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Friday, 28 October 2016


October 2016


Production Funding Announcements

The Board considered and approved three applications for production financing at the 13 October Board meeting.

When a boy’s beloved dog is lost overboard in treacherous seas, everyone gives him up for dead; but his young owner defies them all in staging the rescue of his life. A family film based on the much loved children’s book, Herbert is a NZ/UK co-production directed by Don Coutts, written by William McKegg and Amanda Beatson, and produced by McKegg and Bob Last.

Kiwi Christmas
Fed up with the materialism of Christmas, Santa runs away to New Zealand for a summer holiday; it’s up to two Kiwi kids to work out who he is and get him back to the North Pole in time for Christmas. Produced by Tim Sanders, directed by Tony Simpson and written by Simpson, Dave Armstrong and Andrew Gunn.

Yellow is Forbidden
In this documentary written and directed by Pietra Brettkelly, a brave, daring and diminutive Chinese fashion designer, Guo Pei, blazes onto the world stage chasing a dream – to become part of the exclusive world of Haute Couture. 

All funding decisions can be found here.


Fresh Shorts Funding

Seven films have been offered funding in the June Fresh Shorts round, four at the $10,000 level, and three at the $30,000.

This is the first round of Fresh Shorts Funding in which the shortlisted teams were required to attend a three-day residential development lab and then work with mentors before re-submitting their scripts.

Details of the funded films can be found here.


Dave Gibson's Speech to Industry

In his annual address to the industry at the 2016 Big Screen Symposium, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson introduced the concept of GPS 2026, announced a new fund for VR, AR and gaming, a review of the Early Development Fund, and the desire to increase the diversity of voices in front of and behind the camera.

He also shared statistics showing the percentage of female producers, writers and directors approved for NZFC production financing in the last financial year.

He applauded the success of local films at the box office, and challenged filmmakers to think more about audience and to make adventurous, risky choices with the films they choose to make.

A transcript of the speech can be found here.


Ramai Hayward Scholarship Announced

At the Ngā Aho Whakaari Hui on 7 and 8 October, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson announced the details of the third of our gender scholarships, following the awards supported by Jane Campion in 2015, and Gaylene Preston earlier this year.

The 2017 scholarship is to support wahine Māori directors and will be awarded in memory of pioneering filmmaker, Ramai Hayward.

Born in 1916, Ramai Hayward was New Zealand’s first Māori filmmaker, working as an actor, camerawoman, director and scriptwriter from the 1930s, through to the early 1970s.  Her career took her to Australia, Albania, the UK and China, where she and her husband, Rudall Hayward, made the first English language films after the Communist revolution.

We are grateful to Ramai’s family who have graciously allowed us to use her name to encourage and inspire wahine Māori to develop and share their stories on the big screen.

You will find a press release about the scholarship here.  Details about the scholarship will be posted before Christmas.

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Pecking Order Wins Vista Marketing Award

The Vista Foundation in partnership with the NZFC are proud to announce the feature film documentary Pecking Order as the winner of the annual Vista Film Marketing competition. The award contributes $75,000 to the marketing budget of a New Zealand film which will be released in New Zealand within the next 12 months.  It was presented to director and co-producer Slavko Martinov by Christine Fenby, a member of the Vista Foundation board and Marketing Director of Vista Group. Last year’s winner was Chasing Great.

The NZFC worked with Vista to create a series of workshops for New Zealand producers and filmmakers with films currently in development and production. The competition was the culmination of a programme scheduled over three weekends filled with informative seminars and discussions. 

Pecking Order will be released in New Zealand cinemas by Vendetta Films on 6 April 2017.

You can read more about the Vista Marketing Award here.


Pork Pie Trailer Released

Kiwis got their first peek at the accidental outlaws better known as the Blondini Gang on 17 October, with the launch of the official trailer for the film.

Pork Pie is an action-packed reimagining of the iconic 1981 Kiwi classic, Goodbye Pork Pie and stars Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit, Trumbo, The Almighty Johnsons), James Rolleston (Boy, The Dark Horse) and Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues,Tomorrow When the War Began). The reboot opens in New Zealand cinemas on 2 February 2017 (just in time for Waitangi Weekend), with the dating playing homage to the original film which was released on Waitangi Day in 1981.

You can view the trailer here.


International Releases

Poi E opened in Australia on 19 October. Ahead of the release, The Australian gave the film a 4-star review, calling the film a "funny, heartwarming, uplifting documentary."

The Sydney Morning Herald also praised the film, saying  "a carefully curated, affectionate, joyous and often very funny celebration of the song and the people and places behind it."

Chasing Great: Richie McCaw also received a limited national release in Australia with special event screenings held on 19, 22 and 23 October and as a Special Movie Event on Foxtel’s Main Event.  In a 4-star review, The Australian called the film "a fascinating boots ’n’ all documentary."

You can read The Australian article about the two films here.

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Festival and Awards News

Lee Tamahori's The Patriarch/Mahana and Alison Maclean's The Rehearsal had their North American premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TiFF) in Sptember.  Both films screened in the festival's Contemporary World Cinema section.

The Rehearsal had its US premriere at the New York Film Festival where it screened in the Main Slate section.

The film then crossed the Atlantic to screen in the BFI London International Film Festival's London's Dare strand.

New Zealand films had a significant presence at Canada's ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival with 16 of the 96 films to screen having a New Zealand connection. Tammy Davis's Born to Dance and Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa’s Three Wise Cousins were among the feature films selected, along with a number of shorts.

Peter Young's feature documentary The Art of Recovery has received top awards at two separate films festivals in the US and Europe.

The film opened the New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles where it won Best Feature and the overall Best of the Fest award.

The film also screened at the Lund International Architecture Film Festival in Sweden where it won the grand prize of Best Documentary.

The Art of Recovery captures the creative revival of central Christchurch and explores the tension between this grass roots recovery and the ‘top-down’ government-led approach to the rebuild of the City.

25 April was selected to screen at Korea's Bucheon International Animation Film Festival.  Director Leanne Pooley attended the festival, and the NZFC worked with the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul on a networking dinner involving screen industry and New Zealanders.

25 April was also one of two New Zealand features screened out of competition at the Festival des Antipodes in St. Tropez, as was Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s What We Do In The Shadows

The only New Zealand film to screen In Competition at the St. Tropez festival was Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader’s The Great Maiden’s BlushLead actress Miriama McDowell won the Best Actress Award for her role as an unwilling new mother.

Belief:  The Possession of Janet Moses had its US premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas in September. Writer/director/producer, David Stubbs attended the festival with NZFC support.

The film will follow its US premiere with screenings in the Pacific Showcase section at the Hawaii international Film Festival along with The Patriarch/Mahana.

Independent feature film, Chronesthesia screened In Competition in the Narrative Features category at the Austin Film Festival in October.  Producer, Steve Barr attended the festival.

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Short Film News

A number of New Zealand short films including Yamin Tun's Wait and Gregory King's UFO were selected for the ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto where UFO won the award for Best Short Drama.

Also screened were five films created through the Māoriland Film Festival's Native Slam. Envisioned and created by Libby Hakaraia, director of the Māoriland Film Festival, and Australian producer Pauline Clague, Native Slam grouped together international Indigenous filmmakers and challenged them to create short films in 72 hours on a budget of $800 a piece.

The Native Slam films included in the ImagineNATIVE programme were:

  •  Ara, directed by Kath Akuhata-Brown, Echota Kilsnight and Sara Margrethe Oskal
  • Ra’stat’ste, directed by Sonia Boileau, Mike Jonathan and Jeremiah Tauamiti
  • Sech’el, directed by Trevor Mack, Cornel Ozies and Chelsea Winstanley
  • Skoha, directed by Zoe Leigh Hopkins, Tainui Stephens and  Rima Tamou 
  • Tawhaowhao, directed by Himiona Grace, Blackhorse Lowe and Sunna Nousuniemi

Filmmakers Jessica Hansell, Renae Maihi, Mike Jonathan, Lanita Ririnui-Ryan, Kararaina Rangihau, Jason Taylor and Jeremiah Tauamiti were supported by the NZFC to attend ImagineNATIVE which ran 19-23 October.

Ivan Barge's Madam Black continues its award-winning run, taking audience awards at the Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival and the Festival Européen du Film Fantastique de Strasbourg. The film won the Silver prize In Competition at the Drama International Short Film Festival in Greece and the Short Film Prize at the Festival des Antipodes in St. Tropez.

Also screening at the Festival des Antipodes were David White's films, The Couple and Oink.

James Cunningham's Accidents, Blunders and Calamities screened at Korea's Bucheon Animation Film Festival where it won the Beans Road Prize.

Spring Jam was also programmed at Bucheon and recently screened in a programme of animated short films at the BFI London International Film Festival.

The Show Me Shorts Film Festival announced the winners of its annual short film competition on 1 October, with Spring Jam taking the Best Film Award.  Director Ned Wenlock also snagged the Best Director Award.

NZFC funded films were well represented in the winners' list with Shout at the Ground winning the award for Best Editor, Wait taking the Special Jury Prize and the award for Best Actor, Cradle receiving the award for Best Screenplay and Feeder winning the Best Cinematographer award.

You will find details of the event and a full list of winners here.


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New Zealand and Canada Renew Co-production Treaty

New Zealand and Canada have renewed the co-production treaty first established in 1987.

The new treaty was enacted at a signing ceremony in Toronto to coincide with the Toronto International Film Festival in September. High Commissioner Daniel Mellsop did the honours for New Zealand with Melanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Heritage.

The new version of the Canada-New Zealand co-production treaty makes some changes, including the introduction of a requirement for distribution/broadcasting commitments in both countries before the co-production is completed. There’s a new definition of key creatives (eight positions) and the ability for one of the key positions to be filled by a non-party national. On high budget projects, two of the eight key creatives can be from non-party countries.

The treaty will now go to the Canadian parliament to be ratified and is likely to come into effect by early next year.

You can read more about the co-production agreement here.


International News

China Engagement
In late September the NZFC hosted highly successful visits by very senior representatives from Shanghai Media Group in Dunedin and Queenstown, and the China Film Group and Guangdong Province in Wellington and Auckland, in collaboration with Enterprise Dunedin/Dunedin City Council, Film Otago Southland, Screen Wellington and Screen Auckland/ATEED.  

Each delegation included industry networking, visits to facilities and locations, and meetings with NZFC and key regional bodies.

Producer Travel
Any producers planning on attending American Film Market (AFM), SPA Screen Forever, or other key markets, festivals or conferences during the remainder of 2016 and early 2017 are encouraged to contact international@nzfilm.co.nz.  If you’re considering applying for Producer International Travel Assistance (PITA), please check out the application process on our website.  For those travelling overseas, we recommend KEA’s free app (available for iOS and Android devices), which connects you to Kiwis and NZ-focused events offshore.

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A Flickering Truth NZ's Best Foreign Language Submission

Pietra Brettkelly’s A Flickering Truth is New Zealand’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 89th Academy Awards.

Each year the Academy invites countries to select and submit their best foreign language film for consideration. Selection of the film is made by a committee of experienced film industry representatives, chaired by NZFC CEO, Dave Gibson.

A Flickering Truth, directed and produced by Pietra Brettkelly, documents the preservation of Afghanistan’s film archive. The film follows three men who have dedicated decades to protecting this important vessel of Afghan culture through 100 years of war, hiding it from the Taleban, protecting it from the ravages of war and Kabul’s extreme weather. Now their project is to restore the archive and save the thousands of hours of film revealing cinema from the time of King Amanullah Khan in the 1920s, the invasion of the Russians, and the days when women wore miniskirts. A Flickering Truth unwraps a world literally frozen in time and dust.

A Flickering Truth had its world premiere at the 2015 Venice Film Festival where it screened in the Venice Classics section.


Announcements and Deadlines

Changes to China Co-Production Development Fund
After internal discussions about co-production activity, the increasing number of countries with which New Zealand has co-production treaties and the increase in activity with China, the China Co-Production Development Fund will be re-developed. The fund will be re-purposed to focus on the development of projects with a broader range of co-production partners.

Details will be available on our website soon.

Fresh Shorts
The deadline for the next round of Fresh Shorts funding is Friday 4 November.  Details of the fund and how to apply can be found here.

Premiere Pathways
The successful applicants in the last round of Premiere Pathways will be announced on Friday 4 November.  The next deadline for this fund will be in January 2017.  Please keep an eye on our website for dates.


New Zealand Cinematographers' Society Awards

The NZCS awards are a new development established by NZCS as a way to encourage, recognise, and honour world-class cinematography in New Zealand.

The awards were celebrated at a black tie dinner in the Grand Tea Room of the Heritage Hotel Auckland on Saturday 15 October.

Ginny Loane won Cinematographer of the Year for her work on Lee Tamahori's Mahana. She was presented with the award by Academy Award and BAFTA nominated cinematographer, Tom Stern.

A full list of the awards given can be found here.


Congratulations to...

Dame Jane Campion on her new title.  The Oscar winner and only female to hold a Palm d'Or, attended an investiture ceremony at Government House on 19 October where she accepted the honour from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy.

Carthew Neal, producer of Tickled and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, on being named one of 10 producers to watch by Variety.  

Tickled for its two nominations in the inaugural Critics' Choice Documentary Awards. The film is nominated as Best Documentary Feature Film, and directors David Farrier and Dylan Reeve are nominated in the Best First Documentary Feature Film category.

Winners will be announced on 3 November.

Gaylene Preston on being named one of New Zealand's Women of Influence. Presented by Fairfax Media and Westpac, the New Zealand Women of Influence programme recognises and celebrates women from all walks of life who make a difference to everyday people.

Film Otago Southland on the signing of an MOU with the Shanghai Media Group.

Taika Waititi on winning the SWANZ Award for Best Feature Film for Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Leanne Pooley and Tim Woodhouse for their award: Best Factual Script - Film or TV Documentary for 25 April and Casey Whelan (Born to Dance) who won the New Writer Award at the event held in Auckland on 22 September.

Matt Whelan for being cast in a regular role in Netflix drama Narcos.  Whelan will play a young American DEA agent in the drug cartel drama currently shooting on location in Colombia.

John Gilbert on being recognized in the Hollywood Film Awards.  

Sam Neill on receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Australian International Movie Convention.

Simone Nathan on being selected for the 2016-17 Nickelodeon Writing Programme in Los Angeles.

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We are saddened by the loss of two industry stalwarts in October with the deaths of Brent Chambers, and Michael Firth.

Brent Chambers, who died on 1 October, was the founder and creative director of Flux Animation, one of the major animation and production companies in New Zealand.

A passionate advocate for the animation sector, his company has produced a wide range of commercial, television and short film animation. Last year Flux did the animation for Matthew Metcalfe and Leanne Pooley's animated feature documentary, 25 April which was selected for the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2016 Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

Writer and director Michael Firth died on 9 October.

Best known for his adventurous skiing documentaries, Off the Edge and The Leading Edge, Firth also directed Heart of the Stag and Sylvia and produced 52 episodes of Adrenalize, a successful extreme sports series.  A keen trout fisherman, he made fishing series Take the Bait, doing most of the camerawork and narration himself as he explored New Zealand’s best trout fishing locations.


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Return on Investments

The NZFC will be tabling its 2015/16 Annual Report to Parliament in mid-November.

A feature of the Annual Report will be a strong result from our investment in feature films, in fact the best in several years.

A major factor is income from Hunt for the Wilderpeople which is technically in profit. Also lifting the 2015/16 result are ongoing returns from two successful films from  the last couple of years - The Dark Horse and Slow West. In both cases the producer NZSPG equity position has allowed filmmaker participation in their success. 

In the case of The Dark Horse, net revenues from Australasia alone have generated several hundred thousand dollars, shared almost equally between investors (46%) and distributor (54%). (This is a better outcome than might have been understood from the recent WIFT seminar.)

NZFC's return on investment in the 2016/17 year is expected to be similarly strong, with additional returns from Hunt for the Wilderpeople supplemented byTickled income.


On Location Workshop

Boost your knowledge of location scouting and managing with this professional development opportunity.

Ideal for screen industry workers with a desire to move into the locations department, these free workshops will focus on the vital role of identifying and managing locations to match the creative and practical elements a successful shoot requires.

Dates: Wellington 3 December and Auckland 10 December.

Hear from some of New Zealand’s most highly-experienced location scout/managers including Sally Sherratt and Jared Connon.

These sessions are run in collaboration with the NZFC, regional film offices and key government agencies. You can find out more about participating here.


American Film Market & Conferences (AFM) and Related Events

The NZFC and NZ industry will have a presence at the American Film Market & Conferences (2-9 November), U.S.-China Film Summit (1 November), U.S.-China Film & TV Industry Expo (2 & 3 November) and related events in Los Angeles.  The NZFC is a sponsor of both AFM and the U.S.-China Film & TV Industry Expo and will have a booth on level six of the Loews Hotel during AFM.  This booth will be available to NZ filmmakers and industry for meetings with NZFC staff with a range of print collateral on hand.


SPA Screen Forever

SPA and SPADA have confirmed a special rate of AU$895 for a full 2.5-day Gold Pass for New Zealand screen professionals attending this year’s SPA Screen Forever conference (15-17 November) in Melbourne. To register and for more information, please contact Brad Taylor.

Prior to SPA Screen Forever, Film Victoria and the NZFC are co-hosting a co-production networking event for Victoria-based producers and NZ producers on the morning of Tuesday 15 November.

You will find more information about SPA Screen Forever and the Film Victoria/NZFC Co-production initiative here.


Loading Docs 2017: Diversity

Request for proposals:

NZFC and NZ On Air-supported documentary initiative Loading Docs invites New Zealand filmmakers to submit initial concept proposals for Loading Docs: Diversity.

Loading Docs is requesting submissions outlining the concept for a three-minute documentary that addresses the theme of diversity.

All documentaries must be completed by June 2017. Submissions close 5pm Monday 21 November.

Full details of criteria and how to apply can be found here.


New to NZ Film On Demand

Four new films have been added to NZ Film On Demand, the NZFC's video-on-demand platform.  Whale Rider, The Strength of WaterSione's Wedding and Sione's 2: Unfinished Business are now available to stream or download-to-own.

If you've already seen these, there are more than 90 other films available at NZ Film On Demand.



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

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