P:O.V. No.1 - Avondale Dogs: film data and synopsis


Gregor Nicholas
(New Zealand, 1994), 15 minutes, b/w

Principal Production Credits

Writer and Director
Executive Producer
Director of Photography
Production Designer
Casting Line Producer
Sound Designer/Mixer
Gregor Nicholas
Stephanie Bauer
Dorthe Scheffmann
Jim Wilkins
Ian Paul
Mike Kane
David Coulson
Margaret Slater
John McKay

Paul's Mum
Paul's Dad
Damien Lay
Rhonda Findleton
Mellini Blake
Stephen Hall
Glynnis Paraha

Awards won for AVONDALE DOGS

Kino Award for Best Short Drama, Melbourne International Film Festival

Official Selection, Venice Film Festival. Acclaim was also won at Chicago, Mannheim, Telluride and other film festivals.

Gregor Nicholas has also won numerous awards for other films, including the Croisette d'Or - the Grand Prix 1994 Cannes MIDEM Awards for Pacific 3, 2, 1, Zero. His Drum/Sing has been selected for the Museum of Modern Art's permanent film collection, while Rushes won the Best Short Film award at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1989. Commercials he has made have also won prizes at Cannes and elsewhere.


Mouth Music (experimental)
BodySpeak (experimental)
Every Dancer's Dream (documentary)
Drum/Sing (experimental performance/film collaboration)
Danny and Raewyn (docudrama)
Hey Paris (experimental dance/film collaboration)
Rushes (experimental black comedy)
User Friendly (feature film in the "caper" genre)
Commercials, including the award-winning BP Green Balloons
Pacific 3, 2, 1, Zero (film document of From Scratch performance)
Avondale Dogs (short drama)
Broken English (feature film, now being completed)

Synopsis of Avondale Dogs (from press kit)

One Sentence Statement

Avondale, New Zealand, 1965. A young boy grapples with something bigger than he realises: the love within himslf, brought into focus through his relationship with his dying mother, and this love's power of transcendence in times of loss.


Paul's Mum, a music teacher in a poor suburb, is terminally ill. Sensitive to his Mum's love of music, Paul pushes her in her wheelchair as she listens to a Debussy prelude. Soon after, seeking to prove himself to some older boys, Paul shoots a pigeon belonging to the neighboring Apirana family who we learn offers nothing but kindness.

Shocked by this incident, Paul returns to his house where he witnesses his Mum receiving a morphine injection to relieve the intensity of her suffering. He feels he musn't leave her and he is led away against his will by Mary Apirana to play with her daughter Glenys. When Glenys shows Paul how to lick drops of fat dripping off eels hanging in her Dad's smoking shed, Paul starts to develop a crush on her.

That night, Paul dreams of seeing Glenys sitting on her horse in the street outside his house.[*] Paul wakes and goes through to tell his ailing Mum. He works up enough courage to confess to her that he killed Glenys's pigeon, but his Mum drifts into a deep sleep before he can finish.

After school the next day, Paul steals a toy ring from the local dairy to give to his Mum. Excited, he runs home, only to find the house empty and his Mum gone. Mary Apirana takes Paul to the hospice where his Dad is waiting for him. Paul's Dad tries to comfort him as he holds his dying Mum's hand.

At his Mum's wake, Paul sees Glenys across a room full of adults and chooses this moment to give her the stolen ring. Paul and Glenys stand hand in hand, profoundly affected by a waiata lament sung by Mary Apirana for Paul's Mum.

* This dream also contains Paul's memory of a time his mother woke him up to see the local dogs eating pies strewn all over the road, after a van had had a minor accident. In this dream, Paul's mother is radiant and healthy (ed.).