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Monday, 13 June 2016


June 2016


Hunt For the Wilderpeople Smashes Box Office Records

Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople has become the highest grossing local film at the New Zealand box office, overtaking the 2010 Kiwi classic Boy, also directed by Waititi.

Following a record breaking opening weekend for a local film ($1,263,035  31 March – 3 April 2106) and the highest grossing single day for a local film ($528,896 Saturday 2 April 2016), Hunt for the Wilderpeople has taken $11,261,385 at New Zealand cinemas to date.

The film opened on 104 Australian screens on 26 May. After taking $1,163,608 in its first  weekend, 46 more screens added the film to their screening schedules for its second week. The Australian box office total is now over AU$3 million.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is still screening on over one hundred screens in New Zealand. The film is scheduled for a 24 June release in the US, then will roll out throughout the rest of the world.


Annecy International Animation Film Festival & Market

Leanne Pooley's animated documentary, 25 April is screening In Competition at the Annecy International Animation Festival. James Cunningham's short film, Accidents, Blunders & Calamities will also screen in competition.  Another NZFC-supported short film, Ned Wenlock's Spring Jam will screen in Official Selection. 

Head of International Relations, Chris Payne, is in Annecy to support the filmmakers at the festival and will host a networking cocktail function, as well as assisting Weta Digital with its market presentation.

The Annecy International Animation Festival runs 13-18 June.

You can read more about the New Zealand films at Annecy here.

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Production Funding Announcements

The Board considered and approved five applications for production funding at the 1 June Board meeting.

Capital in the 21st Century
Based on the No. 1 New York Times and international best seller, Capital in the Twenty First Century explores how everything from house prices in Auckland to economic upheavals around the globe are interlinked in ways we may never imagine. A NZ/French co-production, the writer/director is Justin Pemberton with writer/producer Matthew Metcalfe for New Zealand.

The Breaker Upperers
Two women, cynical in love, set up an agency to break up couples as a way to avoid letting go and moving on with their own love lives. A comedy written and directed by Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami. Produced by Carthew Neal with executive producer Taika Waititi.

The Changeover
Based on the acclaimed novel by Margaret Mahy, The Changeover is a supernatural thriller about a troubled teenager who must change over and become a witch in order to destroy an ancient spirit sucking the life out of her little brother. Produced by Emma Slade, writen by Stuart McKenzie and co-directed by Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt

Wayne is the exhilarating story of Wayne Gardner, the 1987 World Motorcycle Grand Prix Champion, and his improbable journey from a 5-dollar dirt bike to the international summit of his sport. Wayne is a NZ/Australian co-production produced by Fraser Brown for New Zealand, written by Jeremy Sims and Matthew Metcalfe and directed by Jeremy Sims.

Maui's Hook
Five grieving families embark on a journey from Parihaka to Cape Reinga. Participating in a series of workshops along the way, they begin to heal, forgive and eventually release the spirits of the loved ones they have lost. Produced by Quinton Hita and Karen Waaka-Tibble, writen by Lani-Rain Feltham and directed by Paora Joseph and Alyx Duncan.

All funding decisions can be found here.


World Premiere for The Rehearsal at NZIFF

The Rehearsal will have its World Premiere at the 2016 New Zealand International Film Festival.

An adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s debut novel, The Rehearsal is directed by Alison Maclean, written by Maclean and Emily Perkins and produced by Bridget Ikin and Trevor Haysom

The film stars James Rolleston as Stanley, a naïve first year drama student who meets Isolde (Ella Edward) and begins a sweet, first love affair. Goaded by Hannah (Kerry Fox), the charismatic Head of Acting, Stanley uncovers a talent and ambition he didn't know he had. When his group hits on a sex scandal involving Isolde’s tennis prodigy sister, as fertile material for their end-of-year show, Stanley finds himself torn.

The young cast includes Alice Englert, Michelle Ny, Cohen Holloway, Jamie Curry and singer Marlon Williams.

The Rehearsal is the centrepiece presentation of Auckland's NZIFF programme, screeing on Saturday 23 July at the Civic Theatre. Further festival screening dates will be confirmed for Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch.

You can view The Rehearsal trailer here.


New Zealand Releases

Taika Waititi's record-breaking Hunt for the Wilderpeople remains on screen, now in its 10th week after smashing every New Zealand box office record. You can view the trailer here.

Tickled opened on New Zealand screens on 26 May.  Directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve and produced by Carthew Neal, Tickled follows journalist Farrier, as he stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online. When he delves deeper, he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn’t stop him getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction. You can view the trailer here.

Lee Tamahori's Mahana has, to date, taken over a million dollars at the New Zealand box office. it is still screening in select cinemas after 14 weeks on New Zealand screens . You can view the trailer here.



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International Releases

Madman Entertainment released Hunt for the Wilderpeople in Australia on 26 May to a majestical opening weekend in which the film grossed $1.1 million at the box office.

The Orchard will release Hunt for the Wilderpeople in the US on 24 June and Vertigo Films will release it in the UK on 12 August.

Tickled will be released in the US on 17 June by Magnolia after positive reviews and buzz from festival screenings at Sundance, True/False and Hot Docs, among others. 

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Queen's Birthday Honours

Congratulations to all the recipients of Queen's Birthday Honours, especially our industry honourees.

Finola Dwyer, producer of  Brooklyn, An Education and Quartet was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Before moving to England, Finola worked on movies such as Constance, Starlight Hotel and Came A Hot Friday and served on the New Zealand Film Commission Board. 

Victoria Spackman, longstanding board member of Wellington's Bats theatre, and screen industry bodies SPADA and Screenrights, was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.  Victoria is the co-owner and Chief Executive of the Gibson Group.

Billie Jordan, founder of the Hip-Operation Group, a Waiheke Island dance troupe with performers aged 68 to 96, was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Billie and her troupe were the subjects of the 2014 documentary, Hip-Hoperation.

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On The Small Screen

New Zealand documentaries feature in the Rialto Channel's programming for June and July and there are some great films to choose from.

Into the Void, Margaret Gordon’s lively and eccentric documentary about notoriously, ear-splittingly loud Christchurch band The Void can be seen on the Rialto Channel from 13-17 July. You can find screening times here.

The Ground We Won, Chris Pryor and Miriam Smith's cinema verite study of contemporary manhood as observed through the rites and rituals of a rural New Zealand rugby club screens on the Rialto Chanel 26 June - 24 July.  Screening times can be found here.

Sarah Grohnert's Ever the Land tells the story of the building of Te Wharehou o Tūhoe at Tāneatua in the Ureweras, a project of huge significance for Tūhoe. It screens on the Rialto Channel 6 - 11 July. Screening times are here.

Costa Botes' Act of Kindness follows a young New Zealander’s search amongst the streets and shanties of Rwanda for a homeless, crippled beggar who years earlier had helped him out of a dangerous predicament. It screens on Rialto Channel 20-27 July and you will find screening times here.

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Pork Pie wraps

Pork Pie, Matt Murphy's modern reimagining of kiwi classic Goodbye Pork Pie has competed its 39-day shoot which took the production (and four Minis) to locations across New Zealand.

The cast includes Dean O'Gorman (Trumbo, The Hobbit), James Rolleston (The Rehearsal, The Dark Horse), and winner of the 2016 Heath Ledger Scholarship, Ashleigh Cummings (Puberty Blues).

Pork Pie is being produced by Tom Hern for Four Knights Film, executive produced by Tim White for Southern Light Films and has investment from the New Zealand Film Commission, NZOnAir, Random Films, Augusto, Park Road Post Production and Treehouse Films.

StudioCanal will distribute the film in New Zealand and Australia.


China News

Our International team has had a busy and productive period working with China:

Screen sector components were part of Prime Minister Key’s official visit to Beijing and Shanghai in April, which coincided with the Beijing Film Market.  Activities included focused business networking lunches with PM Key in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the inaugural New Zealand Film Festival in Shanghai, which was opened by the Prime Minister. New Zealand writer/director, Roger Donaldson was hosted as a VIP guest of the Festival, which also featured an intensive co-production roundtable with the Shanghai Filmmakers Association.

In early May, the NZFC and NZ Māori Tourism, with the support of Screen Auckland, Screen Wellington and Film Otago Southland, hosted one of China’s foremost directors, Wu Ershan and producer, Du Yang and their teams in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown. 

Most recently we supported the China Film Bureau and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China on the China Film Week in Wellington. The event featured visitors from the China Film Bureau as well as Stephen Chow, director of Chinese box office hit, The Mermaid along with cast and crew from the film.

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Festival and Awards News

Ever the Land screened in Venice at the beginning of the city’s famous Architecture Biennale. 

Directed by Sarah Grohnert and produced by Alexander Behse, Ever the Land tells the story of the building of Te Wharehou o Tūhoe at Tāneatua in the Ureweras, New Zealand's first living building.

Designed by architecture practice Jasmax to meet the stringent criteria of the international Living Building Challenge, Te Wharehou o Tūhoe serves as the headquarters of the Tūhoe tribal authority and meeting place for the Tūhoe people.

Filmed in Memphis in 2014, Free In Deed made its Tennessee debut at the Nashville Film Festival in April. Written and directed by Jake Mahaffy and produced by Georgina Conder, Michael Bowes, Mike S. Ryan and Brent Stiefel, the film won the best Film Award in the 2015 Venice Film Festival's Orizzonti section.

The Ground We Won recently screened in Documentary Competition at the 20th Anniversary Sofia International Film Festival, Bulgaria and was awarded a Special Mention by the Jury.

Other recent festival outings include screenings at Estonia's Tartu World Film Festival and at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival USA.  The Ground We Won also screened in competition at the recent  Moscow International Documentary Film Festival.

Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople has been traveling the US festival circuit, picking up Audience Awards at the Montclair, Chicago Critics and Wisconsin Film Festivals.  Other festival outings include screenings at the San Francisco, Tribeca, River Run, Sarasota, Cleveland International, Calgary International, Nashville, Boston Independent and the Seattle International Film Festivals.

New Zealand documentaryTickledby David Farrier and Dylan Reeve will be presented at this year’s AFI DOCS Film Festival. AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s festival of documentary cinema that takes place in Washington DC. The dates for this year’s festival are June 22-26.

Other festivals Tickled has screened at include: the True/False , Sarasota, Cleveland International, Louisiana International, Wisconsin, Florida, San Francisco, Hot Docs, Montclair, Seattle International and Sydney International Film Festivals.

Fangoria Magazine, announced the winners of its annual Chainsaw Awards on 8 May, and films with New Zealand connections were strongly represented.

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's What We Do In The Shadows won two awards, for Best Screenplay and Best Limited release.

Television series, Ash vs. Evil Dead, made in Auckland in 2015,  also picked up two awards, for Best TV Series and Best TV Actor (Bruce Campbell). 

Weta Workshop took the Best Makeup/Creature Effect award for their work on Krampus. Jason Lei Howden's Deathgasm was also nominated in this category.

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Short Films News

Fresh Shorts

We are pleased to announce changes to the Fresh Shorts process from June 2016.  Fresh Shorts will now follow a more developmental model, and as part of this, filmmaking teams applying for Fresh Shorts funding must be available to attend a three-day residential lab.  You will find details of the changes to Fresh Shorts and application guidelines on our website.  

To introduce the new model to filmmakers, the Talent Development team did roadshows in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.  You can watch video of their presentation here.

Sydney Film Festival

Two NZ shorts, Dean Hewison’s Judgment Tavern and Yamin Tun’s Wait will screen at the Sydney Film Festival in July 2016.

Melbourne International Film Festival

David White’s short film The Couple will screen at MIFF.

Four New Zealand directors, Yamin Tun(Wait), Ivan Barge (Madam Black) and co-directors Leon Wadham and Eli Kent (Moving) will attend MIFF Accelerator in August 2016.  Their short films will screen as part of the MIFF Accelerator short film programme. Accelerator is four days of workshops, screenings, seminars and networking events on the business and creative aspects of the film industry for short film directors seeking to make the transition to feature film making.

Palm Springs International Short Film festival

Two New Zealand filmmakers have had their films selected for the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival in July. Director Joe Hitchcock (Stick to Your Gun) and writer/producer Matthew Harris (Madam Black) will attend the festival.

New Zealand Inernational Film Festival

Director Lee Tamahori has chosen six finalists in the NZIFF's New Zealand's Best Shorts, five of which received funding from the NZFC.
The five NZFC funded films selected are: Cradle (director: Damon Duncan), Judgment Tavern (director: Dean Hewison), Shmeat (director:Matasila Freshwater), Wait (director: Yamin Tun) and Spring Jam (director: Ned Wenlock).  


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Gaylene Preston Directors' Award

Applications for the Gaylene Preston Directors' Award close on 20 June. The award is for a female director and is supported by Gaylene Preston.

You will find details of criteria and how to apply here.




New to NZ Film On Demand

Four new feature films and three shorts can now be enjoyed at NZ Film On Demand, the NZFC's VOD platform.

Features, Footrot Flats, The Ground We Won, Wild Horses and Spooked, and short films The Tide Keeper, Lambs and Ellen is Leaving can be streamed or downloaded to own.

To view these, or any of the other 80 films available for streaming and download, visit NZ Film On Demand.

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Upcoming Markets – Producer Travel

We support producers to attend markets via our Producer International Travel Assistance (PITA) fund.  Further information and the requisite application form are available on the NZFC website.  A reminder that if you have received funding, you must deliver all agreed reporting and other deliverables prior to seeking or receiving any further NZFC financial support.

Current market opportunities:

MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Breakthru Screenings (28-31 July 2016, Melbourne)
The deadline for all applications is 5pm, Monday 20 June 2016.

Toronto International Film Festival
The NZFC is again supporting Producers Lab Toronto (PLT) and International Financing Forum (IFF) in 2016. The deadline for applications is 5pm, Monday 4 July 2016.

SPA Screen Forever (15-17 November 2016, Melbourne)
Early bird registrations open this month on Wednesday 15 June 2016.  For more information visit the SPA Screen Forever website.

You will find details of these opportunities and how to apply for funding to attend them here.



During April and May 2016, ScreenSafe held a roadshow of presentations in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown to discuss the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, which came into effect on 4 April 2016, and the role of ScreenSafe. Representatives from ScreenSafe, legal firm Minters Ellison Rudd Watts and the NZFC aimed to provide clarity on the new legislation and answered a variety of questions about the many unique production scenarios.  Questions included:

Q: Can I opt out of the Act requirements?
A: No, Under the new Act, it is now rule of law that everyone has a role to play in making sure our workplaces are safe and healthy. Your obligations will depend on your role within the film production process, including the amount of control and influence you have over any particular aspect of the project – the more senior your role, the more responsibility you will have for ensuring the safety of yourself and others. So, get familiar with your obligations under the Act and help make the New Zealand screen sector a safer and healthier industry for all of us.

Q:  What do I do if I have a concern on a production?
A: Firstly, raise any issues or concerns you may have with your Head of Department and or the designated Safety Officer. Or, you can raise concerns with the Production Manager or Producer direct. If you feel appropriate action has not been taken you may also engage with your crew rep, one of the Guilds or with Worksafe New Zealand direct. Priority must always be placed on addressing any and all Health and Safety concerns in a timely and professional manner.

Q: Can I insure against liability?
A: No, you can insure for cover on associated legal costs but legally, everyone must comply with the Health and Safety Act 2015. Ultimately, incentives for striving for high health and safety standards go beyond the legal obligations.

Q: Where do I get advice?
A: The ScreenSafe website has been set up as a comprehensive go-to resource hub. There are also many Screen Industry Safety Companies, Safety Officers and Advisors with specialist knowledge, most of whom will be happy to have an initial conversation with regard to your particular project or concern – They can be found via the web, or through the Crew Agents and in the NZ Data Book, or you can go through one of the Guilds to find contacts…  If all else fails you can go direct to the national legislator, Worksafe NZ.

With regard to your legal questions or documentation, you should engage the services of your legal representative for appropriate advice to your specific situation.

ScreenSafe’s website is the home of the new Health and Safety Guidelines, updated from the former Code of Practice to meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, which came into effect on 4 April 2016.



Staff News

Leanne Saunders has started this week as Head of Production and Development. Leanne replaces Lisa Chatfield who recently left the NZFC for a role at Pukeko Pictures.

Transition Co-ordinator, Rachael Mansfield, will remain in her role until the end of July to assist Leanne in easing into her new role.

You can read more about Leanne here.

Steph Tims, PA to the Head of Production and Development will be leaving the NZFC at the end of June. We wish her well with her future endeavours.



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

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