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ASA School of Art 1988-1995

Filmmakers and photographers John Calder, Ann Nicholson, Ingrid Boberg, Shirley Grace, and their students made ASA (Auckland Society of Arts) a resource and research centre for the Super-8 Film wave of the mid-80s to mid-90s. We also worked with 16mm and then-emerging video formats eg Hi-8. A common creative theme was "in Len Lye's footsteps" including the production of homage pieces eg "EEL-UP".

ASA ran full-time Diploma and Degree courses, but ASA-FILM gave an equal effort to running part-time courses, aiming to make moving-image-creativity accessible to the wider community, and to put into practice Cocteau's democratic ideal of giving movie-making opportunities to the widest possible range of people.


John Calder with ASA Colleagues and Students, 1993, 3 min

"The Wheels of Trade are turned by the EELS" in this homage piece made in loving imitation of Len Lye's "Trade Tattoo" (1937).  Thanks to the Len Lye Foundation for permission to quote about 5 seconds of the original - that's the really good footage near the end.

Selected for screening in the 1993 Christchurch Short Film Festival.
"Of the short-short films I particularly enjoyed John Calder's 'Eel-up'.  This 4-minute experimental animation boasted a vivacious soundtrack and managed to be both a mock commercial for canned gourmet eels and social satire."   - Christchurch Star, Sat 31 July, 1993

"Sweet Confessions"

"These Sweet Confessions" (dir Tim Hayward)

"Communication is the key to a successful friendship" (dir Edward Newbigin)

Certificate Class of 1992.

The "Certificate in Creative Film-making", our flagship making-film-accessible course, was taught part-time: officially every Thurs night and all-day every 2nd Sunday.  Students did 2 projects: one individual, the other a group project.  For the group project, each student would write and direct a short piece (typically 4 min) working with the others in the class as crew and/or actors.  The project would begin with the class deciding on a common theme so the pieces would work when put together as a longer film.

For "Sweet Confessions", the class of 1992 linked their pieces with the funeral of their common character "James", described as a "miserable bastard".

Tech: 16mm video news film with magnetic stripe sound.

"Chase Plaza"


ASA Students, 1989, 4 min.

Music by Steven Ross.  2 student treatments of the theme "A Sense of Place" as applied to "Chase Plaza", which was Auckland, NZ's first experience of corporate-look architecture featuring expanses of glass, marble and steel. Both groups used the space in a playful way.  "Chase Plaza" was an early ASA success, being screened in festivals world-wide.

When musician Steven Ross composed and recorded music for "Chase Plaza", he began a common practice of collaboration between ASA film-makers and musicians.

Tech: Super-8 film Kodak "Tri-X" b/w .

Tech Special 2021: As a "green computing" experiment, this video is coming to you from a "Raspberry Pi" server using only 4W to 10W of electrical power.