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Monday, 9 July 2018


Production Funding Decisions

The Board approved six applications for production financing at the May Board meeting.

Baby, Done

Faced with impending parenthood and a looming loss of freedom, Zoe wants her and Tim to live nine months like it's their last, but their opposite reactions to having a baby quickly threaten to tear them apart. Written by Sophie Vowell, Baby, Done will be directed by Curtis Vowell and produced by Polly Fryer and Morgan Waru.

Coming Home in the Dark

A teacher is forced to confront a secret from his past when a pair of ruthless drifters take him and his family on a nightmare road-trip.  Written by Eli Kent and James Ashcroft, Coming Home in the Dark will be directed by James Ashcroft, produced by Mike Minogue and Desray Armstrong and executive produced by Catherine Fitzgerald.

There's No I in Threesome

A documentary about Ollie and his fiancée Zoe exploring non-monogamy turns into a drama when he has to re-cast her in order to complete the film. Written by Natalie Medlock, There's No I in Threesome will be directed by Jan Oliver Lucks, written by Jan Ollie Lucks and Natalie Medlock and produced by Alexander Behse and Alex Reed.

Taki Rua: Breaking Barriers 

Our unofficial Māori national theatre. A humble theatre company that fought race barriers and cultural cringe 30 years ago, to become a truly bicultural creative force taking an authentic voice of Māori to Aotearoa and the world. This documentary is written and directed by Whetu Fala with Selina Joe as producer.

The Silence Film

Before 17-year-old Jess took her own life, she asked her friend Jazz to tell her story. This request takes Jazz on a journey to confront society's silence on the subject of suicide. A documentary directed by Leanne Pooley and produced by Cass Avery and Alex Reed.

Come to Daddy

After being summoned to a remote coastal cabin by his estranged father, Norval, a wannabe music impresario and full-time fashion snob, suddenly finds himself out of his comfort zone when his father's criminal past comes knocking. Written by Toby Barnes (AKA Toby Harvard), Come to Daddy will be directed by Ant Timpson and produced by Emma Slade.


Te Rautaki Māori Launched

On 30 April NZFC Board Chair, Kerry Prendergast, hosted guests at the National Library of New Zealand where Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, launched the NZFC's Te Rautaki Māori.

As well as the Minister launching the strategy, NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan announced Te Rautaki Māori Feature Film Initiative, a one-off $2 million investment for dramatic features in any genre where the director and at least one other key creative is Māori; and He Pounamu, an ongoing fund of up to $2.5 million investment for dramatic feature films made in Te Reo Māori, by Māori filmmakers. Other initiatives introduced specifically for Māori include a Te Reo development fund which will adopt bespoke support for the development of Te Reo projects; devolved funding supporting internships, mentoring and professional placements for Māori filmmakers, and rangatahi (youth) development in the form of wānanga, workshops and programmes for young Māori creatives.

You can read more about Te Rautaki Māori and the supporting funding initiatives here.

You can read Te Rautaki Māori here.

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Karen Waaka-Tibble Announced as Pou Whakahaere

Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble has been appointed to the NZFC's newly-created senior executive position of Pou Whakahaere and started in the role on 28 June. Waaka-Tibble is a producer with extensive experience in governance, culture, intellectual property rights, iwi and community organisations as well as active involvement in Māori screen issues.

As Pou Whakahaere, Waaka-Tibble will be responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of the NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori strategy announced in April. Te Rautaki brings with it a commitment to three new funding initiatives for the production and development of Māori films. The strategy was created over the past two and a half years in collaboration with Māori screen organisation Ngā Aho Whakaari and the wider Māori film sector.

You can read more about Karen Waaka-Tibble and the Pou Whakahaere role here and listen to an interview she gave on Radio New Zealand here.


125 Fund Opens

The 125 Fund, announced at the same April event as Te Rautaki Māori, is now open for applicants.

The fund, which will make an investment of up to $1.25 million into up to two dramatic feature films, led by women, is open to dramatic features in any genre (not documentaries).

The deadline for applications is Monday 13 August at 9am.

A shortlist of up to five projects will be created after applications have been assessed by NZFC staff and external assessors.  The successful projects will be announced on or before 16 November 2018.

Further information is available in the 125 Fund Guidelines, and in information sheets, which you will find here.


Festival News and Release News

The Breaker Upperers opened the Sydney Film Festival on 6 June. The film screened to a full theatre and the audience included the film’s writer-director-stars Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, with Celia Pacquola and Ana Scotney, who all feature in the film.

The Festival ran until 17 June and other New Zealand films included in the programme were The Changeover and Yellow is Forbidden.

The Breaker Upperers will also screen at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival in July, ahead of its wider release on 200+ Australian screens on 29 July.

Yellow is Forbidden had its world premiere In Competition in the Opening Weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, and followed this with screenings at Canada's Hot Docs.

The full programme for the 2018 Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) has been announced with a retrospective of 20 New Zealand films. The 'What We Do In New Zealand' programme celebrates 40 years of New Zealand Film.

NIFFF is a festival dedicated to fantasy and related genres held annually in Switzerland since 2000. You can see the full programme of New Zealand films screening in the festival here.

Waru has continued its festival run with a UK premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and screenings at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Native Cinema Showcase in Santa Fe and the Seattle International Film festival where it was so popular, it was included in the Best of SIFF programme of additional screenings.

My Year With Helen has also continued to be a popular choice for festival programmers with screenings at the Flying Broom Film Festival in Turkey and at the One World Film Festival in Canada.  The film has also enjoyed a number of public screenings organised by New Zealand's diplomatic posts in Lithuania, Turkey, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi.

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New Zealand International Film Festival

Plenty of New Zealand films have been announced to screen at the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) in 2018.

The filmsn announced ahead of the official programme releases in Auckland on 26 June and Wellington on 29 June are Yellow is Forbidden (dir: Pietra Brettkelly) Angie (dir: Costa Botes), Bludgeon (dir: Ryan Heron and  Andy Deere), Celia (dir: Amanda Millar), Dog's Best Friend (dir: Eryn Wilson),The Heart Dances – The Journey of The Piano: The Ballet (dir: Rebecca Tansley), She Shears (dir: Jack Nicol) Maui's Hook (dir: Paora Joseph), Mega Time Squad (dir: Tim van Dammen), Paul Callaghan: Dancing with Atoms (dir: Shirley Horrocks) and Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen (dir: Heperi Mita).

Leave No Trace, acclaimed US independent director Debra Granik's new film which stars New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, will have its New Zealand premiere in the festival.

Six short films have been selected by Leon Narbey as finalists for the NZIFF's annual New Zealand’s Best Short Film Competition.

The finalists will compete for a total of three prizes, with winners to be announced at the closing night event of the Auckland leg of NZIFF.

The six finalists are Charmer (dir: Judah Finnigan), Falling Up (dir: Chelsie Preston Crayford), My Friend Michael Jones (dir: Ian Leaupepe and Samson Rambo), No Shame (dir: Brendan Donovan), Run Rabbit (dir: Robyn Paterson), and Sail Away (dir: Ella Becroft and Tama Jarman).

The NZIFF opens in Auckland on 19 July, with other centres and regional areas to follow.

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Mortal Engines Trailer Reveals Another World Created in New Zealand

The latest trailer for Mortal Engines has revealed another world created in New Zealand.

For the filmmakers and studios, New Zealand was the ideal place to make the entire film due to New Zealand’s world class crew, talent, technicians, facilities and the depth of experience that the Kiwi crews have with world building.

The NZFC and Education New Zealand have partnered with Universal Pictures, MRC and Hungry City Limited on Mortal Engines as a part of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant 5% Uplift.

Mortal Engines opens worldwide in December 2018 and you can view the world created here and read more about the film and the trailer here.


China and Taiwan Activity

The NZFC led a delegation of leading New Zealand producers, post-production companies and specialist service providers from throughout New Zealand to Shanghai, Qingdao and Taipei from 15-25 June.

On the first day NZFC and industry representatives attended the launch of NZ Inc's stunning new facility in the heart of Shanghai,Te Kawenga New Zealand Central, an event attended by over 300 key players in the Shanghai-New Zealand relationship.

In partnership with the New Zealand Consulate-General in Shanghai and NZTE, the team were delighted to host over 100 leading Chinese, international and New Zealand filmmakers and executives at our New Zealand Film Reception at this wonderful new venue.

As part ofthe Shanghai International Film Festival's Belt and Road Film Week, NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan presented on The New Zealand Advantage and participated in a number of panels aimed at strengthening opportunities for collaboration and co-production both with China and the wider region.

Twenty-nine countries including New Zealand celebrated the formation of a new initiative—The Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance—which represents a broad platform for joint projects and cultural exchanges.

The NZFC also participated in The Meg press conference and were delighted by the strong profile afforded this Auckland-shot major feature film production. Filmed on the Hauraki Gulf and at the purpose-built Kumeu Film Studios, The Meg was celebrated as an excellent example of China-NZ-USA collaboration featuring world-leading cast, crew and facilities.

The NZFC delegation also stopped off in Qingdao on their way to taipei.

Wanda Studios Qingdao CEO, Mr Sun hosted the delegation for a lunch meeting, followed by a visit to Wanda Studios Qingdao, where the epic Chinese feature film trilogy, Fengshen aka Investiture of the Gods is in preproduction ahead of its 18-month shoot due to kick off in August.

The group was extremely fortunate to receive a personal tour of the facilities by the film’s director and producers, where they viewed some of the sets and beautiful artwork being created for this epic trilogy project, along with the facility’s water tanks and post-production facilities.

This was followed by a dinner meeting with senior officials from the Qingdao Municipal Foreign Affairs Office and Qingdao Culture, Radio, Television, Press and Publication Bureau. The discussion—led by Annabelle Sheehan and Screen Auckland Manager, Michael Brook—focused on utilising the strong sister city relationship between Auckland and Qingdao as a valuable way to stimulate creative collaboration and business opportunities for both cities, and indeed wider New Zealand.

The team rounded out its time in Qingdao with a highly memorable networking reception hosted by the Fengshen team in the canteen of their production office on the Wanda Studios Qingdao lot. 

Next stop was Taipei for the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Officein Taipei's inaugural Matariki Festival, where the NZFC team was joined by Briar Grace-Smith, Tammy Davis, Roseanne Liang, Michael Bennett and Tui Ruwhiu for a celebration of New Zealand cinema, along with a suite of activities aimed at stimulating co-production with Taiwan, including a strong focus on Māori-Indigenous Taiwanese collaboration. This included a Taiwan-New Zealand networking reception with leading Taiwanese directors, producers and distributors.

While in Taiwan, the NZFC and Taipei Film Commission (TFC) launched a Professional Screenwriters Exchange.

Under the exchange one professional screenwriter from Taiwan will travel to New Zealand and one professional screenwriter from New Zealand will travel to Taiwan, for at least a month, in order to strengthen cultural ties and promote greater cooperation between the two industries, leading to official co-productions under New Zealand's world-first film and television co-production agreement.

You can read more about the exchange here.

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Fresh Shorts Announcement

Six films have been offered funding in the January Fresh Shorts round, two at the $10,000 level, three at the $30,000 level and one at $15,000.

At the $10,000 level:

The Sauna - writer/director Lucy Knox, producer Evie Mackay

Kōkako - writer/director Doug Brooks, producers Patsy Burke and Timothy Hawthorne

At the $15,000 level:

Pain - writer/director Anna Duckworth, producer Ilai Amar

At the $30,000 level:

The Calf - writer/directors Simon London and Matthew Sunderland, producer Emma Mortimer

Rustling - writer/director Tom Furniss, producer: Morgan Waru

Daddy's Girl (Kotiro) - writer/director Cian Elyse White, producer: Rob Kipa-Williams

You can read more about the funded Fresh Shorts here.


Interactive Development Fund Announcement

Thirteen interactive projects were funded through the Interactive Development Fund in the 2018 round.  The projects funded are a mixture of virtual and/or augmented reality experiences, games and an interactive novel.

The funded projects are:

Returning to Birdland - Nadia Maxwell
Minimum Mass - Like Amber
Dolly - Little Lost Fox
Project Tapestry - Joshua Boggs
Native - Wrestler
Future Back - Mixt
Guardian - Maru Nihoniho
Green Fairy and the Goblin Kingdom - Conical
Wake - Wrestler
Golden Threads - Allan (Haoyu) Xia
Shelf Life - Thomas Barrer
Urupa - Mohsin Ali
House of Wonders - Robert L Appierdo

You can read more about the funded projects here.


Funding Announced for Vai

Following the box office and festival success of Waru, the NZFC confirmed production funding for Vai, from Waru producers Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton of Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions on 24 May.

Similar in style to Waru, Vai will connect eight stories about the journey of empowerment through culture, over the lifetime of one woman, Vai.

The film will be written and directed by ‘Ofa-ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Amberley Jo Aumua, Becs Arahanga, Dianna Fuemana, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Mīria George, Matasila Freshwater and Sharon Whippy with Nicole Whippy. Each has an indigenous ancestral connection to one of seven countries in the South Pacific: Aotearoa, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, and Niue. Filming will take place on each island.

You can read more about Vai here.


Congratulations go to....

Ainsley Gardiner, Briar Grace-Smith, Larry Parr, Rhonda Hyde and Roger Donaldson on receiving honours in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.  Briar, Roger, Rhonda and Larry received ONZMs and Ainsley received an MNZM.

Sima Urale on being the recipient of the 2018 PIFT Mana Pasifika Award. The PIFT Mana Pasifika Award is an award given to distinguished members of the Pasifika filmmaking community who have contributed lengthy and admirable service to Pacific Screen Arts.

Writer/directors Samson "Rambo" Vaotu'ua and Ian Leaupepe, writer/producer Eldon Booth and producer Alex Lovell on their film, My Friend Michael Jones, winning Best Pasifika Short Film at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival.

Ainsley Gardiner on being named WIFT Mana Wāhine at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival. This award recognises and supports the achievements of Māori women in film and television who work tirelessly, diligently and with vision to support and promote Māori culture, Te Reo Māori, Tikanga Māori and the welfare and stories of wāhine. The award was initiated in 2011 by Wairoa Māori Film Festival director Leo Koziol and his mother Huia Koziol.

Renae Maihi on being the inaugural recipient of the Whakapapa Film Festival of Italy Prize at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival. This new prize includes return airfare from New Zealand to Italy, accommodation and food for the period 1 to 8 July in Irsina - a medieval hilltop town in Southern Italy - and the opportunity to participate and network at this new film festival.

The team behind Waru, writers and directors, Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene and Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu, and producers Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, who were awarded the Mana Wairoa Grand Prize for Advancement of Indigenous Rights at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival. 

Waru also recently took home the Grand Jury Prize for Outstanding International Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and its nine writers and directors were awarded the inaugural Māori Screen Excellence Awards by the NZFC.

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie for joining the cast of Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit which also includes Scarlet Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Waititi himself.

Curious Films on celebrating its 10th anniversary as a carbon neutral business.

Cliff Curtis on receiving a KEA World Class New Zealand Award for his commitment to indigenous storytelling.

Doc Edge for successfully completing its 13th documentary film festival in Auckland and Wellington.

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Celebrating 40 Years of New Zealand Film

The NZFC is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018 with a year-long focus on 40 years of New Zealand Film.

In June we partnered with Flicks, the New Zealand Herald and NZ OnScreen to share some fascinating films, people and moments from the last 40 years.

There will be more events, including free screenings of classic New Zealand films, in some regional areas.  If you don't already follow us on social media, you may want to get on that so we can let you know when your favourite film is screening at a nearby cinema.


New to NZ Film On Demand

A number of films have been added to NZ Film On Demand since our last newsletter.  These include In My Father's Den, Desperate Remedies, Ngati, Te Rua, The HeART of the Matter, Stars in Her Eyes, Scarfies, and I'll Make You Happy.

There are over 130 feature and short films available to stream at NZ Film On Demand.


iGeneration research

A research paper released by the NZFC in May outlines the way in which young people engage with film and cinemas and offers suggestions for ways exhibitors could better meet the needs of this young audience. Born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, this is the first generation to have grown up entirely digitally connected – the iGeneration.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • iGens like watching films and films have a major impact on their opinions and beliefs and act as a catalyst for discussion about social issues.
  • iGens recognise the social, cultural and economic value of NZ film industry.

You can read more about the iGeneration research, including the full report here.


WIFT Workshops

Screen Women's Action Group (SWAG) has released the results of its survey and its first round of recommendations, it is time for WIFT to deliver a practical workshop with advice and information that can have an immediate effect on you and the safety of others around you.

Presented by Debbi Tohill, Executive Director of RPE (Rape Prevention Education) which delivers education and health promotion / prevention programmes nationally, this will be a two-hour intensive covering the basics:

• Exactly what is sexual harassment?
• The continuum to sexual violence
• Keeping yourself safe
• Creating a safe environment
• Knowing your rights
• Reporting
• Making your own decisions

If you are an employer, employee or a contractor you need to come to this workshop.  The SWAG survey results have two out of three respondents either experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment.  We can’t ignore it.

Everyone is welcome at this workshop (yes, that includes men). Please spread the word.

WHERE: The Studio, Bats Theatre
WHEN:  Thursday 5 July
Time:  5.30pm for a 6pm sharp start

WIFT members free; other Guild members $10; non-members $15
Cash bar. Nibbles provided.

RSVP to office@wiftnz.org.nz


Work For Us

We're looking for some people to join us at the NZFC.

We are currently advertising for three roles: Investment Executive, Development Executive and PA to the Heads of Marketing  and Business Affairs.


Biennial Stakeholders' Research

In the next few weeks Colmar Brunton Research is undertaking confidential stakeholder research on our behalf. The research will help NZFC understand stakeholders’ perceptions, experience, and satisfaction with the NZFC.

If you have engaged with the NZFC over the last 12 months, you may receive an invitation to take part in this research. Your feedback is valuable to us, and we would appreciate your taking the time to complete the questionnaire.


Staff News

Bonnie Mahon has joined the Business Affairs team as our new Business Affairs Executive.

Bonnie works across all areas in the Business Affairs team, providing legal advice within the NZFC on a broad range of contractual and other legal matters. Bonnie has legal experience in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and is excited to put this to use in the film industry. She has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Otago University.

While we are welcoming Bonnie, we are bidding farewell to two other staff members.

Marketing and Film Festival Co-ordinator Lesa MacLeod-Whiting and Investment Executive Chris Moll will be leaving the NZFC on 6 July.

We wish them both the very best with their future endeavours.


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