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Thursday, 2 November 2017


Production Funding Decisions

The Board considered and approved one application for production financing at the October Board meeting.

Inspired by the true stories of New Zealand’s street gangs in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Savage portrays Danny at three different ages and defining moments that push and pull him towards and away from gang life. Written and directed by Sam Kelly and produced by Vicky Pope.


Dave Gibson's Final Speech to Industry

On Saturday 30 September, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson delivered his final speech to the film industry at the Big Screen Symposium in Auckland.  The speech identified recent changes in the film business and threw out some challenges for the future.

He announced three additions to the NZFC's gender policy and introduced the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust - Te Puna Ataata, a charitable trust which filmmakers can appoint to be guardian of their films, to preserve their legacy and ensure the films can be seen into the future.

You can read a full transcript of Dave's speech here.

You can read about the additions to the gender policy here.



Annabelle Sheehan to be NZFC CEO

Annabelle Sheehan's appointment to the CEO role at the NZFC was announced on Wednesday 11 October. She will take up the role in January 2018.

Annabelle has been CEO fo the South Australia Film Corporation since 2015.

You can read more about Annabelle Sheehan's appointment here.


Upcoming Local Releases

Human Traces, written and directed by Nic Gorman and produced by Nadia Maxwell, is a psychological thriller, told from three points of view, and set on a remote, sub-Antarctic island. When a mysterious young man arrives on the remote research station, secrets threaten the relationship of a married couple trying to return the island’s ecosystem to its natural state.

Human Traces will be released by eOne Films on 16 November.  You can view the trailer here.

Kiwi Christmas,is written by Dave Armstrong, Andrew Gunn and Tony Simpson, and directed by Simpson. Fed up with the materialism of Christmas, Santa runs away to New Zealand for a summer holiday. When two Kiwi kids figure out who he is, they have to get him back to the North Pole in time for Christmas.

Kiwi Christmas will be released on 30 November by Madman Entertainment.  You can view the trailer here.

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In Cinemas Now

Waru, produced by Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, is an anthology feature film made up of eight 10-minute short films around the tangi (funeral) of a small boy named Waru who died at the hands of his caregiver. Each vignette is written and directed by Māori women filmmakers, writer/ directors Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen and Paula Jones, director Awanui Simich-Pene and writer Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu.

Waru was released by Vendetta Films on October 19.  You can view the trailer here.

The Changeover, written by Stuart McKenzie, directed by Miranda Harcourt and McKenzie and produced by Emma Slade is based on the novel by Margaret Mahy. Set in post-earthquake Christchurch,The Changeover is a supernatural thriller about a troubled teenager who must become a witch in order to destroy an ancient spirit sucking the life out of her little brother.

The Changeover was released by Vendetta Films on 28 September. You can view the trailer here.

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Toronto International Film Festival

Waru and Human Traces both premiered to capacity houses and positive reviews at the Tornoto International Film Festival (TiFF)in September.

The Hollywood Reporter, in its review of Waru, said, "A fascinating glimpse into New Zealand’s contemporary Maori community."

Variety reviewed Human Traces, saying, “Clever editing and smart scripting combine neatly to reveal heretofore concealed information that ramps up the tension and propels the drama to an exciting conclusion.”

The NZFC and Canada Media Fund co-hosted an Indigenous breakfast for filmmakers from around the world who had films at TiFF.

At the breakfast, guests included First Nation actor, Michael Greyeyes (Woman Walks Ahead), First Nation directors Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals), and Alanis Obomsawin (Our People will be Healed). Other guests included representatives from Screen Australia, ImagineNATIVE Film Festival and the New Zealand High Commissioner to Canada, Daniel Mellsop.

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Festival News

Waru opened the ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Tornoto and the sceening was followed by a lively Q & A.

The Changeover had its international premiere at the Rome Film Festival on 29 October.

 New Zealand-China co-production, Into the Rainbow (fka The Wonder) premiered at the New Zealand Asia Pacific Film Festival on 28 October.

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web recently screened at the Bergen International Film Festival in Norway.

Paul Oremland's documentary, 100 Men, screened at New Fest, New York's LGBT film festival in October  The film will follow this outing with screenings at Madrid's LesGaiCineMad film festival.

Poi E, Ever the Land and Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web will all screen at the Friday Harbor Documentary Film Festival in San Juan Island.  The producer of all three films, Alexander Behse, will attend the festival.

Poi E  and Waru will also screen at the Hawaii International Film Festival in November. 

Waru will also screen at the Winda Film Festival in Australia. 

Poi E, Mahana, Gary of the Pacific and classic film, The Navigator: A Medieval Odessey are all screening in the Australia-New Zealand Film Festival in the Czech Republic, as well as a collection of New Zealand short films: Maria, Home, In the Rubbish Bin, Ross and Beth, Mokopuna, Ahi Kā, Ow What! and The Lawnmower Men of Kapu.

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Tuku Iho Living Legacy: New Zealand Screen Industry Event, Los Angeles

On 1 November, the NZFC hosted US-based clients at the Tuko Iho | Living Legacy exhibition. The exhibition includes over 80 traditional Māori artworks, handcrafted at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua along with tā moko artists and kapa haka performers.

The event was timed with the NZFC’s attendance at the AFM LocationEXPO and provided the opportunity to showcase New Zealand as a world-class production destination, and for New Zealand industry partners to meet US clients.

To contact the NZFC's Head of Incentives Catherine Bates, Head of International Attractions Philippa Mossman and Enquiries Manager Jacqui Wood at the AFM LocationEXPO, please message enquiries@nzfilm.co.nz.

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Congratulations go to....

Roseanne Liang for her short film, Do No Harm, which was named in the top ten films selected by Manhattan Short. The films were selected from a record 1615 submissions.

Annie Goldson and Alexander Behse for their film, Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web, being nominated as best Documentary Feature at the 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards to be held in Brisbane on 23 November.

Weta Digital's Joe Letteri for being selected to recieve the Georges Méliès Award at the 16th annual Visual Effects Society Awards which will be held in Los Angeles in February 2018.

All the cinematographers honoured at the 2017 NZ Cinematographers Society Awards. A full list of winners can be viewed here

Taika Waititi who will recieve the inaugural Pacific Islanders In Communications Trailblazer Award at November's Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF).

The award is for a filmmaker of Pacific Island heritage "who broadens the scope of Pacific Islander stories onto the world stage, producing award winning work in independent and global cinema". Waititi is receiving the award for his work on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows and Moana.

Dianna Fuemana for winning the Sun Jury prize at ImagineNATIVE for her short film, Sunday Funday. 

"We want to give a special acknowledgment to a film we found to be original, complex and surprising. We were impressed by the filmmaker's capacity to offer a heartfelt lens to an important subject." - Sun Jury

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Latin American Roadshow

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Latin American Roadshow of New Zealand Films concluded its tour of Central and South America in September in Bogota, Colombia. Nine feature films and eight short films made their way around the continent over the course of five months, with 1,463 members of the public attending screenings.

In Brazil, the New Zealand  Embassy coordinated a number of industry events, and representing New Zealand were Miriam Smith, Chris Pryor and Bryn Evans.

The NZFC would like to thank MFAT for its partnership and support.

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Show Me Short Awards

The Show Me Shorts Film Festival awards were held on 28 October.  Sixteen New Zealand short films were nominated for awards, including several funded by the NZFC.

Roseanne Liang and Hamish Mortland's Do No Harm was nominated for four awards and recieved gongs for Best Cinematograper (Andrew McGeorge), Best Editor (Tom Eagles) and a special juryt prize for Best Stunt Coordination (Tim Wong).

Waiting, written by Samuel Kamu, directed by Amberly Jo Aumua and produced by Dr Vanessa Byrnes won the award for Best Student Film.

The Best Actor Award went to Marion Prebble for her role in Mark Prebble's Baby?

Zoe McIntosh recieved the award for Best Director for The World in your Window.

The award for best New Zealand Film went to Phil Brough, Matt Heath and Orlando Stewart's Fire in Carboard City.

Full coverage of the awards can be found here.

A total of 18 New Zealand short films will screen in the Show Me Shorts Film Festival which launched in Auckland on 28 October.  The full programme can be viewed here.

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Writing for Video Games

In October the NZFC partnered with the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) and the NZ Game Developers Association for a presentation and Q&A with Ubisoft Singapore’s senior scriptwriter and New Zealand expat, Sam Gill.  Held at ProjectR (Wellington’s virtual and mixed reality centre), Sam’s session—‘The Perils of Free Will and Writing for Video Games’—was informative and entertaining, and well-received by the capacity audience. Sam for provided insights into the writing process at one of the world’s leading video game publishers, and drew on his own experiences and learnings from writing over 20 video games during his career to date.

Support for this initiative is part of our GPS 2026 activity – keep an eye out later this month for the call for applications for a second round of the Interactive Development Fund.


Two Rounds of Boost for 2017/18

The NZFC will run two rounds of Boost in the current financial year (to 30 June 2018). The first round of applications is open now, with decisions to be announced by mid-December. The second round will be in May 2018, with applications open from April 2018.

Boost aims to accelerate the slates of active producers and enable successful screen businesses to build a feature film slate and move quickly into production.

Growing sustainable screen businesses, already articulated by the Government and the NZFC as a priority, is a key aim of the scheme. We want to help businesses grow by producing films that are culturally significant, amazing, original and exciting. If you have plans that could benefit from a funding boost, then we may be able to help.

Applications for the current round of Boost are due by 9am on Monday 20 November.  You will find the guidelines and application form here.


New to NZ Film On Demand

Moonrise, After the Waterfall and Meat have been added to NZ Film On Demand, the NZFC's video-on-demand platform, and are now available to stream or download-to-own.

There are now over 100 feature and short  films available at NZ Film On Demand.


Feature Film Festival & Market Travel Funding

A reminder to let our International team know if you’ll be attending SPA Screen Forever or any other upcoming international film festivals, markets or summits during the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.  The process for applying for contributory travel funding assistance is outlined on our Producer International Travel Assistance page.  Please contact international@nzfilm.co.nz with any queries. Early applications for contributory travel funding are encouraged.


Staff News

Chris Moll has joined the Development and Production team in the new role of Investment Executive. The formerly UK-based Moll is a BAFTA award winning producer and highly regarded senior film executive with over three decades of industry experience. In this new role, he will  focus on assessing feature film projects for creative, financial and market potential and advising on appropriate budget levels, potential market attachment and distribution pathways to enhance the pipeline of projects moving forward into production. 

Also joining the Development and Production team is Mechele Harron who is the new Development Coordinator.  Mechele descends from Tainui/Taranaki whakapapa, with strong ties to Tūrangawaewae Marae and Parihaka Pa.  She started out her career as a news journalist before heading into the world of Television and working her way up to becoming a Producer at Māori Television in Tamāki Makaurau, enabling her to produce many Māori language programmes including historical documentary series’s and tamariki programmes.  Mechele provides administration support for the Development team and is the key point of contact for Feature film development enquires.

You can read more about our new and exisiting staff members here.

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

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New Zealand Film Commission