The Art of Recovery

Thursday 8pm

The Art of Recovery celebrates the creativity that spontaneously emerged in post-quake Christchurch, and explores the tension between this organic grassroots movement and Central Government’s corporate-driven urban plan. It’s bohemia verses big business, and tells an uplifting story of resilience that informs a greater conversation about how we live together and how our cities could be.

Click here to watch the trailer:

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Tactical Urbanism Panel Discussion

After the film, learn from designers and planners in LA who are bringing life to urban spaces though art and temporary installations. Panelists include: Helen Leung, LA-Mas; Max Podemski, Pacoima Beautiful; Michael MacDonald, Studio MMD


Helen Leung

helen-leung_-headshotHelen is Co-Executive Director of LA-Más, an urban design non-profit based in Los Angeles. Helen provides leadership in creating projects at LA-Más that are grounded in community need and policy potential. She has a passion towards redefining the intersection of community development and social equity. Helen has led the Futuro de Frogtown and Elysian Valley Knowledge Hub projects which explore opportunities for inclusive development. A native Angelino and urban planner, Helen has extensive policy and community-based experience working for former Los Angeles Council President Eric Garcetti. Helen serves on the Police Commission’s Permit Review Permit Panel, the Community Advisory Board of Genesis LA, and the board of the Elysian Valley Arts Collective. Helen holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.  Helen will speak on a panel about tactical urbanism after the screening of Art of Recovery  Thursday night at 8pm, October 6th.

Michael MacDonald

headshot-mmacdonaldBorn and raised in New York City, Michael MacDonald is an architect who brings a unique perspective to the necessary components of community and place-making of architectural and urban projects. His architectural practice, Studio MMD, specializes in projects oriented towards experience, and whose scales from workplace, bars and restaurants, housing, and work focused on the public realm. Studio MMD developed the concept and design for Street Beats, an event focused on the Hyde Park community of South L.A. that was funded through the Mayor’s Great Streets Challenge Grant program. Michael has been an adjunct architectural professor at Woodbury University and guest critic at Southern California universities. Michael’s work in urban advocacy includes organizing community outreach to secure approval of projects like My Figueroa, the Crenshaw Streetscape Plan, and bike lanes on King Blvd. Michael also founded Bike The Vote L.A., a group focused on Safe Streets political advocacy.

Max Podemski

image1Max Podemski is the Planning Director at Pacoima Beautiful. Mr. Podemski co-authored the Pacoima Wash Vision Plan which calls for the conversion of the channelized Pacoima Wash into a multi-modal greenway and park. This plan has been incorporated into official planning documents for the City of Los Angeles and the first park along the Wash is set to open in the coming year.  Mr. Podemski also serves on the cities Pedestrian Advisory Committee as the representative for Council District 6.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College and a Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University.


“★★★★★ Beautiful… Compelling… Powerful… A genuine story of hope”

Chris Lynch, Newstalk ZB

“★★★★ A very engaging piece of cinema “

Richard Swainson, Radio New Zealand

“★★★★ Kinetic, interesting and inspiring “

James Croot, The Press

“★★★★ A mighty documentary that gives great volume to a deserving voice”

Liam Maguren,

“★★★★ Fresh and intriguing “

Ellena Zellhuber-McMillan, One Room with a View

“★★★★ Truly inspirational stuff “

Sarah Watt, Stuff Entertainment

“Peter young on ‘The Art of Recovery'”

Rip it Up

“The Christchurch Documentary That Celebrates Doing Small Things in a Great Way”

Sunday Star Times


  • Peter Young           Director                         The Last Ocean
  • Peter Young           Producer                        The Last Ocean
  • Tracy Roe                Producer                        The Last Ocean
  • Gaylene Preston   Executive Producer
  • Gaylene Barnes     Editor
  • Scott Flyger            Editor
  • Chris Sinclair         Sound Editor

Director Biography

Peter Young,


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Peter Young is one of New Zealand’s leading documentary makers and has worked for 20 years both as director and cameraman. In 2012 Peter was named New Zealand Independent Screen Producer of the Year. He has credits in well over a hundred documentaries. His first feature documentary The Last Ocean (2012), was a film that spanned seven years and developed into a highly successful international environmental campaign. The film screened at over 50 festivals and won more than a dozen international awards.

His latest feature The Art of Recovery (2015), is a story he was compelled to tell about his Earthquake ravaged hometown of Christchurch New Zealand.

Peter Young AWARDS

  • 2014 The Last Ocean
    Stelvio National Park Award Sondrio Festival
    Wildscreen Festival Jury’s Special Selection for Screening
    Grand Prize Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films
    Best Conservation Film New York WILD Film Festival
    Spirit of Activism Award Wild & Scenic Film Festival
    Best Environmental Film Waimea Ocean Film Festival
    Peoples’ Choice Waimea Ocean Film Festival
    Best Film Ocean Environment Waimea Ocean Film Festival
    2013 The Last Ocean
    Special Consideration Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
    Best Feature Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
    Best New Zealand Film Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
    Best Science Communication Film Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
    Best Call2Action Film Boulder International Film Festival
    Royal Reel Award Documentary Canada International Film Festival
    Best Documentary Real to Reel International Film Festival
    Moving Mountains Award MountainFilm in Telluride
  • 2012 SPADA Independent Producer of the Year
    New Zealand Screen Producer and Development Association Awards
  • 2009 Best Information and Lifestyle Show: Hunger for the Wild
    Qantas New Zealand Film & Television Awards
    Best Camera (Documentary): Hunger for the Wild
    Qantas New Zealand Film & Television Awards
  • 2007 Best Factual Series: Hunger for the Wild
    Best Camera – Documentary: Country Calendar Cray Coast
    New Zealand Screen Awards
  • 2005 Best Camera – Documentary: Explorers
    New Zealand Screen Awards
    Best Camera Documentary: Country Calendar Erewhon
    Qantas Media Awards
  • 2003 Finalist – Best Documentary: Chasing Giants On the trail of the Giant Squid
    International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula Montana
  • 2002 Best Camera: Country Calendar Mt Ida Muster
    New Zealand Television Awards
  • 2000 Best Camera: Country Calendar Yankee Harvest
    New Zealand Television Awards

Director Statement

AA150101.MXF.Still001The stark beauty of the ruins, the colourful art and daily life amidst the chaos, create the utterly fascinating urban landscape in which this story unfolds…

Being in Christchurch at the time of the earthquakes, I experienced first-hand the upheaval and trauma they caused the community. But if there was a silver lining to that day, it was the way it brought people together from all levels of society.IMG_0240
That spirit continued long after the quakes and what I found interesting was that in many cases, it manifested itself through people’s art. The transformation of the cities energy and culture was quite remarkable, so living just a few blocks from central city, I decided to pick up my camera and start documenting it.

IMG_6332First and foremost, The Art of Recovery celebrates a collection of creative expressions that grew chaotically and spontaneously amongst the ruins as the city transitioned from a disaster zone into a community once again.
People found strength and community in the simplest of places – a mural on a concrete wall, a dance floor among the rubble, a fridge turned into a free book exchange, a memorial that volunteers made out of 185 white painted chairs.AA154801.MXF.Still001
From simple acts of kindness through to large scale works of art, each is a gift to a rejuvenating city, but the greatest gift is the movement itself. The temporary or transitional projects made us question the old and gave promise to the new. It made us think about how we live together and what cities are.
These discussion have relevance for anyone living in any city around the world. AA075901.MXF.Still001I hope you can benefit from the ideas that this story throws into the mix, without having to live through the Earthquakes that we did.

-Peter Young



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