This Fine Island


This Fine Island revisits Charles Darwin's journey to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand in 1835. In this poetic adaption, Darwin's nineteenth-century travel writing in The Voyage of the Beagle becomes a vehicle for present day tourisms, travel romance, and racial othering, against the backdrop of New Zealand's lush landscape. Shot in 16mm colour negative film, the aesthetic of This Fine Island calls on the look of key postwar nation-building New Zealand films including John O'Shea's landmark bicultural romance Broken Barrier (1952) that engaged pictorial traditions of New Zealand's native landscape representation. “I like to think of This Fine Island as 'a postcolonial ballad,’ and the film’s commissioned folk songs Sweet Joan and I Saw Three Ships (performed by Jenny Lange and Dean Roberts) are contemporaneous with Darwin's voyage.”  

Hipkins’ second short film, This Fine Island premiered at Centre Pompidou, Paris in Recontres Internationales: Nouveau Cinema & Art Contemporain, and was included in the 2012 inaugural edition of Armory Film, The Armory Show, New York (curated by Moving Image New York). This Fine Island was selected for the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival. 


Director, Writer, Co-producer: Gavin Hipkins
Co-producer: Angela Hicks
Leads: Florence Noble, Joe Dekkers-Reihana
Director of Photography: Ian Powell
Editor: Chris Todd
Music: Jenny Lange, Dean Roberts
Sound Design: Tim Prebble