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Thursday, 18 October 2018


Production Funding Decisions

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

LEGEND - Te Tautōhito i te Moana
Feature Doco

For 600 years the world's greatest navigators lay dormant. Today that knowledge has been reclaimed and Māori are once again sailing the pathways of their ancestors. This is the story of the man that launched that Renaissance. Written by Aileen O'Sullivan and Toby Mills, directed by Mills and produced by O'Sullivan and Mills.


In Cinemas

She Shears
She Shears follows five female sheep shearers in the gruelling world of competitive sheep shearing. She Shears is the story of passion, purpose and determination and five women for whom shearing is not just a job.

Directed by Jack Nicol and produced by Ainsley Gardiner and Georgina Conder, She Shears was released in New Zealand on 11 October by Rialto Distribution.  You can view the trailer here.

Maui's Hook
Maui’s Hook blends documentary and drama in following Tama, a young man fuelled by drugs, alcohol and violence, who spirals into anger and despair. As Tama travels the destructive road of no return, he becomes intertwined with five courageous families, each broken by the suicide of a loved one, each in search of healing and forgiveness.

Directed by Paora Joseph, written by Lani-rain Feltham and produced by Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble, Maui's Hook is currently in release in New Zealand cinemas and on demand community screenings (book one here). You can view the trailer here.

Born Racer: The Scott Dixon Story
Born Racer is a stunning, cinematic documentary that takes viewers deep inside the world of INDYCAR with unprecedented access to New Zealand born five-time INDYCAR series champion Scott Dixon, his family, and his team at Chip Ganassi Racing.

Directed by Bryn Evans and produced by Matthew Metcalfe, Fraser Brown and Leela Menon, Born Racer will be released in New Zealand on 25 October by Rialto Distribution.  You can view the trailer here.

Yellow is Forbidden
Yellow is Forbidden is a modern-day Cinderella story, where the diminutive and daring Guo Pei’s dream of being selected into the exclusive yet savage world of haute couture doesn’t end at the ball. The film weaves global power dynamics and the opposition between art and commerce with a hankering for oppressive imperial grandeur.

Directed by Pietra Brettkelly and produced by Brettkelly, Richard Fletcher and Naomi Wallwork, Yellow is Forbidden will be released in New Zealand by Madman Entertainment on 1 November.  You can view the trailer here.

Vermilion tells the story of a group of women who are close to each other – mothers, daughters, friends and neighbours. Some of their relationships are good and some are broken. The events of one summer month change their lives forever.

Written and directed by Dorthe Scheffmann and produced by Michele Fantl, Nik Beachman and Paul Scantlebury, Vermilion will be released in New Zealand cinemas by Rialto Distribution on 8 November. You can view the trailer here.

Independent feature,Stray, written and directed by Dustin Feneley and produced by Desray Armstrong was released in New Zealand by Limelight Distribution on 4 October and is still screening in select cinemas. You can view the trailer here.

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Hawaii International Film Festival

She Shears and Maui’s Hook will have their international premieres at the 38th Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) in November.

Maui’s Hook director Paora Joseph has also been nominated for HIFF’s inaugural Kau Ka Hōkū Award (Emerging Filmmaker Award).  The other nominees include new filmmakers from Japan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Vietnam, China and the USA. In addition, Heperi Mita, director of Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, will be awarded the 2018 Pacific Islanders in Communication Trailblazer Award. Last year’s winner of this award was Taika Waititi.

You can read more about the HIFF and the selected films here.

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Yellow is Forbidden Submitted to Oscars

Pietra Brettkelly’s Yellow is Forbidden is New Zealand’s submission for the Foreign Language Film and Documentary Feature categories of the 91st Academy Awards.

Each year the Academy invites countries to select and submit their best foreign language film for consideration. Selection of the New Zealand film is made by a committee of experienced film industry representatives, chaired by New Zealand Film Commission CEO, Annabelle Sheehan.

Yellow is Forbidden had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival where it was the first New Zealand film ever to screen In Competition.  It is distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment and will open at selected New Zealand cinemas on 1 November after successful screenings at the 2018 New Zealand International Film Festival.  International sales are by The Film Sales Company.

You can read more about Yellow is Forbidden and the Oscars here.


Festival News and Release News

Maui's Hook will be presented as part of the World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference in Perth and the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference in Sydney, both events encouraging important kaupapa and wider indigenous discussions.

The inaugural Rotorua Indigenous Film Festival runs November 1 through November 3, with the program including a screening of Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen followed by a Q&A session with director Heperi Mita. Maui's Hook will also screen in the festival with an introduction from producer Karen Waaka-Tibble.  The festival will close with a screening of The Breaker Upperers.

NZFC Head of Marketing, Jasmin McSweeney, will be in Rotorua to speak on a panel called Accessing Markets.

Pietra Brettkelly’sYellow is Forbidden screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the film's subject, fashion designer Guo Pei, was in attendance.

The Breaker Upperers screened at the BFI London Film Festival.  Writer-director-actor Madeleine Sami and actor Ana Scotney attended the festival and took part in Network@LFF, BFI Network’s flagship professional development programme which takes place annually at the BFI London Film Festival.

Waru is screening this month at the New Orleans Film Festival and the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film in Singapore. Next month, the film will screen in the Aussie & Kiwi Film Festival in Prague, the Dharamshala International Film Festival in India and at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) Melbourne, as part of the FEM&IST Film Festival.


  • Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival – Early bird deadline October 26
  • Aspen Shortsfest – Early bird deadline Ocobert 29
  • Berlin Film Festival – Features deadline October 31, Shorts deadline Nov 15
  • Hot Docs Film Festival – Early bird features and shorts deadline November 14
  • TriBeCa Film Festival – Features and shorts deadline October 31
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Short Film News

Congratulations to the teams of short filmmakers who have been invited to international festivals and won prizes in the last few months.

Fresh 10 Shadow Cut was invited to screen at Toronto International Film Festival 2018, a great outcome for writer/director Lucy Seuss and her producer Johnny Lyon. TIFF programmers described it as “stunning”. 

Amberly Aumua is attending BFI London Film Festival with her short film Waiting.  BFI London has only recently opened its short film programme to international films.

The winners at this year's Show Me Shorts Film Festival were announced on 6 October.  Congratulations to:

  • Ian McCarroll, Panavision Best Cinematographer for The Brother
  • Villa Junior Lemanu, Toi Whakaari Best Actor for My Friend Michael Jones
  • Eldon Booth, Ian Leaupepe and Samson Rambo, Final Draft Best Screenplay for My Friend Michael Jones
  • Alexander Gandar and Kate Moses, NZ on Air Best Music Video for Laugh it Off - Chelsea Jade
  • Betsy Bauer, DEGNZ Best Editor for Cleaver
  • Summer Agnew, DEGNZ Best Director for The Brother
  • Sorcha Bacon & Harry Lighton, SAE Best International Film for Wren Boys - UK
  • Alex Lovell, Eldon Booth, Ian Leaupepe and Samson Rambo, Department of Post Best NZ Film for My Friend Michael Jones
  • Simeon Duncombe, NZFC Special Jury Prize  for production design of Toilet.

You can read more about the Show Me Shorts awards here.

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NZFC Pou Whakahaere, Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble and Talent Development Manager, Paul Fagamalo have travelled to Toronto to support the eleven New Zealand filmmakers whose films are screening in the ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival.

Four of the films to screen in the festival were funded through the NZFC's Fresh Shorts, and four were created as part of the Māoriland Film Festival's NATIVE Slam initiative.

imagineNATIVE is the world's largest presenter of indigenous screen content. The organisation is recognised locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for indigenous media arts.

You will find the list of New Zealand films screening in the festival here.



Head of Development and Production, Leanne Saunders and Head of Marketing, Jasmin McSweeney will be attending the American Film Market (AFM) where they will meet with sales agents, distributors and filmmakers.

AFM is the world’s largest motion picture business event. Over 7,000 industry leaders converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, conferences, networking and parties. Participants come from more than 80 countries and include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry.



Strategic Training Fund Opens

The Strategic Training Fund is now open for proposals.

The Strategic Training Fund involves the NZFC developing strategic partnerships with organisations to deliver industry training and development programmes aimed at new, emerging, mid-career and established talent. We are looking for programmes and initiatives that are holistic, developmental and progressive in their approach. This strategic fund will enable the NZFC to better support needs based training and skills development.

The NZFC now invites proposals from industry guilds and organisations to apply with proposals for a two-year period.

The deadline for applications is Monday 12 November at 9am.

For information on the online application process, please visit our website.


Mulan Actors to Share Craft and Career Tips with Local Pan-Asian Actors

The just-launched Pan-Asian Screen Collective (PASC) is hosting two workshops to support emerging Pan-Asians in the screen industry.

Show Me The Money runs on Sunday, 28 October, the day after the Big Screen Symposium in Auckland. The workshop brings participants face to face with representatives from the main public funders from New Zealand on Air, the NZFC and TVNZ. The interactive workshop will give tips and share case studies on how to write successful development and production funding proposals.

It Chooses You — On Being a Pan-Asian Actor is a workshop on how to build a career in screen acting, showcasing members of the cast of Disney’s live action Mulan. For local Pan-Asian actors it’s the chance to learn from those who have forged successful careers in Hollywood and internationally. This workshop is on 4 November in Auckland.

PASC executive member Shuchi Kothari says,”We owe the cast members from Mulan who have offered their time a huge thanks. This is a unique opportunity for local actors to hear and learn from peers who have succeeded in building careers in the international film industry.”

Show Me The Money, Sunday 28 October, free to PASC members, $20 to non-members

It Chooses You  On Being a Pan-Asian Actor, Sunday 4 November, free to PASC members, $20 to non-members.

Places limited with entry via registration. For queries, email pasc@gmail.com.


Big Screen Symposium 2018

The Big Screen Symposium, in its 7th year, once again presents an inspiring and accomplished line-up of speakers to the New Zealand film and television community.

This year’s programme is crafted around the theme Tuning into the Zeitgeist and explores how the characteristics of our age and the politics of now manifest in our imaginations, and how that impacts the stories we tell and how they connect with audiences.

You can discover the full line-up of speakers and events here.


New to NZ Film On Demand

New films added to NZ Film On Demand include Love Story, The Man in the Hat, The HeART of the Matter, Ans Westera: Private Journeys Public Signposts and Te Hono ki Aotearoa.

There are over 150 feature and short films available to stream at NZ Film On Demand.


Script to Screen Executive Director Position

Esther Cahill-Chiaroni has been in the role of Executive Director for the past eight years and Script to Screen are looking for someone who can continue the work she has done to shape Script to Screen into an organisation with a pivotal role in New Zealand in the development and enhancement of the creative craft of storytelling for the screen.

Leadership, creative planning and programme design, and industry relationships are key strengths needed for the role. Innovative thinking and an ability to encapsulate the values and principles with which Script to Screen work are also invaluable.

Applications close 22 October.

The successful applicant will be announced in November and the start date for the role will be late January 2019.

You will find details on the application process and a full job description here.


Work For Us

We are currently recruiting two roles: Front of House Coordinator and Development Executive.

Front of House Coordinator

Front of House is at the heart of the NZFC..

The Front of House Coordinator (FOH) is equal parts maître d' extraordinaire and office admin superstar, providing a professional, welcoming reception and hosting service and supporting the smooth running of the NZFC offices.

This role includes front of house reception/event hosting duties, administrative and accounts support, travel management, office and premises maintenance oversight.  As the first port of call for external enquiries this position is also integral for ensuring clear communication across the organisation.

Applications close 23 October.

You will find more about the role and how to apply here.

Development Executive

We are looking for a creative screen executive who is excited about the future of feature and long form storytelling.

The Development Executive plays a key role in supporting the development and production of long form screen content in New Zealand through providing script and project assessment, writing reports and managing communication to writers and producers. The role also involves advising screen practitioners on development guidelines and policy, and best pathways for the successful development of their projects. The role will require regular domestic and some international travel.

Applications close 29 October.

You will find more about the role and how to apply here.


Staff News

Ally Cribb has joined us as Executive Assistant to the CEO. Ally descends from Ngāti Hako and Ngāti Kuia, and is a proud Wellingtonian. She provides executive support to the Chief Executive and the NZFC Board.  Ally has over 20 years experience working in a variety of industries in both New Zealand and Scotland.  She is inspired by creativity and artistry, particularly within the film industry.

Molly Littlejohn has joined us as Marketing Assistant. Her role is to assist Head of Marketing, Jasmin McSweeney and the rest of the Marketing team. She graduated from Wellington’s Victoria University with a Bachelor’s degree in Film & Theatre. She has previously worked at Pukeko Pictures as a script assistant and educational advisor, and Disney Chanel AU/NZ as a presenter and content producer. With a love of entertainment Molly also emcees and manages trivia, karaoke and bingo nights around Wellington.

Lloyd Meiklejohn will join us as Investment Executive, working in the Development and Production team headed by Leanne Saunders, from Tuesday 23 October.  You can read more about Lloyd and his extensive deal making and investment experience 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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