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March 2013

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2013

Beyond the Edge rehearsal picture

From our CEO

Hello to you all,

I want to take this opportunity to celebrate the great start that our industry has had in 2013.

We can all applaud the successes here at home and abroad. We also need to recognise and celebrate the efforts of all those involved in the 20+ feature films currently in various stages of production and theatrical distribution.

Adding to this there are numerous exciting projects coming through Fresh and Premiere Shorts and there are many people engaged in development activity – both professional and creative.  

Mt. Zion has, in a great way, led out the year’s releases at the New Zealand Box Office - topping the charts. It's also been making its mark in Australia since its release on Thursday. Following it to the cinemas over the next couple of months is: Shopping; White Lies; The Weight of Elephants; R&J A Love Story; and Mr Pip. In post there are: Zombies; Everything We Loved; Housebound; Fantail; Time Slow; and Antarctica A Year On Ice. In production are: Giselle; and Beyond the Edge, with The Ground We Won and The Dark Horse both in pre-production. There are an additional four films with conditional funding that are also approaching pre, adding to an extraordinary level of activity.

We should all be delighted with the presence and attention our films and filmmakers have had at the major festivals in the first months of the year. In Sundance, New Zealand was represented with the feature, Shopping, the narrative short Night Shift, Jane Campion’s TV series Top of the Lake and the documentary short The Cleanest Pig. In Berlin we had more than 40 industry people attending across various parts of the Festival and Market. Shopping won the Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Section for the best Feature Film, The Weight of Elephants screened in two competition sections, a $10,000 Fresh Short, I’m Going to Mum’s, competed in the Short Films Generation Kplus section, there were eight films in the much heralded NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema section, five filmmakers selected to participate in the talent campus and Taika Waititi serving on a jury. Then in the last few days the short Ellen is Leaving won best narrative short at SXSW.

Looking ahead we all need to work to capitalize on this success, attention on New Zealand and the high current levels of activity to work towards creating the best individual and company opportunities. To this end we are focusing on Cannes, where New Zealand’s presence will be led by Jane Campion as head of the Short Film Jury.  We'll be showcasing the current work and personnel involved whilst creating networking opportunities for future work.

Finally many of you are aware that James Thompson our Head of Sales and Marketing has left to return to working in private Legal Practise. We wish him all the best in his new venture. We will be advertising here and abroad for a replacement in the very near future.


In this Issue

Mt. Zion's box office success New $2.5m documentary fund with NZ On Air Te Whai Ao - a new fund for emerging and experimental documentary makers Hillary's feature film ascent begins Fresh Shorts 2013 New Year's Honours Cannes Ellen is Leaving wins at SXSW Toronto International Film Festival New Zealand in Berlin New Zealand at Sundance Filmmakers report back from entrepreneurial course January and February 2013


Mt. Zion

Mt. Zion's box office success

Once again we'd like to congratulate everyone who worked on, or is still working on, Mt. Zion.  The film has had a great run so far at the box office earning more than a million dollars - you can read more about that here.  Mt. Zion is also already making its mark in Australia, where it released on Thursday earning the No 2 spot on the screen average charts.  Read more about Mt. Zion in Australia here.

Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls

New $2.5m documentary fund with NZ On Air

The New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air have announced a new $2.5m documentary fund for feature-length documentaries.

It is expected that this new collaboration between the two organisations will invest in around five quality documentary projects to screen in cinemas, on television and online.

It will focus on funding one-off documentaries from experienced New Zealand documentary filmmakers.  There are no restrictions on treatment or style. Read more here.

Pictured: Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls


Te Whai Ao - a new fund for emerging and experimental documentary makers

Announcing Te Whai Ao – an exciting new fund for emerging and experimental documentary makers

The NZFC is also pleased to have announced a new $250,000 fund to support documentary makers to explore one-off documentary ideas.  Read more here.

The fund complements the newly announced Documentary Fund with NZ On Air. 

Chad Moffitt as Sir Edmond Hillary

Hillary's feature film ascent begins

The Beyond the Edge team is shooting at Aoraki, Mt. Cook.

Interest is already building in the film following the announcement that actors Chad Moffitt (pictured) and Sonam Sherpa have been cast as Sir Edmond Hillary and Tensing Norgay.

The 3D feature film tells the story of the monumental 1953 ascent of Mt. Everest.  It has been written and is being directed by Leanne Pooley (The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, Shackleton's Captain) and is being produced by Matthew Metcalfe (Dean Spanley, Love Birds).  Read more here.

Fresh Shorts Logo

Fresh Shorts 2013

Our Fresh Shorts scheme aims to identify the next generation of New Zealand feature filmmakers by nurturing and inspiring up-and-coming talent.

Fresh Shorts is an avenue for new directorial voices with distinct, original styles to reach audiences and move, challenge or provoke them. Fresh Shorts are films that take risks and have something new to say. They could be emotional, humorous, political, or designed to scare an audience. Above all they are cinematic – ideas that deserve to be on the big screen.

We are gearing up for Fresh Shorts 2013 and here are the dates you'll need if you want to apply.

Applications open - May 6th 2013
Applications close - June 21st 2013
Funding Decisions announced – 30th August 2013
Funded Films to be delivered - October 2014

We are also looking for a Fresh Shorts Assistant for 2013 and you can read more about that here.  Or if you'd like more information about our Fresh Shorts Scheme, please find it here.

New Year's Honours

We'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sir Robert Harvey, Rāwiri Paratene, and Keri Kaa whose contributions were fittingly recognised in the New Year's Honours.

Keri Kaa became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of her services to Māori and the arts.  Keri has made a valuable contribution to our industry, including working as a consultant to the New Zealand Film Commission and serving on the first board of the Short Film Fund.

Rāwiri Paratene become an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his services to film, television and theatre.  Rāwiri has also made a vast contribution to our sector as an actor, writer and dedicated NZFC board member.

Sir Robert received a knighthood in recognition of his services to local body affairs and the community. While he is perhaps best known as the Mayor of Waitakere City, likewise we are privileged to have had Sir Bob serve on our board.

Thank you all for your time and commitment.


Festival de Cannes


Are you attending CANNES 2013?

The NZFC is currently confirming details of a series of initiatives aimed at New Zealand producers during Cannes 2013, focusing on building person-to-person and industry-to-industry connections and market knowledge.  These sessions build on the popular producer roundtables convened by the NZFC at Cannes in 2012.  The 2013 initiatives will focus on strengthening creative, commercial and talent-based relationships between New Zealand filmmakers and potential international partners, with the goal of stimulating production opportunities, investment and market exposure for the New Zealand screen industry.

We are compiling a directory of New Zealand producers attending Cannes this year. If you're planning to be there, please email marketing@nzfilm.co.nz.

And just a reminder that online registration for the 2013 Marché du Film held in Cannes from 16 - 26 May 2013 is open until 27 April.   Once again, the Marche du Film will extend the Early Bird rate for the entire online registration period to New Zealand producers who register under the New Zealand Film Commission umbrella - so email marketing@nzfilm.co.nz for the special registration code.

In special cases we will support New Zealand producers to travel to Cannes.  The deadline for applications is 5pm Friday 29 March. More information is available here or by contacting profdev@nzfilm.co.nz.

Ellen is Leaving Director Michelle Savill

Ellen is Leaving wins at SXSW

Short film Ellen is Leaving has won the Narrative Shorts section at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.  

The win makes the film eligible for Academy Award® consideration and is yet another great achievement by the team led by Director Michelle Savill (pictured), Producer Desray Armstrong, Writer Martha Hardy-Ward and EP Gaylene Preston. Read more here.

Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival

Jane Schoettle, Toronto’s programmer responsible for New Zealand, will be here in April to preview feature films and documentaries eligible for screening in the festival later this year.  The festival runs from 5 – 15 September.

See more information here.


New Zealand in Berlin

New Zealand had one of its largest contingencies ever in Berlin with feature films, a short, the significant television production Top of the Lake,Taika Waititi on a jury, five filmmakers in the talent campus and eight (of a total of 24) films in the NATIVe section.  

The New Zealand presence really put our film industry front and centre on the international stage and we were thrilled to see Shopping (pictured) win the Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International section for best feature film.  You can read more about that here.

Top of the Lake

New Zealand at Sundance

It's not every year that New Zealand has a substantive presence at Sundance.  With more than 12,000 film submissions and a World Dramatic section featuring only a dozen titles outside the US, it’s a tough road to hoe.  However for a small country we take pride in beating the odds and this year we certainly did that, with feature-premiere Shopping, short film Night Shift, Jane Campion's New Zealand-set television series Top of the Lake (pictured) and Focus Forward documentary short The Cleanest Pig all flying the flag for New Zealand.

Read more about New Zealand at Sundance here.

National Film and Television School, London.

Filmmakers report back from entrepreneurial course

We are proud to be supporting Carthew Neal and David White in partnership with SPADA to attend the year long Entrepreneurial Producing for the Creative Industries course, which is run by the National Film and Television School, in London.

David and Carthew are now several weeks into the course, and you can read some of David's thoughts here.

Funding Decisions


January and February 2013

You can read the full list of funding decisions from January and February here.


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

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New Zealand Film Commission