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Sam Pillsbury is an American film director and producer. Massachusetts-raised Sam Pillsbury emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 14. Aged 23, he began working at the Government-owned National Film Unit, joining a group of emerging filmmakers who were investigating new subjects and styles. Pillsbury directed seven films at the National Film Unit, including a multi-faceted study of artist Ralph Hotere, and a satirical look at workplace relations (Men and Supermen). He was also part of the directing team on Commonwealth Games chronicle Games 74, and worked both on set and at the editing bench for Paul Maunder's Gone Up North for a While. Pillsbury went solo in 1975. Documentary Birth with R. D. Laing won awards on both sides of the Tasman, and controversy in England and the United States. The film featured controversial Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing critiquing Western medical handling of childbirth. Pillsbury also worked on four documentaries for TV slot Seven Days, which variously looked into life for a solo mother, an ex-convict, hospital patients, and young Māori in the city.

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