estate. He’s the slicked-back hair, bad glasses, bad shoes, terrible suit guy with stripes on stripes on stripes. He calls Ron his employee and he employs Ron on behalf of the artist metaphorically, because he says as an artist it is really hard to get the money out of people.
How did you meet such a character like John?
I first heard about John because I saw this business card that had two different sides to it. One side said John Radford Artist and it had multiple pieces of work from him. The other side said Ron Jadford real-estate agent and I thought hold on I need to meet this guy.
What do you think the viewers will learn from the film?
I think the viewers will learn to think outside the square if you’re a creative in terms of making your own business models and not confine to what is in the box.
So what is next? What are you working on?
I am all go. I am working for Vice at the moment doing content for them, which is really exciting.
Anything else to add?
I just think that if any other burgeoning film-makers want a place to harness their skills for documentary film-making, Loading Docs is definitely the place to start. Also, it was pretty kickass to see so many women leading films in this industry, especially with how male saturated it is. I just had to add that too haha.
Interview with Chev Hassett.