"Film is collaborative. Being able to manage that collaboration is as important and as difficult as being a good writer." - Graeme Tetley 1942 - 2011.
I was proud to call Graeme Tetley my friend. True we were very different writers, we approached the art of screenwriting from opposite ends of the spectrum but, somewhere in the middle, we found a place where we would sit share a glass of wine and plate of kedgeree.
He was a font of wisdom and a man who showed a love and passion for his craft that was evident every time he spoke. His writing and his films were truly lyrical and always walked an easy line between truth and poetry. True he was often a bit too fruity for my liking and I know he was always amused by the constant crowd-pleasing in my work. But we could always talk freely and I walked away from every one of our catch ups with a gem I could use.
With Graeme's passing we've lost not only a fine writer but one of the true trail-blazers of the New Zealand film industry. I've lost a fellow traveller, a mentor and a bloody good friend.
Last time I saw Graeme I said, "Let's catch up for a drink next time I'm in Wellington." He chuckled and said "I'd like that." I didn't get to have that last glass with him but I'll raise a glass today Graeme. Godspeed mate.