Richard von Sturmer

b. 1957

Richard von Sturmer is a writer and film-maker. His written work has appeared in many anthologies and literary journals, including Landfall, Sport, brief, and the NZ Listener. Four collections of his writing have been published: We Xerox Your Zebras (Modern House, 1988), A Network of Dissolving Threads (Auckland University Press, 1991), Suchness: Zen Poetry and Prose (HeadworX, 2005) and On the Eve of Never Departing (Titus Books, 2009).

In 1976 he wrote the script for David Blythe’s first film, Circadian Rhythms. He began making films with his partner, Amala Wrightson, in the 1980’s. Their super-8 films formed part of their performance work as The Humanimals. In his own film work von Sturmer went on to develop a poetics of film based on natural images and spoken texts.

“I resonate with a statement made by the great Russian director, Andrei Tarkovsky. It sums up my own approach to film-making: ‘The basic element of cinema, running through it from its tiniest cells, is observation. . . . Because it is a living process, artistic creation demands a capacity for direct observation of the ever-changing material world, which is constantly in movement. . . . We have forgotten how to observe. Instead of observing, we do things according to patterns.’ Okay, let’s break the patterns; let’s see what’s really out there.”

Von Sturmer currently works as an ESOL advisory officer with the Ministry of Education and helps run the Auckland Zen Centre

Selected Exhibitions
2011 The Stone Angel Dream of Headstones in a group show at The Film Archive, Auckland
2010 “Rubble Emits Light”: a retrospective of his film works curated by Gabriel White at the Film Archive, Auckland
2007 24 Tanka Films screened for a season at the New Zealand Film Archive, Wellington
1990 The Search for Otto in “Images in Motion”, an exhibition at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
1987 The Search for Otto in “Recent New Zealand Films”, an exhibition in Japan curated by Roger Horrocks