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Thursday, 27 April 2017


April 2017


Changes to Incentives

On 24 March, NZFC senior staff with Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) officials spoke to industry in Auckland and Wellington to announce changes to the New Zealand Government's screen incentives, the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).  You can read about the changes to the incentives, including the updated criteria, here.


March 2017 Board Meeting

The Board approved changes to several NZFC funds at the March 2017 Board Meeting. These include changes to the Feature Finishing Grant (FFFG), Early Development Fund (EDF), Documentary Development and a new focus on supporting projects in mid-development.

You can read about all the decisions from the March 2017 Board meeting here.


Production Funding Announcements

The Board considered and approved two applications for production financing and one application for post-production financing at the March Board meeting.

A pregnant woman returns to her recently deceased grandparents' home for time alone only to find her estranged mother is already there. What begins as an unplanned reunion turns into a terrifying fight for survival. Reunion is written and directed by Jake Mahaffy and produced by Georgina Conder.

Paper Run (documentary)
An ageing Tongan father battles the demands of his beloved church and culture, while risking the love of his children and losing his grip on the Kiwi dream. Directed by Vea Mafile'o and Jerry Tauamiti and produced by Sandra Kailahi.

Waru (post-production funding)
Following the death of a young child, eight Māori women are confronted by guilt, pride and defeat but will ultimately risk everything for the greater good of their community. Waru is written and directed by Katie Wolfe, Ainsley Gardiner, Paula Jones, Briar Grace-Smith, Chelsea Cohen, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi and Awanui Simich-Pene with Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu writing, and produced by Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton. Waru was made with funding from NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.


Seven Fresh Shorts Funded

Seven Fresh Shorts were funded in the November Fresh Shorts round, three at the $10,000 level, and four at the $30,000 level.

The three Fresh 10s are Memory Foam from writer/director Paloma Schneidman and producer Elspeth Grant, Behold! The Ghost from writer/director Jesse Taylor Smith and producer David Goldthorpe, and Democracy from writer/directro Finnius Teppett and producer Bevin Linkhorn.

The four Fresh 30s are Ways to See from writer/director Jessica Sanderson and producers Desray Armstrong and Tweedie Waititi, Chalk from writer/director Matasila Freshwater and producer Thomas Coppell, Cuckoo from writer Kristi Barnett, director Matt Holmes and producer Sam McCauley and Arrow from writer Jodie Hillock, director Yamin Tun and producers Monica Mu and Hamish Mortland.

You can read more about the funded Fresh Shorts here.


The A - Z of Producing

Twelve producers participated in the inaugural session of the A - Z of Producing course developed by the NZFC, in conjunction with the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and facilitated by Australian producer Sue Maslin.

Over five three-day workshops, the comprehensive, multi-stage course is designed to teach participants what they need to know to produce a feature film, and enable them to build a production slate ready to take to market.

The 12 producers selected for the inaugural course are Alex Clark, Alex Reed, Alix Whittaker, Caroline Hutchison, Hamish Mortland, Hineani Melbourne, Kate Prior, Kerry Warkia, Luke Sharpe, Matt McPhail, Orlando Stewart and Tui Ruwhiu.



New NZ-Canada Co-production Agreement

The updated co-production agreement between New Zealand and Canada which was signed at the Toronto International Film Festival last year comes into force on 1 May 2017.

The agreement has some innovative features which differentiates it from our existing treaties.

If you are interested in utilising the new agreement for either a film or television project and need further information please email us.


Festival and Awards News

Three New Zealand films will screen at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival. Slavko Martinov’s Pecking Order and Florian Habicht’s Spookers will each have their world premieres at the festival, while Annie Goldson’s Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web has its second North American outing after its world premiere at SXSW in March.

Pork Pie opened the Gold Coast Film Festival in April. New Zealand-India co-production, Beyond the Known World also screened in the festival.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople has added another gong to its basket of awards after winning the Children's Film Competition at the BUFF Film Festival in Malmo, Sweden.

Gary of the Pacific had its international premiere in the Hawaii International Film Festival’s Spring Showcase. It was the only New Zealand film included in the 36-film programme which focuses primarily on films from the Asia-Pacific region.

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Upgraded Seed Grants Scheme for Screenwriters

There have been some changes to the Seed Grants administered by the New Zealand Writers' Guild. Seed Advanced has been introduced with the aim of reducing competition between emerging and more experienced writers.

The new grants acknowledge experienced writers by offering a higher grant level and flexibility around development costs.

You can read more about Seed Grants here.


New Zealand Releases

Beyond the Known World opened in New Zealand on 20 April.

When 19 year old Eva fails to return to New Zealand from India, her estranged parents, Carl and Julie, must reunite to find her. Their journey takes them from coastal Auckland, to the chaos of New Delhi, and on to idyllic Himalayan villages, where hash-smoking ex-pats are tight-lipped and local police offer little help.

Carl despairs, but Julie’s refusal to stop searching eventually proves that sometimes blind faith is better than having none at all, and that to find their daughter these two people must first rediscover each other.

Written by Dianne Taylor, directed by Pan Nalin and produced by Matthew Horrocks, Kristian Eek and Gaurav Dhingra, Beyond the Known World stars David Wenham, Sia Trokenheim and Chelsie Preston Crayford. The film is being released by Curious and you can view the trailer here.

The film has been generating good reviews, including this one in the Sunday Star Times.

Meat is opening in New Zealand cinemas on 4 May.

Meat is the modern story of the animals we eat, as told by the people who never get to say their piece – from the solitary hunter who believes everyone needs to be educated about their food, to an industrial pig farmer who argues that money isn’t his primary driver.

Meat is a revealing and thought-provoking documentary that doesn't tell you what to think – but shines a new light on the people, the land and everything that lies behind the supermarket shelves.

Written, directed and produced by David White, Meat is being released by Caramel Canine Films and you can watch the trailer here.

Pecking Order releases in New Zealand on 18 May.

Fierce rivalries, club infighting, problematic birds and irregular judging are just some of the challenges faced by a group of zealous Kiwi chicken breeders hell bent on victory at the 2015 National Poultry Show.

This feel-good, feather-ruffling flockumentary follows a group of witty and distinctive poultry obsessives trying to peak at Nationals as their 148-year old club crumbles around them.

Written and directed by Slavko Martinov, produced by Mike Kelland, David Brechin-Smith and Martinov, Pecking Order is being released by Vendetta Films on 18 May.  You can see the trailer here.

Still screening is One Thousand Ropes which opened on 23 March.  

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Ghost in the Shell

Paramount Pictures' and DreamWorks Pictures' feature film Ghost in the Shell, with which the NZFC has a marketing partnership through the New Zealand Screen Production Grant, was released worldwide on 31 March.

The feature film was shot in Wellington in 2016, at Stone Street Studios, Avalon and on location on Victoria Street in urban Wellington.  In the lead-up to the film’s release the NZFC leveraged media and the premiere to strengthen the perception of New Zealand as a world-class film production destination.

A visual media piece voiced by producer, Ari Arad was released which showcases the urban transformation of Wellington into Hong Kong, while international media at the media junket were provided with a series of fact sheets including profiles on Weta Workshop’s involvement and the influence of New Zealand fashion designers on the costume design.

Back in New Zealand an iconic set piece from the film, the Red Robe Geisha, was unveiled on Breakfast TV at the Weta Cave. The set piece will remain on display as a free-of charge-visitor experience.

You will find more information on Ghost in the Shell filming in New Zealand, including video clips here.

You can read more about Wellington's urban transformation here, and about the Weta Workshop designed Red Robe Geisha here.

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New Auckland Studio and Water Tanks

West Auckland has a new studio, thanks, in part, to the new Zealand Screen Production Grant's 5% Uplift.  The studio in Kumeu was developed for the filming of director Jon Turteltaub’s MEG.

While privately owned, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) will initially operate the complex where the owner will construct a purpose-built soundstage at the site.  When this opens in 2018, Kumeu Film Studios will double Auckland's studio infrastructure.

The studios are a significant asset for marketing Auckland and New Zealand internationally as a screen production destination.

You can read more about the new studio and its facilities here.


International News

China's Premier Li visited Wellington and Auckland in late March.  A dozen key New Zealand screen sector personnel attended a lunch with Premier Li and a large accompanying delegation.

The New Zealand Consulate-General in Shanghai, Enterprise Dunedin and the Shanghai Art Film Federation (SAFF) partnered on the inaugural China Film Festival in Dunedin 31 March - 2 April.  This was a reciprocal event, following the 2016 New Zealand Film Festival held in Shanghai. The NZFC supported the festival's industry networking activities.

A special screening of Pork Pie was held in Los Angeles on 5 April for an audience of invited guests including US producers and studio personnel, international distributors and LA-based New Zealanders working in the screen industry.

The NZFC had a booth again at the AFCI Global Locations Show in Los Angeles, April 6-8.  NZFC staff attended the event along with regional film offices, to promote New Zealand's screen industry, discuss changes to NZSPG criteria and participate on panels at the associated finance conference. Some of the team also attended the annual awards evening for the Location Managers' Guild International.

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To John Gilbert on his Best Editor wins at both the Oscar and BAFTA Awards. Gilbert received both awards for his work on the Mel Gibson-directed WWII drama, Hacksaw Ridge.

To Weta Digital's Dan Lemmon, Robert Legato, Adam Valdez and Andrew R. Jones on their Best Visual Effects Oscar and BAFTA wins for The Jungle Book.

To Taika Waititi on being named New Zealander of the Year in February. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople director was awarded in recognition of his role in taking New Zealand cinema to the world.

To UK-based New Zealand producer Jacob Thomas on having his film, Perfect Ten greenlit for production by Creative England’s low-budget filmmaking initiative iFeatures. Written and directed by Eva Riley, Perfect Ten is a Brighton-based story about a teenage gymnast who finds an escape from her insecurities when her long-lost brother introduces her to an exciting world of scooter crime.

To independent film, Chronesthesia (written and directed by Hayden J. Weal and produced by Kelly Kilgour and Steve Barr), on its acquisition by WPE for international sales, and Madman for New Zealand/Australian distribution for a release on home entertainment in June.

To The Greasy Strangler on its latest awards.  The Ant Timpson-produced film picked up an Empire Award for Best Comedy and American Independent Film Awards for Costume Design and Hair and Make-Up.

To producer Arani Cuthbert and director Justin Pemberton on Who Killed Hilda? being one of ten projects selected for the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) pitching forum, The FACTory, which was held in March.

To Sarah Grohnert and Alexander Behse for their film, Ever the Land, being awarded the Archaeology and Material Culture Film Prize at the RAI Film Festival 2017. This award has been offered by the Film Festival Committee since 1990 and is for the best film about the social use and cultural significance of material objects, be it at the present time or any previous period in human history.

To Pietra Brettkelly on winning the Festival Cinema du Monde de Sherbrooke's Le Cercle d'Or for Best Documentary for A Flickering Truth.

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Screen Industry Survey 2015/16

On 12 April, Statistics New Zealand released the results of its annual Screen Industry Survey and the news for the industry is good.

Highlights include:

 - New Zealand's total screen industry revenue increasing by 3% to $3.3 billion with film production more than doubling to over $1 billion.

 - Export revenue increasing by 32% to $678 million.

 - Earning for screen sector jobs continuing to rise and the median wage per job increasing by 17%.

You can read more about the survey here.


Future Realities

Acclaimed novelist and Magic Leap Chief Futurist Neal Stephenson will give the keynote speech at Future Realities, a future-focused event that will dive into transformative technology and content trends with a focus on the internet of things and augmented reality.

Alongside Neal Stephenson (being brought to New Zealand as part of the NZFC’s GPS2026 Project), other speakers include Mark Billinghurst and Sam Witters.

Along with speakers and workshops the programme includes immersive technology demonstrations. This is an opportunity to play with a Hololens, enter a new world with an HTC Vive and understand how storytelling can be leveraged to a sector's advantage.

The events will be at Wellingon's Shed 6 on 10 May, and at Auckland's GridAKL on 11 and 12 May.

Early bird tickets are on sale for Auckland and Wellington now and start at $99. Be quick as space is limited.


Women's Horror Short Film Grant Update

Due to the overwhelming response to our Women’s Horror Short Film Grant call, we are still assessing applications.

Shortlisted applicants will now be notified at the latest by early May, with a final decision expected to be made by end of May 2017. If there are any queries, please contact the Talent Development Team.


The Ramai Hayward Wahine Māori Directors' Scholarship

The deadline for the The Ramai Hayward Wahine Māori Directors' Scholarship is 9am, Friday 28 April.

The aim of this scholarship is to support wahine Māori first time feature film directors to progress their projects to a market-ready state, and assist with securing a producer and production finance in the future.

The scholarship is a total of up to $50,000 to be provided as a grant for wahine Māori first time feature film directors. This scholarship may be shared by more than one recipient

Documentary treatments for feature documentaries will be accepted as well as feature film scripts as part of any application.

If you have any questions about the scholarship or how to apply, please email the Talent Development Team.


New Name for NZ Film and Video Technicians Guild

On 6 March the NZ Film and Video Technicians' Guild announced its name change to the Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand Inc.

The new name was voted for by Guild members following an eight-month consultation processs and received 89.3% of the votes cast.

A full article about the name change process and its history will feature in the next issue of NZ TECHO.



ScreenSafe has completed the first four of five sections in the New Zealand screen sector health and safety guidelines available online free along with a selection of new templates.

ScreenSafe has been progressively developing the new guidelines to replace the old industry Code of Practice, with information and updated recommendations for best-practice under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, which came into effect in April 2016.

The guidelines are in five sections offering an easy-access resource outlining legal and moral responsibilities and procedures for identifying and understanding potential health and safety risks. They have been developed with expert input from law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts.

More information is available at the ScreenSafe website.


Cannes 2017

If you are attending the Cannes Film Festival this year and have not yet let us know, please email marketing and Festival Coordinator, Lesa Macleod-Whiting.

We also encourage you to join  Kiwis in Cannes 2017 - NZFC Group on Facebook.


Staff News

We've had the pleasure of welcoming three new staff members since our last newsletter.

Raymond Suen has joined the International team in the role of Asia Outreach Executive. In this role he connects with filmmakers and stories from New Zealand’s Asian communities, to raise awareness of the NZFC and New Zealand screen sector, and avenues for project and career development.

Nick Garrett has joined the Marketing team in the new part-time role of Community Manager.  Nick is responsible for increasing NZFC’s engagement with, and connection to filmmakers, particularly millennials, Māori, Asian and Pasifika, online via social media and offline via events, workshops and good old-fashioned face to face interaction. Nick’s main goal is to strengthen the overall feeling of community among filmmakers, ensuring the NZFC is approachable and receptive to all filmmakers.

Hayley Hewer joins us as Front of House Co-ordinator so is likely to be the first person you come into contact with when you visit or phone us. She fields enquiries, ensures they are directed to the appropriate member of staff and keeps the NZFC offices running smoothly.

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

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