Stuart Page: Pauly created a musical melting pot.
Stuart page is the director of How Bizarre. This documentary portrays an artist, Paul Fuemana, and a group OMC, who achieved success with an international hit before going bankrupt. This Wednesday February 8, is the anniversary of the one who was nicknamed Pauly. He would’ve been 48 years old. Stuart Page talks about the character and his film. Interview.
How did the idea of the documentary come to you?
A good friend of mine, Fred Renata, proposed it to me. He is a producer and he knew Paul Fuemana, the OMC singer. He also knows my previous documentary on the artist Shustak. I always had a lot of respect and interest for artists. I tried to structure the film in line with the image of his personality. Fred Renata knew I could do the same with Paul Fuemana a.k.a. Pauly. It took us a full year to finish the film, but we discussed the subject for five years, for I did not know much about the character who is complex. Pauly is a comprehensive artist, he sings, writes music, paints… I, myself, am a musician, and have been interested in the music of the early 80’s and the beginning of the Hip Hop. In this film, I have solely focused on the artist and not on the money, as did the media.
Is the image of the artist tarnished by the media? Has it been difficult to produce this film?
Yes. The media talked a lot about the money problems, of the fortune they earned, and then the bankruptcy. When money is involved there are always vultures. When I started to evoke the film, I had to be wary of the opportunists. My interest was the group chemistry and again, Pauly’s personality. People who saw the film discovered the man. Before, they only knew the image given by the media who portrayed Pauly as a gangster, living on a fortune created by one song. When he died, the media even suggested that his death might have been due to drugs or Aids. They did not even bother to ask his wife Kirstine.
You filmed a documentary about a deceased artist. Was it complicated to find images?
It was a real challenge. Pauly was very prolific as a director. He was one of the first to use a digital camera and he filmed himself. He was a rather compulsive collector. When he died, his wife moved and got rid of his affairs. My friend and producer, Fred Renata, recuperated some paintings directly from the garbage bins. His wife Kirstine gave me access to many images and writings, and around 30 DV tapes. His brothers and sisters, on the contrary, were not consulted, but it has to be said that there were divisions within Pauly’s family. Just for the anecdote, Pauly’s daughter, reconnected with her grandmother, with whom he had a fallout, through a knitting e-site.
Did this group and this singer influence the New Zealand musical scene?
Pauly was an artist who moved away from American Hip Hop, to shift to the Urban Pasifik artistic movement which is more acoustic. He even went further by mixing Hip Hop with this universe, by adding local colors and his own universe as well as Jazz and Pop music. He really did create a musical melting pot. You know, Pauly was a very determined character who did not change his mind. He was a great ambassador of individualism. It is more amazing to be a creator than to copy others.
What do you remember about this man?
He loved his family. He had six children, two daughters and four boys. They really miss him today.