Photo recall: Movie buff stuck to his own script

By Poppy Wortman

His passion was film, but he also had to pretend to like rugby

Everard, a Psychology graduate from Victoria Uni, was taken on at the NFU as an apprentice. Photo: Jane Ussher/NZ Listener; Photo research: Emma Land.
Everard, a Psychology graduate from Victoria Uni, was taken on at the NFU as an apprentice. Photo: Jane Ussher/NZ Listener; Photo research: Emma Land.

When Arthur Everard applied for a projectionist job at the National Film Unit in 1965, the interviewers were baffled.

"They asked me if I had School Certificate and I said yes," Everard, now 78, remembers. "They asked if I had anything else, like University Entrance and I said yes. They asked what I had and I said, 'Well, I've actually got a degree'.

"They said, 'Well why on earth do you want this job?' And I said, 'I like movies'."

Having graduated with an Honours degree in Psychology from Victoria University, Everard was taken on at the NFU as an apprentice. Within a year he rose through the ranks in directing, writing and producing films, and from making items for monthly newsreels to major productions.

With ideas for films stemming from governmental developments or topics garnering public interest, Everard admits he sometimes had to work on productions he had zero concern with - such as rugby.

"I approached it so if I myself went into a theatre and had to sit through a film about this topic, would I be amused enough to find it interesting, or be bored out of my mind and think, 'Why the hell did they make this rubbish?"'

Which sparked the bright idea of rendering footage of the 1979 French Rugby Tour in slow motion.

"I must be one of the very few New Zealanders who has absolutely no interest in rugby. But seeing it in slow motion seemed to make it tolerable."

When the NFU was slated for closure in 1984, Everard applied for the job of Chief Film Censor.

"The notice came up that the censor was retiring and the job was available, and I thought that would be quite interesting and would carry on being in films," he says.

In the role for six years, Everard copped a lot of flak from anti-pornography campaigners, such as Patricia Bartlett.

"We were accused of perverting the social tissue of New Zealand and ripping the social fabric. Patricia used to make a big song and dance about how we were the most liberal in history, but in fact we rejected far, far more films in any one year than several years put together previously," he says. "Wherever it was anti-social, we rejected or cut very heavily."









- Herald on Sunday

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