Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (The)

© FIFO 2010, Tahiti
Genre : Biography
Type : Documentary
Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2008
Format : Feature
http://topptwins.com/tv-and-film/untouchable-girls

"The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls" is the first time that the irrepressible Kiwi entertainment double act, Jools and Lynda Topp's extraordinary personal story has been told. The film offers a revealing look into the lives of the World's only comedic, country singing, dancing, and yodeling lesbian twin sisters. As well as rarely seen archive footage and home movies, the film features a series of special interviews with some of the Topp's infamous comedy alter-egos including candid chats with the two Kens, Camp Mother and Camp Leader, the Bowling Ladies and the Posh Socialite sisters, Prue and Dilly.

Celebrating their half century this year, the Topp Twins have attained a unique status within New Zealand culture, and their fans range from hard core political activists, to sheep farmers and'Ladies who Lunch'. Their ability to relate to all kinds of people, and their natural gift for humour, has helped them cross from the fringes to the mainstream.

It has often been said that if the story of the Twins was fictional nobody would believe it. From rural backwaters to busking on the streets of Auckland, to performances at the Rugby World Cup and London's West End stage, their appeal is infectious. From support act to Split Enz, Billy Bragg, and Midnight Oil to headlining their own hugely successful tours in Australia, Canada, the USA and Britain. The twins have morphed from radical activists into Kiwi'national treasures','cultural ambassadors', and finally, according to the Glasgow Herald, into New Zealand's'finest artistic export since lamb cutlets!'

'Untouchable Girls' follows the girls from their happy childhood on a Waikato dairy farm - where they grew up singing to the cows - to the Territorial Army where they quickly became the Vera Lynns of their battalion. They came of age performing on the streets of Auckland during the heady days of the political protest marches in the early 80s, and quickly joined the forefront of progressive social change campaigning for a Nuclear-Free NZ, Maori Land Rights, a halt to the1981 Springbok Tour, and Homosexual Law Reform.

By 1998 only a decade later, Lynda Topp, as Camp Mother, came close to winning the mayoral elections in Auckland, and the Topp Twins were firmly entrenched in the bosom of Kiwi culture with their own prime time TV Series'Do Not Adjust Your Twinset'.

THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS is a big story. It's not just the story of two sisters but also of 50 years of New Zealand history. Half a century of cultural changes and the foundation of a national identity. Part concept film, part biopic, part historical record, part comedy, the Twins share their journey from "coming out‟ to Jools' recent brush with Breast Cancer with much laughter, honesty and wisdom. It is a film about two truly unique New Zealanders which ends up saying as much about us as it does about them.

'The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls' is directed by award-winning ex BBC documentary filmmaker, Leanne Pooley. Director of Photography was shared by Leon Narbey ('Whale Rider'); one of New Zealand's most acclaimed cinematographers, and Wayne Vinten, (Best Cinematography NZ Screen Awards 2008). The film was produced by Arani Cuthbert of Diva Productions, who has also managed the twins for much of their career.

Our documentary feature film The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, released in April 2009, has taken nearly $2 million at the NZ Box Office making it the Top Documentary Film ever released in New Zealand ! It had its North American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the Cadillac People's Choice Award for Best Documentary, beating Michael Moore!
The film also won the Audience Award for Documentary at the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Gothenburg Film Festival, the Audience Award for Documentary at the Portland International Film Festival and won Best Feature Film (under 1 million dollar budget) as well as Best Original Music at the Qantas New Zealand Fiilm and TV Awards 2009.

AWARDS

Cadillac People's Choice Award - Documentary
Toronto International Film Festival 2009, Canada

Audience Award - Documentary
Melbourne International Film Festival 2009, Australia

Audience Dragon Award - Best Feature Film
Gothenburg International Film Festival 2010, Sweden

Best Feature Documentary
Portland International Film Festival 2010, USA

Special Jury Award
FIFO Documentary Film Festival 2010, Tahiti

Best of Fest Award
Women's Film Festival Brattleboro 2010, USA

Selected for the ‘Best of the Fest' Program
Palm Springs International Film Festival 2010, USA

Best Film (Budget under $1 mil)
Qantas Film and Television Awards 2009, New Zealand

Best Original Music in a Feature Film
Qantas Film and Television Awards 2009, New Zealand

SCREENINGS FESTIVALS:
Melbourne International Film Festival 2009, Australia
Toronto International Film Festival 2009, Canada
International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) 2009, Netherlands
Hamburg Musik Film Festival 2009, Germany
Palm Springs Film Festival 2010, USA
FIFO Documentary Film Festival 2010, Tahiti
Gothenburg International Film Festival 2010, Sweden
Portland International Film Festival 2010, USA
Glasgow Film Festival 2010, UK
Out! For Reel 2010, USA
Women's Film Festival Brattleboro 2010, USA
Perth International Arts Festival 2010, Australia
BFI London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2010, UK

THEATRICAL:
New Zealand Theatrical Release 2009, New Zealand
Australian Theatrical Release 2009, Australia

Partners

  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • PACIFIC ARTS ALLIANCE
  • FURTHER ARTS
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of