IndiePix, Celebrating Independent Film

Costa Botes

Born in Turkey to Greek parents, 1958. Costa Botes grew up in New Zealand. An early love of cinema led to experiments with filmmaking at high school, and then to studying film at Ilam School of Fine Arts in Christchurch.

After graduating, Botes made several short films - including ambitious parallel worlds piece The Godel Sentence - before becoming a full time filmmaker in 1985. In between freelance assignments, he has continued to write and direct original work for film and television.

In 1985 he directed an episode in the About Face TV drama series, The Lamb of God, long predating Black Sheep with a comic-horror about an alternative Kiwi countryside where the sheep have got restless.

His short film Stalin's Sickle (about a Kiwi lad who believes Stalin is his elderly next-door neighbour) won the jury prize at the Clermont-Ferrand short film festival in 1988. Botes also directed four episodes of anthology series Ray Bradbury Theatre, working alongside actors ranging from Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher to a dinosaur-hunting John Bach.

Forgotten Silver, the tale of pioneering filmmaker Colin McKenzie, began as a Botes idea. Made for television, the film argues that McKenzie was the first New Zealand filmmaker to introduce colour and sound to the medium, and that he also filmed Richard Pearse flying, nine months before the Wright Brothers achieved controlled flight. Botes co-wrote and co-directed with Peter Jackson.

When Forgotten Silver screened in a Montana Sunday Theatre slot in October 1995, many believed it, and there was some anger when the show was revealed to be an elaborate hoax (Botes can be seen talking about reaction to Silver's unveiling in documentary Behind the Bull).

Forgotten Silver went on to win the duo a Best Director prize at the New Zealand Film and Television Awards 1996, and Special Critics' Prize at Venice the same year.

Botes' feature film Saving Grace completed in 1997, was selected for competition at Valladolid and Asia-Pacific festivals. The film tells the story of a relationship between a troubled teenager and a man (Jim Moriarty) who may or not be Jesus Christ.

In 1999, Botes began documenting the making of Peter Jackson's epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Much of Botes' footage was utilised in the extensive behind the scenes material included on the DVD release of the films. Botes' three feature-length documentaries arrived on DVD in 2006.

In recent years Botes has directed a number of documentaries about musicians - among them the feature-length Struggle No More (about veteran group The Windy City Strugglers) and Yes that's Me - Dave Murphy Plays the Blues.

He also worked with director Zoe McIntosh on Qantas award-winning doco Lost in Wonderland, a portrait of controversial, sometimes skirt-garbed lawyer Rob Moodie. Botes produced and edited; NZ Herald reviewer Peter Calder praised McIntosh's "gentle and intelligent touch", and "Botes' sensitive editing".

Botes would then offer McIntosh another project he had been developing over many years: short film Day Trip, a tale of a gang member at a point of change, based on a true story told to him by the late writer Bill Payne. After debuting at New York's Tribeca Film Festival, Day Trip was awarded a prize at Mexico's largest film festival, Guanajuato. The award was given by Signis, a group of Roman Catholic media professionals. Triple nominated at the local Qantas awards, the film won a best actor award for its star, ex Mongrel Mob leader Tuhoe Isaac.

Aside from making films, Botes has worked extensively as a film critic (The Dominion, 1986-96), and occasionally teaches screenwriting at Wellington's NZ Film and TV School.

In January 2010, Botes' latest documentary Candyman premiered to a standing ovation at American indie film festival Slamdance. The film, which chronicles the life of American jelly bean pioneer David Klein, later played at the Wellington Film Festival.

Botes continues to develop more independent drama and documentary projects.


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Candyman: The David Klein Story

$24.95 | 76 minutes

(2010) - Cinematographer, Director, Editor, Producer

CANDYMAN tells the amazing true story of David Klein, an eccentric candy inventor from LA, who came up with the concept of Jelly Belly jellybeans. These colorful beans became a pop culture phenomenon, revolutionized the candy industry and&hellip…

buy nowmore info
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Candyman: The David Klein Story - ON DEMAND

$3.99 | 76 minutes

(2010)

Candyman tells the amazing true story of David Klein, an eccentric candy inventor from LA, who came up with the concept of Jelly Belly jellybeans. These colorful beans became a pop culture phenomenon, revolutionized the candy industry&hellip…

buy nowmore info
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Candyman: The David Klein Story - DOWNLOAD

$11.99 | 76 minutes

(2010)

Candyman tells the amazing true story of David Klein, an eccentric candy inventor from LA, who came up with the concept of Jelly Belly jellybeans. These colorful beans became a pop culture phenomenon, revolutionized the candy industry&hellip…

buy nowmore info