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International newsletter

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


June 2015


Shanghai International Film Festival

Slow West  and The Dark Horse recently screened in the  Panorama Section of the 18th Shangahi International Film Festival. 

New Zealand had a presence at the film festival and market, building on the recent success at the Beijing Film Market and December 2014 delegation to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. Twelve New Zealand producers and industry – including representatives from Field Theory, Pukeko Pictures, Gibson Group and POW! Post – attended the market and festival with NZFC representatives CEO Dave Gibson, Head of Marketing Jasmin McSweeney and Head of International Relations Chris Payne .

As with our presence in Beijing, in addition to supporting New Zealand films screening in the festival, we also held a booth in SIFFMART (Shanghai’s film market) and Dave spoke on a panel as part of SIFFORUM, the market’s conference section. We hosted a networking cocktail function on 15 June at New Zealand Central. In partnership with the Consulate-General and NZTE, the event targeted key NZ-focused Chinese producers/production companies, government officials, financiers, filmmakers and other key players.

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Cannes Film Festival

Dave Gibson, Chris Payne, Jasmin McSweeney and Film Festival Co-ordinator Tim Hope attended the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival. Approximately forty New Zealanders attended with the NZFC.

Six New Zealand films were represented in Cannes by sales agents. Two of these films, Deathgasm and Hip Hoperation had market screenings. MPI confirmed sales for Deathgasm to Germany (Tiberius), UK (StudioCanal) and Aus/NZ (Madman) and are considering offers for Scandinavia, Benelux and Taiwan.
Turbo Kid sales agents, Epic Pictures reported sales to Lionsgate for the UK, Germany (Ledick), France (109 Films), Scandinavia (Non-Stop Entertainment), Middle East (Eagle Films) and Latin America (SWEN Group). They are considering offers for Japan, Russia and Australia.

This year the NZFC hosted two evening events – Kiwi Welcome Drinks on Wednesday 13 May and Midway Drinks on Sunday 17 May. On Wednesday, 20 May twenty-five sales agents attended the NZFC hosted Kia Ora Lunch and met with a similar number of New Zealand producers.


Feature Film Production Investment

Conditional offers for four feature films were made at our last board meeting, bringing the total number of feature films invested in during the financial year to sixteen, the largest number of feature films we've ever supported in a single twelve month period.

One Thousand Ropes 
In Tusi Tamaese's follow-up to The Orator a traditional Samoan midwife's ordered existence is thrown off balance by the arrival of his bruised daughter seeking his protection. Produced by Catherine Fitzgerald, the Australasian distributor is Transmission and International sales agent is Mongrel Media.

Pork Pie
This remake of the kiwi classic, Goodbye Pork Pie is written and will be directed by Matt Murphy, produced by Tom Hern and executive produced by Tim White. Studio Canal are set to distribute the film in Australasia.

Chief Gary
A comedy from Auckland film makers thedownlowconcept about the last chief of a sinking island in the Pacific. Fiona Copland is producing.

The End Game
A feature length documentary being directed by Michelle Walshe and Justin Pemberton with Cass Avery as producer. Tim White  is the executive producer with Australasian distribution by Transmission.

For all funding decisions, click here.

Images from top: Tusi Tamasese, Matt Murphy, Fiona Copland, Cass Avery

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Awards News

The Dark Horse recently won the prize for Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Lead actor Cliff Curtis also picked up the Best Actor gong at the event which, with 450 films from 92 countries, is the largest and most well-attended film festival in North America.

After cinematic releases in Australasia, Europe and Britian, not to mention a slew of awards from international film festivals, The Dark Horse is now gearing up for next month’s general release in the United States market.

Before then it will screen at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it is among 13 films in the “buzz” category which features LA premieres of celebrated favourites from around the world.

Turbo Kid continues its winning streak with two awards at Fantaspoa in Brazil, taking home laurels for Best Art Direction and Best Feature / Audience Award.


Festival News

Deathgasm recently screened at the Sydney International Film Festival to two sold out houses. The film was also named one of the 'best of the fest' in Empire magazine.

Written and directed by Jason Lei Howden, Deathgasm is about two teenage heavy metal fans who unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity when they delve into black magic as a way to escape their mundane lives. The film was produced by Andrew Beattie, Sarah Howden and Morgan Leigh Stewart, and executive produced by Ant Timpson.

Turbo Kid also screened to capacity audiences at the Sydney International Film Festival, receiving rave reviews from Australian critics and was listed in the top five most anticipated films of the year by Fox Force Five News.

Both films have enjoyed significant festival success at genre festivals across the globe, including Neuchâtel International Film Festival, Fantastic Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Fantasia International Film Festival and Brazil's Fantaspoa Film Festival.

The Ground We Won will screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival. This black and white documentary about a small town rugby club was directed by Chris Pryor and produced by Miriam Smith who are also acting as the film's distributors in New Zealand where the film is still performing strongly at the box office after six weeks.

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Turbo Kid Secures International Release

Epic Pictures Group has announced a 28 August US release for Turbo Kid, the “retro-futuristic” pic that won the Midnightrers Audience Award at Sundance in January.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Turbo Kid is a BMX-powered, blood-splattered love story that follows the epic journey of an orphaned outcast reluctant to be a hero in the wasteland of an alternate future. Written and directed by Canada’s Anouk Whissell, Francois Simard and Yoann-Karl Whissell, and produced by Ant Timpson and Tim Riley for New Zealand and Benoit Beaulieu and Anne-Marie Gélinas for Canada, Turbo Kid stars Munro Chambers, Laurence Laboeuf, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery and Edwin Wright.


In Production

Taika Waititi’s new film, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, wrapped on Friday 19th June..

Madman Entertainment has acquired all rights to the film for Australia and New Zealand and will release in New Zealand in partnership with the producers, while Protagonist Pictures has taken on international sales rights.

Waititi, (What We Do In the Shadows, Eagle Vs Shark, Boy) wrote the script, based on Barry Crump’s book, Wild Pork and Watercress. He is also producing alongside Carthew Neal, Leanne Saunders and Matt Noonan. The film is a Defender Films, Piki Films and Curious production.

It is being produced with investment from the New Zealand Film Commission, Curious, James Wallace Productions Ltd and with the assistance of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Grant.

6 Days, an action thriller directed by Toa Fraser (The Dead Lands, Dean Spanley) and produced by Matthew Metcalfe (The Dead Lands, Beyond The Edge, Dean Spanley) started principal photography in Auckland on 11 June. An official New Zealand/UK co-production, the New Zealand shoot will finish late July, with shooting to continue in August in London.

Starring Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four, Jumper, HBO’s Turn), Mark Strong (The Imitation Game, Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Abbie Cornish (Bright Star, Limitless), 6 Days is based on the actual events of April 1980 when six armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy at London’s Princes Gate, taking 26 people hostage. 

Icon Film Distribution has acquired UK rights and WME is co-repping North America with XYZ. Transmission Films have picked up local duties for Australia and New Zealand.

Executive producers are Gavin Poolman and Andrea Scarso representing Ingenious Senior Film Fund, Ian Dawson and Norman Humphrey of Icon and Nate Bolotin and Aram Tertzakian for XYZ Films. Lip Sync Productions’ Norman Merry is co-producer and writer Glenn Standring also takes on EP duties.

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International Productions in NZ

Ash vs. Evil Dead
Filming on the 10-episode series Ash vs. Evil Dead continues in Auckland. New Zealand’s Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) is co-starring with Bruce Campbell, reprising his role as Ash from the original Evil Dead films.

A Starz production, Sam Raimi will direct the pilot which he co-wrote with his brother Ivan Raimi (Darkman, Army of Darkness, Drag Me to Hell) and Tom Spezialy (Chuck, Reaper, Desperate Housewives). Craig DiGregorio (Chuck) is executive producer and writing showrunner along with Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell.

A US fantasy television series based on books by top-selling American author Terry Brooks continues shooting in West Auckland. Production is based at Auckland Film Studios in Henderson. The production is backed by MTV Networks and Sonar Entertainment.

Starring Poppy Drayton, Austin Butler, Ivana Baquero, Daniel MacPherson, Manu Bennett and John Rhys-Davies, the first two episodes will be directed by Jonathan Liebesman.

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Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market (Mifa)

Congratulations to Alyx Duncan, whose short film, The Tide Keeper screened In Competition at this year’s Annecy festival (15-20 June).

Animation Supervisor, Eric Reynolds also represented New Zealand, with his presentation ‘Weta Digital: Creating Worlds’, providing a glimpse into the world-leading Wellington-based company and its ground-breaking work.

Tim Hope (Film Festival Coordinator) attended for the NZFC .


NZ Film on Demand now Available in UK & Australia

We are excited to have recently expanded our online streaming service NZ Film on Demand to include the UK and Australia.

There are currently 23 feature films available on the platform in Australia, and 18 in the UK, with more to be added as they become available. A selection of short films is also available in both territories. Customers are able to pay in their local currency to buy or rent films.

The UK launch coincided with the Australia-New Zealand Film Festival which screened newly digitised versions of Once Were Warriors, Boy and Goodbye Pork Pie. Also screened in the festival were The Dead Lands and The Dark Horse.

Please visit NZ Film On Demand here.


Work For Us - Development Executive

We are currently seeking applications for a Development Executive to join our Production and Development team. 

Applications close at 9am Monday 29 June 2015.

Full details can be found on our website.


We Want Your Feedback

If you have had any engagement with us during the last 12 months we would like to hear about it. In the next week you may receive an email link to a survey. We value your opinion and we would appreciate you taking the time to complete it.


Conflicts of Interest Policy

We have recently updated our Conflicts of Interest policy. You can find it on our website here



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

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New Zealand Film Commission