The tiny New Zealand town of Kaikohe made world news in 1991 when a group of its children attacked Santa in the local Christmas parade. Florian Habicht's new documentary hopes to cleanse the bad reputation of the town by focusing on something more positive: the Kaikohe Demolition Derby.
Habicht was the eccentric mind behind MIFF 2003 discovery Woodenhead. This outlandish Freudian fairy tale for grown-ups left numerous audience members with troubling dreams for weeks and a similar unconventional sensibility is bought to Kaikohe Demolition. Told by the people directly involved, the documentary exposes the innocence and artistic beauty of a violent spectator sport.
Reclining in hot-spring baths or relaxing with the family, colourful characters such as the ever-cheerful Uncle Bimm passionately explain the reasons why they have become involved in this destructive automotive warfare. Seemingly tranquil and sedate folk are transformed into wily tacticians, warriors in steel chariots and revhead berserkers hell-bent on annihilating their opponents. And maybe enjoying a couple of coldies after the Derby.
Florian Habicht is a guest of the Festival.
D/P/WS Florian Habicht TD Video/Col/2004/53mins
Florian Habicht's films include: Strange Man Celebrations (1996).