“I felt I was in the hands of a master storyteller.” Still in Motion magazine
I am truly passionate about everything I do – the risks I’ve taken in making some of my documentaries exhibit either passion or craziness. I have always been excited by stories that matter, the personal journeys that reflect a bigger issue – my Irish heritage has not only given me red hair but also a thirst for story-telling.
With parents that took me everywhere from Papua New Guinea to Portugal, they encouraged a wonder and appreciation for the diversity of peoples and their stories.
“Pietra Brettkelly’s enigmatic rendering … is not a straightforward artist’s profile, political commentary or domestic drama, but a poetic fusion of the three.” Peter Debruge, Variety
My self-funded 2008 Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary ‘the art star and the sudanese twins’ enjoyed international success in competition at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hotdocs, Toronto, Zurich International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival and Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.
I am a multi award-winning international director and producer with work that has premiered at the world’s top film festivals. My most recent film A FLICKERING TRUTH opened in competition at both Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival. In 2008 film THE ART STAR AND THE SUDANESE TWINS won the World Cinema Documentary Editing Award at Sundance Film Festival and screened in over 100 film festivals.
I have been supported by the Sundance Institute, Gucci Tribeca Fund, BritDoc, the Binger Film Lab and the New Zealand Film Commission.
In 2012 my film MAORI BOY GENIUS premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.
In 2003 my film ‘Beauty Will Save the World’ took me to Libya for that country’s first ever beauty pageant and an interview with the “mad dog of the Middle East” Colonel Muammar Gadaffi. The film premiered at the American Film Institute Film Festival in Los Angeles and later at Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, Toronto and IDFA in Amsterdam.
My films have a considered quietness to them, an approach that allows subjects to tell their stories in a cinematic film. I treasure the honesty and the privilege people grant me in capturing and documenting an often pivotal time in their lives.
My awards include:
Best Editing Sundance Film Festival
Best Documentary, Warsaw Film Festival
Best Documentary, Human Rights Film Festival Jordan
Best Documentary, NZ Film Awards The Moas
Qantas Film and Television Best Documentary Director
Qantas Film and Television Best Festival Documentary
Best Director, EIDF Seoul Korea
Best Documentary Whistler Film Festival, Canada,
Special Jury Prize Zurich Film Festival, Switzerland
Best Documentary Film, the Moas, the NZ Film Awards
New Zealand Film Commission Producer’s Award
My work has enjoyed international success in competition at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hotdocs, Toronto, Zurich International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival and Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, Bergen International Film Festival, the Sydney Film Festival and the Margaret Mead Film Festival New York.
“Pietra Brettkelly’s engimatic rendering … is not a straightforward artist’s profile, political commentary or domestic drama, but a poetic fusion of the three.” Variety Magazine
I am currently at work in China, France and the US on a new film.
2015 A FLICKERING TRUTH
World Premier: Venice Film Festival
North American Premier: Toronto Film Festival
2012 MAORI BOY GENIUS
World Premier: Berlin Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival
Margaret Mead Film Festival New York
2008 THE ART STAR AND THE SUDANESE TWINS
World Premier: Sundance Film Festival
Hotdocs Toronto Film Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival
Rio International Film Festival
Zurich International Film Festival
2003 BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD
World Premier: International Documentary Festival, Amsterdam
AFI Film Festival, Los Angeles
New Zealand International Film FestivalFilm Awards for The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins