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Thursday, 6 July 2017


Dave Gibson to Step Down

NZFC Chair, Kerry Prendergast, announced on 20 June that CEO Dave Gibson would step down from the role at the beginning of next year, after four years leading the agency.

Gibson has given six months' notice to allow the Board time to plan a recruitment and selection process, and will remain as CEO until January 2018.

You can read more here.


Production Funding Announcements

The Board considered and approved six applications for production financing at the June Board Meeting.

The Guinea Pig Club
Maverick Kiwi surgeon Archie McIndoe risks his career, his reputation and his marriage to heal the horribly burned bodies and – most importantly – the tortured souls of heroic RAF fighter pilots in WW2. A historical drama directed by Roger Donaldson, written by Mike Riddell and produced by Tim Sanders.

A young couple’s love and marriage is celebrated and tested in a heart-aching musical drama featuring original versions of iconic New Zealand songs. Directed by David Stubbs, written by Rochelle Bright, and produced by Richard Fletcher.

When his beloved wife dies unexpectedly, a curmudgeonly farmer attempts to transfer control of their humble Northland dairy farm to his reluctant son. Written and directed by Hamish Bennett, and produced by Orlando Stewart.

Martin Phillipps and The Chills
The story of lyrical genius Martin Phillipps and his iconic New Zealand indie rock band The Chills is a cautionary tale, a triumph over tragedy, and a manifestation of music’s importance in our lives, all at once. A documentary directed by Julia Parnell and Rob Curry, written by Nicola Peeperkoorn and produced by Nicola Peeperkoorn, Tim Riley and Julia Parnell.

Untitled David White/James Ashcroft Project
After being acquitted of murdering his family, a young man tries to rebuild his life while an obsessive ex-cop turned llama farmer attempts to prove his guilt. Directed by David White, written by White and Henry Feltham, and produced by White and James Ashcroft.

The complex and layered world of China approached through the motif of colour. A documentary directed by Mike Single, written by Marilyn McFadyen and produced by James Heyward.


Ramai Hayward Scholarship Recipients Announced

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the Ramai Hayward Directors' Scholarship for wahine Māori.

Briar Grace Smith and Rachel House will each receive $50,000 to develop their film scripts and directing skills, with the goal of directing their first feature films.

Four applicants were shortlisted to meet with the panel in Auckland, where final selections were recommended.

This scholarship will help fund a bespoke programme of support for each recipient tailored to suit the individual’s circumstances and career path.

You can read more here.


New Zealand International Film Festival

It is a bumper year for New Zealand fims at this year's New Zealand International Film Festival.

Twenty-one New Zealand titles have been announced, including two world premieres:

Waru, an anthology film made up of eight different stories centred around a tangi, will have its world premiere in Auckland on 2 August.

Following the death of a young child, eight Māori women are confronted by guilt, pride and defeat but will ultimately risk everything for the greater good of their community. Waru is written and directed by Katie Wolfe, Ainsley Gardener, Paula Jones, Briar Grace-Smith, Chelsea Cohen, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi and writer/director team Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu and Awanui Simich-Pene. The film is produced by Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton.

Human Traces will have its world premiere in Christchurch on 4 August before screening in Auckland and Wellington.

Told from three perspectives, Human Traces is an atmospheric psychological thriller set on a Subantarctic Island. When a mysterious young man arrives at a remote research station, secrets threaten the relationship of a married couple trying to return the island’s ecosystem to its natural state. Filmed on location in the Catlins, it is the debut feature from writer/director Nic Gorman and producer Nadia Maxwell.

Festival audiences will also get their first chance to see New Zealand films that have already screened overseas.

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web had its world premiere at SXSW. Directed by Annie Goldson and produced by Alexander Behse, Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web details the battle between Dotcom and the US government and entertainment industry being fought out in New Zealand.

Spookers, an official NZ/Australian co-production had its world premiere at Canada's Hot Docs.  Directed by Florian Habicht, written by Habicht, Peter O’Donoghue and Veronica Gleeson and produced by Nick Batzias, Lani-rain Feltham, Suzanne Walker and Virginia Whitwell, Spookers tells the story of a quirky and close-knit family of New Zealand sheep farmers who run the most successful scare park in the Southern Hemisphere - creating a family of scarers like no other.

The Inland Road had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Written and directed by Jackie van Beek and produced by Aaron Watson, The Inland Road is van Beek’s debut feature. The film explores the unconventional love story between an anti-social teenager, a Scotsman and a five-year-old-girl.

100 Men had its world premiere at San Francisco's Frameline Film Festival.  Written and directed by Paul Oremland and produced by Vincent Burke, 100 Men explores four decades of changing attitudes to gays as director Paul Oremland tracks down and talks to a lifetime of his most memorable shags.

My Year With Helen had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. Directed by Gaylene Preston and produced by Preston and Catherine Madigan, My Year With Helen is a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the United Nations as Helen Clark campaigns for the position of Secretary General. 

6 Days, written by Glenn Standring, directed by Toa Fraser and produced by Matthew Metcalfe will have its New Zealand premiere at the NZIFF. The action thriller is based on the true events of April 1980 when armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in London and took 26 people hostage.

You can find session times and read more about these New Zealand films, and others in the NZIFF programme here.


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Festival News

Gaylene Preston's My Year With Helen had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. A lively Q & A with Preston and the film's subject, Helen Clark, followed the screening.

Florian Habicht's Spookers, Roger Donaldson's McLaren and Tusi Tamasese's One Thousand Ropes also screened at the Sydney Film Festival, as did two New Zealand short films, Roseanne Liang's Do No Harm and Alyx Duncan's Drumming Like Thunder.

One Thousand Ropes also screened in the recent Shangahi International Film Festival as did Hayden Weal's Chronosthesia.

Jackie van Beek’s feature, The Inland Road, screened in the New Directors competition of the the Seattle International Film Festival where lead actress Gloria Popata received a special mention from the jury for her performance. The film has also been selected to screen at the Giffoni International Film Festival held annually in Italy.

Paul Oremland's 100 Men had its world premiere at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival and follows this with screenings at LA’s Outfest where LGBTQ publication, LA Blade named it as one of the festival's 'best bets'.

Two New Zealand films screened in the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Slavko Martinov's flockumentary, Pecking Order, and Geoff Murphy's sci-fi classic The Quiet Earth.

Pecking Order has also been selected to screen in the Melbourne International Film Festival, as has Florian Habicht's Spookers.

Matt Murphy's Pork Pie will have its North American premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal later this month.

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Short Film News

Six New Zealand films screened in the Palm Springs International ShortFest. 338 films were selected to screen from over 4,000 submission.

The films selected were Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali’s Echoes, Jessica Grace Smith's Everybody Else is Taken, Eddie Fifield’s Happy Birthday,  Robyn Grace’s A Woman’s Right to Shoes, Roseanne Liang’s Do No Harm and Zoe McIntosh’s The World in Your Window.

And a reminder that our July Fresh Shorts application round is now open. Submissions close Friday 14 July at 5pm. Apply here.


Congratulations go to...

Ngā Aho Whakaari chair Christina Asher who received the WIFT NZ Mana Wahine Award at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival in early June.

Paula Boock and Donna Malane who won nine awards at the New York Festival's International Television and Film Awards for their Jean Batten bio-pic, Jean.

Adam Luxton and Summer Agnew whose film, On An Unknown Beach won the award for Best New Zealand Cinematography at the Doc Edge Festival in May.

Writer/director Adam Harvey, and producer Chris Hanlon whose short film  Only Humane was awarded both first place and the people’s choice award at Nevada’s High Desert International Film Festival in Pahrump.

Zoe McIntosh whose short film,  The World In Your Window won the Official Competition (International) at Tokyo’s Short Shorts Film Festival.

Jasmin McSweeney, the NZFC's Head of Marketing on being awarded the New Zealand Motion Picture Industry Council's (NZMPIC) Industry Award for Excellence at the recent NZMPIC conference in Auckland.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople on being awarded the inaugural Barrie Everard Award for New Zealand's Highest Grossing Film at the NZMPIC conference. The film was also recognised with a Box Office Achievment Award for grossing $3 million+ and the award for Highest Grossing Film International.

Tickled for winning the Critic's Choice Award for Best New Zealand Film at the NZMPIC conference.

Leanne Pooley and Christine Jeffs on being invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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Opportunities for Female Directors in HP48HOURS Filmmaking Competition

Last year, a record number of women and girls directed films in the HP48HOURS Filmmaking Competition. This year, organisers are looking to attract even more, something the NZFC are wholly behind.

Event organiser Ant Timpson says, "there's been a noticeable shift within the competition, a positive reflection of the recent focus on gender equality in the director's chair. Last year we had 200 women and girls directing films in the competition, which is massive improvement over previous years.” 

As an incentive, The Gaylene Preston/WIFT Award has become a more prominent feature of the event. It is a $1000 cash prize (plus free WIFT membership) for the Best Female Director winner.

You can read more about the award and the HP48HOURS Filmmaking Competition here.


Aliens Touch Down in Milford Sound

Alien: Covenant was released worldwide in May with several scenes shot in Milford Sound in New Zealand’s Southern Lakes region. Production took place at Milford Sound for two weeks in April 2016. Milford Sound plays the exterior of the planet the colony ship Covenant lands on, and was chosen after Cinematographer Dariuz Wolski was taken by Milford Sound’s "cloudy, soft light”.

You will find more about Alien: Covenant filming in New Zealand here.


Asians on Screen: The Final Frontier

Asia Outreach Executive, Raymond Suen worked with Future Dragonz Wellington on a light-hearted panel discussion at Bats Theatre in Wellington on 23 May focusing on Asian representation and opportunities in film, drama and television, which he moderated. 

The session was live-streamed via YouTube and a follow-up satellite discussion session was held in Auckland on 30 May, with a Christchurch session on 4 July.  If you’re an Asian New Zealand creative and you’ve yet to connect with Raymond—or if you’re just keen to hear more about his work or these sessions—he’d love to hear from you via email.


He Ara Plus Recipients

In December 2016 we announced He Ara Plus, a grant to assist existing He Ara teams to move their projects to market-ready status.

Three projects have been selected.

The Educator (FKA 2 Percent), written by John Argall, directed by Kiel McNaughton and produced by Kerry Warkia and Owen Black for Brown Sugar Apple Grunt.

When a savage gang rule over a suburban cul-de-sac, the academic son of a pro-wrestler must reason with his fists in order to repossess his stolen property.

Daylight Robbery, written and directed by Damon Fepulea'i and produced by Rachel Jean for South Pacific Pictures.

When the squabble between a trio of inept brothers leaves their father's prized furniture moving truck at the bottom of the harbour, they must work together to pull off the greatest heist, to save the family business and regain their father's respect.

Mau (FKA King), written by Jamie McCaskill and produced by Brandon Te Moananui and Mina Mathieson for Matapuna Films.

When he is wrongfully imprisoned for a ridiculous crime, a new Samoan immigrant must befriend his narcissistic cell mate to prove his innocence.


Interactive Development Fund

Twelve companies have been announced as receiving funding from the piloted Interactive Development Fund 

The fund supports concept development of original narrative-focused interactive and games content delivered on any platform (including mobile, online, console as well as virtual reality [including 360] and augmented reality).

60 applications were received.

With this funding, the funded teams can develop an interactive concept, including creative material such as story and design, which could create a playable prototype suitable to take into the marketplace to seek project financing.

You can read about the recipients and their projects here.


Women’s Horror Short Film Fund

We are pleased to announce the successful applicants for the Women’s Horror Short Film Fund who will each receive a grant of $60,000 to make their films. This was a one-off initiative aimed at giving women filmmakers the opportunity to make a genre short film.

Thirty-one applications were received, with six making a shortlist from which the final two films, Vaspy and The Rat King, were selected.

Vaspy, written and directed by Hweiling Ow and produced by Rachel Jean and Andrew Beattie is about an expectant mother who suddenly develops strange food cravings after being 'stung' by her child's clickety clack wooden toy, Vaspy.

In The Rat King, written and directed by Hash Perambalam and produced by Leela Meenon, a young musician is dealt an unearthly punishment after taking advantage of a young woman.

The two filmmakers will be mentored through the development process with the goal of having their films in production in 2018.

You can read more about the applicants and their films here.


Five Film Businesses Receive Boost Funding

Five film businesses received Boost funding in the 2016/17 round.

Boost funding is a mixture of grant and equity investment and aims to accelerate the slates of active producers and enable successful screen businesses to build a feature film slate and move quickly into production.

It is expected that at least 50% of the funding amount is spent on third party development costs and the entire amount is spent over a 12-18 month period.

The five Boost recipients for this round are:

  • Firefly Films Ltd. (Emma Slade)
  • Miss Conception Films (Georgina Conder and Ainsley Gardiner)
  • Semi-Professional Pictures (Luke Sharpe)
  • McKegg Entertainment Ltd. (William McKegg)
  • Four Knights Film (Tom Hern)

New information for Production Funding Applicants

We have recently updated the Feature Production Financing Guidelines to clarify the formats we generally consider to fall outside of our core funding objectives.

These are: 

  • advertising programmes or commercials;
  • news or current affairs programmes;
  • productions of a public event or live event, including sports events, stage-plays, music concerts, dance performances or comedy shows; or
  • programmes primarily intended for television broadcast.

The NZFC primarily funds narrative or documentary feature films which are intended to be screened theatrically and are not less than 80 minutes in length.

We would like to remind applicants to please get in touch well before making a formal application for financing, as we can offer helpful advice and guidance.

The Guidelines can be found here.


Proposal to Charge Fees for NZSPG Applications

The NZFC administers the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).

The introduction of the NZSPG in 2014 has significantly increased the number of applications, resulting in increased administration costs, prompting the NZFC to consider who should pay. 

The NZFC is seeking written submissions on the proposals outlined in this discussion document which outlines the costs involved to enable stakholders to understand the reasons behind the proposed administration charges.

The closing date for submissions is 11 August 2017


Online Applications

The NZFC is in the process of moving its funding application processes online. We are piloting the process with the current round of Fresh Shorts which opened on 26 June and closes on 14 July.

A first step of the new application process is filmmakers creating user accounts. You can create a user account here. You only need to do this once, and once your user account has been set up, you will be able to apply.

Please note that at this stage online applications are only available for Fresh Shorts funding.


Feature Film Festival and Market Travel Funding

A reminder to let our International team know if you’ll be attending any upcoming international film festivals or markets during the remainder of 2017.  The process for applying for contributory travel funding assistance is outlined on our Producer International Travel Assistance page. Early applications for travel funding are encouraged. Please email us with any queries.


Changes to NZFC Board

Chris Hampson and Ross McRobie were farewelled at the June Board meeting.

Chris has been on the Board for seven years, and Ross for two.

We would like to thank both of them for their energy, passion and contributions to the NZFC.

Paula Jalfon and Brett O'Riley will replace them on the Board.

You can read more about the new appointees and current Board members here


New to NZ Film On Demand

Mike Walker's Kingpin and Robert Sarkies' Out of the Blue have been added to NZ Film On Demand, the NZFC's video-on-demand platform, and are now available to stream or download-to-own.

A new section of independent films (films made without NZFC investment) has also been added to the site.

There are now over 100 films available at NZ Film On Demand.


Staff News

We farewelled Incentives Assistant Kristen Rowe last month, and wished her well in her new role at Capital E.



Feel free to send any questions, feedback or comments regarding this newsletter info@nzfilm.co.nz.

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