Phil Dadson during Pacific 321 Zero shoot

Phil Dadson during Pacific 321 Zero shoot

NZIFF - Philip Dadson: Sonics From Scratch

  • Sat 12 Sep 2015
  • 6:30—7:50PM
  • Len Lye Centre Cinema
  • General $15.50
  • Concession: Seniors, students, New Plymouth Film Society and community services card holders $12.50 (valid ID required)
  • Child (under 14) $10
  • Bookings essential
  • Wheelchair spaces available. Free entry for a companion to assist an audience member who has a disability. Companion seat is automatically allocated when a wheelchair space is booked

World Premiere

As deeply fascinated by the conceptual as the biographical, this comprehensive portrait of one of our great experimental artists is essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in New Zealand art and music.

“If the planet makes a note, you’d think that the first person to hear it might be Phil.” — Geoff Chapple

Few Kiwi artists have had such an enlivening impact on fine arts as Philip Dadson with his international reputation for innovative sonic sculptures, sophisticated video-installation art, and groundbreaking experimentation in the field of sound. He is arguably best known for founding the avant-garde orchestra From Scratch, which would use everything from old lampshades to customised PVC pipes to perform its intricate, rhythmic compositions. This polished and engaging documentary charts Dadson’s career from his humble beginnings in Napier through to his eventual recognition on the world stage (an international exposure in the 80s rivalled only by Split Enz).

Aided by the warm, laid-back presence of the subject himself, filmmakers Simon Ogston and Orlando Stewart craft a polished and comprehensive overview of Dadson’s life and work, roping in various academics, historians and even some of his scratch orchestra alumni to weigh in on his legacy. In examining the creative collision of Dadson’s insatiable curiosity and infectious energy with fellow members of his collective, the film explores an ethos of community and collaboration that’s quietly life-affirming.

Featuring dynamic archival footage of From Scratch’s most iconic performances, this is a vivid portrait of creative ingenuity and a paean to the role of collectivism in realising great art. It all results in a call to arms persuasive enough to send audiences scrambling through their sheds and garages for potential makeshift instruments. — JF

Preceded by Arid Edge (8 mins), a new film by Dadson himself.


New Zealand 2015

Directors/Producers: Simon Ogston, Orlando Stewart

Photography: Simon Ogston

Editors: Jacob Parish, Simon Ogston


With: Philip Dadson, Don McGlashan, Geoff Chapple, Wystan Curnow, Tony Green, Andrew Clifford, Christina Barton, Bruce Barber, Gregor Nicholas, Jim Allen, James McCarthy

80 mins



Event Info

New Zealand International Film Festival