Film shows artist’s work in the full light of day

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"A joy" . . . Film director Miranda Bellamy edits a scene of her documentary In Plain Air in Canada last month. On the screen, her mother, Pauline Bellamy – the subject of the film – paints in St Bathans in the winter of 2017. PHOTO: SUPPLIED 

A documentary to celebrate a “humble” Dunedin artist is being made by her daughter.

Artist and film-maker Miranda Bellamy, speaking to The Star from New Brunswick, in Canada, said she was directing the short documentary In Plain Air about her mother, Pauline Bellamy.

The film title was a play on French phrase “en plein air” about experiencing painting in the landscape, rather than in a studio or from an image, Ms Bellamy said.

In the documentary, she interviews her mother about her motivation over her 50-year career.

In every scene, she paints outdoors across Otago in a range of its “distinct” seasons.

The film crew – camera operator Iain Frengley, of Dunedin, editor Thomas Gleeson, of Auckland, and film score composer Jack Northover, of England – were selected because they knew Mrs Bellamy and Otago well.

The filming of the self-funded project began in the winter of 2015 and finished in autumn last year.

“I wanted to let it develop in its own time.”

The film was now in post-production.

An original plan was to create a three-minute documentary, but filming “took on its own life” and the final cut could be up to 20 minutes.

She chose her mother to be the film subject for many reasons.

Her mother was “humble and unassuming” and “quite happy to do her own thing without making a lot of noise about it”.

The film was an opportunity to “turn a spotlight” on the strong work and remarkable career of an accomplished artist.

Another main drive for the project was “to go on fun adventures with Mum – it felt the filming was secondary for me it was a joy”.

Her mother continued to be an influence and inspiration.

“Her stubbornness has rubbed off – it’s a tough road being an artist. You really have to believe in yourself and work through the setbacks . . . she taught me to be true to myself and my own sense of vision and self.”

The aim was to have the film finished by April so it could be submitted to festivals in New Zealand and abroad.

“I might have to include subtitles because of her accent,” she laughs.

If all went to plan, the film would be screened in New Zealand later this year.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched last month in a bid to pay for post-production and festival entry costs and give it a wider audience.

To give: boosted.org.nz/projects/in-plain-air