The Freedom Flat
Screens Wednesday 30 November, 11.20pm
The ambient sounds of Pink Floyd managed to drown out the dominance of the Flying Nun sound in Dunedin nearly two decades ago, well at least in one flat.
It was January 1988 and six guys with a startling resemblance to television's The Young Ones moved into number three Clyde St in North Dunedin's student quarter. Within days they declared their digs the Freedom Flat with only one rule: There are no rules.
The Freedom Flat documentary tells the story of the crazy, intense year that followed, as New Zealand's first, and quite possibly only, conceptual flat rose and fell in a vortex of prog rock, astral travel and skinhead violence.
While everyone else in Dunedin was getting down to the Flying Nun sound, Swani, Jac, Wallace, Barry, Marc and Kelvin were practising their deeply uncool Pink Floyd guitar solos. One sunny morning, they woke up and decided to paint their front door pink, in homage to their favourite Pink Floyd album. Seventeen years later, the pink door remains as their legacy - a Dunedin landmark that's been maintained by a professional art restorer and protected under the flat's lease agreement.
The Freedom Flat was written, produced and directed by Bianca Zander and Wallace Chapman. It is their first documentary. Bianca is a former Listener journalist-turned-filmmaker, while Wallace is the creative director at Auckland radio station 95bFM. Chapman also happens to be one of the original Freedom Flat tenants.
Zander says she was first attracted to the story when Chapman told her what had happened in the flat. "It was a highly unusual year. Real characters lived in the flat. They got up to all sorts of high jinks and left behind a beautiful, but ugly, front door."
With a musical score by Murray Fisher from Goodshirt, The Freedom Flat screened at the DOCNZ International Documentary Festival in Auckland in September. It was commissioned as part of the TV2 documentary innovation series.