Heading to Rotterdam for the Producers Lab

Russian Snark gets a screening in Paris at the Australian Embassy on the 24th January and then I head to Rotterdam for the Producers Lab with Stephen’s next film Distant Fires – under my arm!
Rotterdam Lab: 78 producers going Dutch



Elsewhere reviews Russian Snark


Although it would perhaps be possible to write the plot outline of this modest but quietly impressive feature on a very small piece of paper, the protagonists here and a few of the marginal characters bring such insightful portrayals that it keeps attention for all its 80 minutes.

First time feature director and writer Sinclair — who co-wrote Ladies Night, worked with Peter Jackson and has previously only directed short films — get a note-perfect performance out of Stephens Papps as Misha, a once-acclaimed Russian film director, who arrives in New Zealand in the late Nineties with his wife-cum-muse Nadia (Elena Stejko) in a tiny lifeboat. They are determined to seek a new life and a country more sympathetic to his artistic ideals.

As a film-maker — and we see some of his intended work intercut with the main story — Misha is pretentious, intellectual, singular in his vision and supported by the loving and long-suffering Nadia.

It gives nothing away to say Misha’s dreams are quickly eroded and that Nadia finally cracks at the thought of having to support his self-belief yet again.

The story is less in the narrative than in the way it is told, through those small but accumulating blows which can be debilitating, and the conflict between an intellectual inner world and the rather more unforgiving or indifferent reality in which the couple find themselves.

There are numerous scenes where everything is said in an expression or sideways glance, and Papps masters Misha’s stoic and stubborn persona as a man of few words but grand visions.

That redemption of a kind takes place in the context of loving, funny, generous but also slightly troubled Pacific family does seem a little bit of local cliche, but Stephanie Tauevihi as Roseanna (especially in her interaction with her “children”) brings a ring of understated truth and naturalism to the character.

Misha is a dreamer — and an unsympathetic and irritating one at that — but as his frailties are revealed, to himself and the viewer, he becomes more a figure to be supported and helped than ostracised or condemned by indifference.

Russian Snark — on DVD with no extras — was nominated for official inclusion in a number of international film festivals in 2010 and picked up best international film at the Garden State Film Festival.

The ending may suggest some new awakening and insight, but the getting there — like opening a series of Russian dolls — is worth the journey for the characters and viewer alike. – Graham Reid








NZ Film, Food and Wine Showcased in Brussels at the 38th Annual Brussels International Film Festival


“The New Zealand Ambassador will officially open the International Film Festival on Tuesday 1 November and this will be followed by a special screening of the New Zealand film Predicament by Jason Sutter (based on Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s novel). The official reception will showcase New Zealand wine and cuisine, with Rebecca Woodmore, the noted New Zealand soprano performing a number of waiata (Maori songs).

Two other New Zealand films will be shown during the Festival. My Wedding and Other Secrets by Roseanne Liang is a comedy which explores the challenges of cross-cultural relationship, with a specific focus on the experience of Chinese-New Zealanders. The third film, Matariki by Michael Bennett, is a fascinating portrayal of a community in the South Pacific and examines the importance of traditional Maori values. The fourth film, Russian Snark by Stephen Sinclair is the story of a Russian film maker Misha who leaves his country on board a small ship to go to New Zealand where he experiences the same difficulties to defend his ideas.”

The Devonport Speculator on Russian Stark screening 29th September

The Devonport Speculator covers the screening of Russian Snark. The film will be screened at the Victoria Theater in Devonport following a short Q & A session with the writer and director Stephen Sinclair (Ladies Night, The Bach, The Lord of the Rings, Braindead) and the films producer Liz DiFiore. The film was partly shot in Devonport and some of the cast and crew are from the area (including the Devonport-based actress Elena Stejko) therefore this screening holds great importance for everyone involved. Sinclair says it made sense to use his own backyard as the location for his first film as a director.

“I’m very familiar with the terrain round Narrow Neck, Cheltenham and North Head, where the rock formations and vistas offer fantastic visual possibilities,” he says. “And, of course, it’s nice and handy!”


37 Degrees South

In Melbourne meeting sales agents and distributers. We had a good screening of Russian Snark and are hoping for a pick up of our film. Interest from several parties however in Stephen’s next film project so will keep you posted about that over the next few months.

Russian Snark Pics


Published June 25th, 2011 at 8:16 am

Rainy old Auckland

Looking forward to a walk down Ponsonby Road tomorrow doing a flyer drop off.  Monday all of the screening times for the first week will be posted  on line.  Looks like June 16th will get sold out in Auckland.  Get in quick guys if you want to catch the Q & A!  If you want to help drop of flyers in your area, let me know!

Published June 10th, 2011 at 3:54 am

Our QR code!


Published June 6th, 2011 at 8:16 am

Posters are Flying Out the Door!

Popped into the office today. Crickey, the place is swimming in posters and flyers, Liz and Katie frantically stuffing and addressing envelopes to send out to every corner of New Zild. And our publicity man Nick is lining up articles and interviews with all manner of media. It seems like years since I was in the spotlight … well, apart from a modest splash when the movie showed at the Auckland Film Festival last year. I’ve always been ambivalent about having a profile in the media, it’s just something that has to be done in order to drum up public interest in my work. But this time round I’m looking forward to raving to assorted journos and presenters. It helps that the film is something I’m passionate about. So be prepared to read/see/hear some semi-coherent excitable raving over the next couple of weeks!


Published June 2nd, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Russian Snark Flyers arrived today!

Today the hotest looking flyers on the planet arrived!

Published May 31st, 2011 at 4:27 am