Swagger of Thieves is a 110-minute feature documentary that has been in production for ten years. The documentary charts the story of the iconic New Zealand rock band, Head Like a Hole. The film transcends the bands twenty-five year history.
The idea for the documentary came about because of the twenty-year relationship between the band and Julian Boshier. Wet Rubber was Boshier’s first music video for Head Like a Hole. It went on to win the Flying Fish knack award for innovation and originality, within a low production budget ceiling of $5000. It was also banned from the TVNZ roster for having explicit lyrics and explicit visuals.
Boshier understood and pushed the bands aesthetic, taste and presentation – and because of this the band figured Boshier could be a good choice for future collaboration.
Several years later, after completing a dozen music videos for several different bands, something more substantial was called for – Boshier had been visualizing a compelling story, and the opportunity for this lay within Head Like a Hole (a story that was quite evident) – and pitched the idea of a feature length documentary to the band. They were bemused, but readily agreed.
Funding was never sought. Boshier did not want to lose interest by being censored over editorial and cut control because of the conditions of crown funding – any censoring of Head Like a Hole would result in a untrue representation, of them as people and of them as a band. Boshier also figured that this would become a long-term project, and did not want to be confined by a deadline. After all, dealing with Head Like a Hole was going to be dealing with chaos.
Boshier had time and cameras, so filming commenced with a rough story plan. That was a decade ago. And over that decade Boshier has spent a large amount of personal money, on the production.
Described as a monumentally stupid undertaking by Boshier himself – he agrees it was and still is a ridiculous notion, “but I do feel a sense of real achievement, and I have strived to make something fitting and true to the band, a band that delivers great music, that is full of life, with a healthy dose of pathology and humor – there is no other NZ band that I would want to make a film about, especially a film with no conditions attached”
Duration: 110 minutes (including titles).
Festivals: Official selection, New Zealand International Film Festival 2017.
Producer and Director: Julian Boshier.
Photography: Julian Boshier
Editor: Eddie Larsen.
Sound Post: Dick Reade.
Official Selection / 2017 New Zealand International Film Festival