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Kia Ora & Bonjour

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


New Zealand at Cannes 2015


The New Zealand Film Commission will be in Cannes from 13 - 20 May, and located on the 1st floor of Residence l'Imperatrice, 44 la Croisette.

Attending from the NZFC are CEO Dave Gibson, Head of International Relations Chris Payne, Head of Marketing Jasmin McSweeney and Film Festival Co-ordinator Tim Hope and a delegation of over thirty New Zealand filmmakers.

Two NZ films are screening in the market this year:

  • Deathgasm - May 15  16:00  Arcades 2
  • Hip Hop-eration - May 19  11:30  Gray 2

This year the NZFC is particularly focussed on exploring and identifying new ways we can work with our co-production partners. If you are interested in co-producing with NZ or working with a NZ producer, please call 00 33 (0) 4 93 33 84 599 or email tim@nzfilm.co.nz to make an appointment.


International Releases

Toa Fraser's The Dead Lands opened last month in the US on screens in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Ahead of the release, NZ based Hollywood director James Cameron introduced the film at a screening in Los Angeles, describing it as  “a powerful and primal coming-of-age story that’s an absolute adrenaline rush. The Dead Lands is far more than just a great action movie  —  it’s great cinema.” The film is being released in the US by Magnet Releasing. 

Icon Film Distribution will release the film in the UK later this month. Watch the trailer here.

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's What We Do In The Shadows has taken over US$3 million at the US box office. The film is currently the No. #1 comedy on iTunes in the US.  Watch the trailer here.

UK/NZ co-production Slow West, written and directed by John Maclean and starring Michael Fassbender and Ben Mendelsohn will release in the US on May 15 with A24 distributing. The film will then release in the UK through Lionsgate on June 26. Watch the trailer here.

James Napier Robertson's The Dark Horse was released last month in the UK by Koch Media. US rights have been acquired by Broad Green with release dates to be announced.


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Festival News

Following its world premiere at SXSW, heavy metal splatter-flick Deathgasm will next screen in the Seattle International Film Festival, Neuchâtel International Film Festival, Fantastic Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival and Brazil's Fantaspoa Film Festival.

Written and directed by Jason Lei Howden, Deathgasm is about two teenage heavy metal fans who unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity, known as the Blind One, when they delve into black magic as a way to escape their mundane lives. The film was produced by Andrew Beattie, Sarah Howden and Morgan Leigh Stewart, and executive produced by Ant Timpson.

SXSW Midnighters Audience Award Winner, Turbo Kid, will also screen at the Fantaspoa Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival and at the Sydney Film Festival and in the US at Little Rock Film Festival in Arkansas.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Turbo Kid is a BMX-powered, blood-splattered love story that follows the epic journey of an orphaned outcast reluctant to be a hero in the wasteland of an alternate future.

James Napier Robertson's The Dark Horse won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the San Fransisco Film Festival.

Next month, the film will screen in the Buzz section of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Buzz features LA premieres of celebrated titles from festivals around the world. 

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Feature Film Production Investment

The NZFC has confirmed investment in The 10pm Question, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and The Rehearsal.

The 10pm Question
A NZ/German official co-production, The 10pm Question is based on Kate de Goldi's award-winning novel of the same name. Adapted for the screen by NZ writer/producer team Paula Boock and Donna Malane, the film will be directed by Turkish-German director Yasemin Samderelli (Almanya - Willkommen in Deutschland).  Eyeworks' Tim Rostock will produce for Germany.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Written and directed by Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is based on best-selling NZ author Barry Crump’s iconic novel Wild Pork and Watercress.  The film is being produced by Carthew Neal, Leanne Saunders and Taika Waititi for Piki Pictures.

The warmly comic adventure movie starts shooting on Monday May 18 in NZ. Protagonist Pictures has taken on international sales rights.

The Rehearsal
Based on Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton’s first novel, The Rehearsal marks director Alison MacLean’s return to NZ after 20 years in New York.

Adapted for the screen by Alison MacLean and Emily Perkins, the film will be produced by Bridget Ikin and Trevor Haysom. Mongrel Media are representing the film internationally. Shooting begins in early September.


Cast announced for 6 Days

Principal cast for Toa Fraser’s siege thriller 6 Days, has been announced with Jamie Bell, Mark Strong and Abbie Cornish to star.

6 Days re-teams Fraser with The Dead Lands writer Glenn Standring, producer Matthew Metcalfe, and XYZ Films executive producing. UK rights have been picked up by Icon Films Distribution. WME Global will co-rep North America with XYZ.

Set in 1980, 6 Days is based on the true story of the storming of the Iranian Embassy in London by six gunmen, who took over two dozen hostages.

Production will commence in NZ in June, with a short shoot to take place in the UK in August.

The NZ/UK official co-production is financed by the NZFC, Lipsync, Ingenious and General Film Corporation.

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Filming in NZ

Filming on the 10-episode series Ash vs. Evil Dead commenced in Auckland in April. NZ's Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) co-stars with Bruce Campbell, reprising his role as Ash from the original Evil Dead films.

A Starz production, Sam Raimi is directing the pilot which he co-wrote with his brother Ivan Raimi (Darkman, Army of Darkness, Drag Me to Hell) and Tom Spezialy (Chuck, Reaper, Desperate Housewives). Craig DiGregorio (Chuck) is executive producer and writing showrunner along with Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell.

Filming on Legendary Pictures' Christmas-themed horror flick, Krampus is almost completed.  Shot in Wellington, the film was written by Todd Casey, Zach Shields and director Michael Dougherty. The film stars Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, United States of Tara) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, Hot Tub Time Machine 2) as parents in a family that comes under attack by an evil Santa-like entity.  Creature effects are being created by Weta Workshop. Krampus is scheduled for a December 2015 release.

Production continues at Auckland's Studio West on popular American television series, Power Rangers: Dino Charge. The series premiered in the US in February this year, and introduced NZ actor James Davies as Chase, the Black Power Ranger.

Filming wrapped last month on Disney's Pete’s Dragon. Based out of Wellington's Stone Street Studios, filming also took place in the Rotorua area and the South Island communities of Tapanui and Invercargill. Directed by David Lowery (Aint Them Bodies Saints, Pioneer, St Nick), the film stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford and NZ's Karl Urban and is set for an August 2016 release in the US and Germany, and September 2016 for Australia and NZ.

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China News

The NZFC and a delegation of NZ film producers and industry representatives attended last month's Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) and Beijing Film Market (BFM).

NZFC CEO Dave Gibson said "Beijing was a great market for all the NZ producers and associated companies attending. We also visited Shanghai and Guangzhou and our meetings there were all productive. It is exciting that NZ producers are advancing their projects towards production stage with Chinese companies."

During the market, NZ animation company Huhu Studios signed contracts with China Film Group Animation for animated feature film Beast of Burden and a slate of other animated films.

Making Movies producer James Heyward also signed an agreement for IMAX film and TV series, Colours of China.

Hip Hop-eration producer Paula Jones and director Bryn Evans furthered their working relationship with a large Beijing production company for their yet to be announced project.

The BJIFF selected a showcase of five acclaimed NZ films, What We Do In The Shadows, Housebound, Slow West, Mt. Zion and Giselle,  to screen in the Panorama section of the festival.

Next month, Dave Gibson, Chris Payne and Jasmin McSweeney will build on the success of the recent trip and further expand relationships and opportunities by attending the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) and its related market (SIFFMART), with a delegation of NZ film producers and industry representatives.

Finally, congratulations to NHNZ which received the Cathay Pacific Award for Outstanding Contribution at the New Zealand China Trade Association Business Awards. This win builds on the company's Business Excellence Award in 2011.

NHNZ makes ground-breaking factual television about people, nature, adventure, history and science for global broadcasters. Their critically acclaimed series Life Force was awarded a Gold World Medal for Documentary and Information Programming at the New York Festivals International Television and Film Awards 2015.

NHNZ's John Crawford played a key role in the inaugural NZFC-led Screen Sector Delegation to China in December 2014. In acknowledging the award, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson said "NHNZ is a true trailblazer when it comes to collaboration with China in the screen sector. The company has made an outstanding contribution to the NZ-China relationship and helped pave the way for official co-production under our film and television co-production treaties. The depth of NHNZ's relationships, the profound esteem in which John and his colleagues are held in China, and the scope of their engagement with all major Chinese broadcasters are a real inspiration for our industry and helped open many doors for our delegation and its members, and they continue to do so."

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Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market (Mifa)

Congratulations to Alyx Duncan, whose short film, The Tide Keeper screens In Competition at this year’s festival (15-20 June). 

Animation Supervisor, Eric Reynolds will also be flying the New Zealand flag, with his presentation ‘Weta Digital: Creating Worlds’, providing a glimpse into the world-leading Wellington-based company and its groundbreaking work. 

Rounding out the New Zealand presence this year is the NZFC's Tim Hope (Film Festival Coordinator) - any New Zealanders attending are encouraged to get in touch with Tim via tim@nzfilm.co.nz

If you're interested in finding out more about New Zealand’s world-class post-production, VFX and animation industry, further information is outlined here.  New Zealand also offers a generous incentive for Post, Digital and VFX (PDV) production, enabling you to undertake all or part of your post or VFX work here.


NZFC Mourns Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie

We were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Academy award-winning Australian cinematographer Andrew Lesnie. Lesnie spent a large part of his career working in NZ, most notably on Sir Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.

Sir Peter paid tribute to his friend and collaborator on Facebook, calling Lesnie  "A solid rock in the unpredictable world we both chose to work in." He went on to say, "After 17 years and 8 movies together, the loss of Andrew is very hard to bear."

Sir Peter's full tribute is here.


International Launch for NZ Film on Demand

The NZFC's transactional VOD platform, NZ Film On Demand, will launch this month in Australia and the UK. Previously only available in NZ, fans of NZ films living in these two countries will now be able to view, either by streaming or downloading, selected Kiwi classics such as An Angel at my Table, Crush, Rain, Sleeping Dogs and Smash Palace. More recent films like Boy, Matariki and The Weight of Elephants will also be available to view.

Sign up for the service ahead of the launch here.


Scholarship Programme for Women

In early April we announced an annual scholarship programme for women.  Inspired by acclaimed NZ screenwriter, producer and director, Jane Campion, the programme will offer scholarships across different disciplines in the screen industry where female participation is low. Each year, the programme will be championed by a different female filmmaker.

The inaugural scholarship is the JC CineFem Scholarship for women aspiring to a career as a cinematographer. The scholarship will provide an opportunity for a visually-minded woman with the passion and ambition to step into the world of cinematography an internship with a local or international cinematographer of her choice. 

Launching the scholarship programme, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson said the programme "Is just one-part of a five-pronged approach to addressing the issue of gender imbalance in the NZ film industry."

The NZFC is committed to increasing the number of women working in the film industry, particularly in key creative roles. As well as identifying and engaging with female filmmakers, the NZFC will collect and publish information and statistics on women working in the screen industry, encourage a 50% participation rate for women filmmakers in the professional development area and support proposals from guilds and industry organisations for the professional development of women in the screen industry.


Work For Us

Business Affairs Executive

  • In-house legal and commercial advisory role
  • Exciting, creative, busy environment
  • Intermediate level role, 3+ years PQE

Be part of the dynamic NZ film industry, drafting and negotiating financing, sales, and distribution contracts for feature films and other screen initiatives.

The NZFC is a crown entity working to grow the NZ film industry. They do this through investing in feature films, short films, script and career development and marketing and promoting NZ films and filmmakers both here and overseas.

In this role, you will be part of the business affairs team which is responsible for all contractual matters, including the drafting and negotiation of production financing contracts and sales and distribution contracts. You will also be providing commercial advice to film makers and assisting NZFC with compliance and compliance matters.

The successful candidate will meet the following criteria:

  • LLB with at least 3 years post qualification experience
  • Experience drafting and negotiating commercial contracts
  • Articulate with the ability to think on your feet
  • Ability to cope effectively with a multi task work load
  • Initiative, sound judgement and the ability to work autonomously
  • Ability to form effective working relationships with other staff and film makers

Your days are guaranteed to be busy in this role which will require you to juggle multiple projects and develop strong relationships with film industry stakeholders.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity! For more information contact Jane Temel on +64 (0)4 471 5870 and to apply send your CV and covering letter to jane.temel@nicherecruitment.co.nz.



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

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New Zealand Film Commission