Cancer claims director of In My Father's Den

Brad McGann, the New Zealand director who gained worldwide acclaim with his sole feature film In My Father's Den, has died.

McGann died today in Auckland after suffering for many years from cancer. He was 43.

"In My Father's Den is I think one of the star films in the canon of New Zealand cinema, and to lose a talent like him is a real loss," Film Commission chief executive Ruth Harley said.

"Brad was someone with whom many of us had a close connection and in some cases a deep personal friendship."

Based on a novel by Maurice Gee, In My Father's Den won nine awards at the New Zealand Screen Awards in 2005, including best picture and best director.

It also won an International Critics Award at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival and numerous other film awards, and helped launch the career of actress Emily Barclay.

"That award cited the film's 'emotional maturity, striking performances and visual grace' and that well sums up Brad's place in our film culture," Dr Harley said.

He also had earlier success with short films, especially with Possum (1997).

Dr Harley said McGann had been diagnosed with bowel cancer ten years ago.

"He believed he had beaten it when he started filming In My Father's Den," she said.

"But by the time he was publicising the film it had returned."

Many people in the film industry, including Sam Neill, Peter Jackson, Roger Donaldson and Vincent Ward, helped raise $60,000 in 2005 so McGann could receive an $80,000 treatment for the cancer starting in January 2006.

"The treatment enabled him to get an extra year of life, and it was quality life," Dr Harley said.

"His death wasn't unexpected but the finality of it is still has a terrible effect."

McGann's funeral will be in Auckland on Saturday.

- NZPA

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 26 Nov 2014 12:16:02 Processing Time: 478ms