As i am blind I am a curiosity studied from an early age to see what people could find out about blind people in general. The media exposure is also an interesting phenomena. All my blind friends were in ads for Guide Dog Day and Braille Week, the two major campaigns by the RNZFB. I was never asked to be in an ad as a child though I did do all the publicity photos for the organisation.
When I was two, a lady made a video of me with the important people in my life doing things. It was part of her University education. [No, it is not on YouTube.] So began my life as a filmstar.
Then when I was four and at Kindergarten, a second home movie was made for this lady who wanted to know how I had turned out. There is me with other blind Children — mother says it is interesting to watch as we are all so little and cute.
I have lived a relatively normal life outside the media spotlight accepting in 2004 when I was asked to go on a youth current affairs show, FlipSide, to comment on an art exhibit, More than Looking by Glen Henan. They filmed all day for 30 seconds, literally. In 2007, a short documentary was made by Attitude Pictures. I paint and sing and talk. [This is on YouTube].
That same year was released. Written and directed by Harold Brodie, the film is a coming of age story about a kid who likes to read maps and is highly influenced by a blind woman. I was consultant to Bonnie Soper later to play Morgan Braithwaite on Shortland Street and a lovely person. [It was so weird going out to coffee with her after she had appeared on shorty.]
The acknowlegement on Reader said “Thanks to Mara for enthusiaism and zest for life.”
In 2011 I took some drama classes with Stephen Ure [ Chank Bear] at Toi Ora Live Art Trust. The classes produced the short film, Walter.
Last year, 2012, Harold called me up again. He wanted to make a movie about a blinded woman hearing voices. He wanted to take an improvisatory approach. Would I consult again? I said yes. a few days later he asked me to be in the movie. It was made very quickly and concerns a girl who is hearing voices. I play the therapist and sing and play harp. It was great fun.
such has been my life so far on film. I can also be found on YouTube playing the piano and harp and singing folksongs.