Having trouble reading this email? View it on your browser.



Tuesday, 30 August 2016


August 2016


Gaylene Preston Directors' Award Recipients Announced

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Gaylene Preston Directors’ Award.

Armagan Ballantyne, Alyx Duncan and Gillian Ashurst will each receive $25,000 to further their commitment to feature filmmaking.

Thirty applications were received for the award which was targeted at female directors who have made one feature film or have equivalent experience in TV, web series, documentary or drama.

As well as submitting a CV, show reel, reference from an industry peer and one-page statement about how they would use the award, the applicants were invited to a day-long workshop in July. The majority of applicants attended the workshop which gave filmmakers the opportunity to discuss together, and with Gaylene, their experiences and frustrations in the film industry.

“I was really keen that the application process be valuable to all involved, and the workshop enhanced this for me.  A peer group have identified each other and hopefully this was of creative value to all the directors involved,” says Preston.  “It was a great way for the NZFC to seriously engage with this group and the workshop kicked off the whole thing very positively.

The recipients of the award were decided by Preston, with input from fellow director, Alison Maclean. “I think you will agree that all these women have already demonstrated strong individual voices in dramatic feature filmmaking with first features that have put them on the international festival radar as ones to watch,” says Preston.

You can read more about the Gaylene Preston Directors' Award and the recipients here.


TV Adaptation for The Luminaries

A TV series adapted from Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries will begin filming in 2017 in a variety of New Zealand locations across the North and South islands. Catton is writing the scripts for the six hour-long episodes to be produced by Working Title Television (an NBCUniversal International Studios company) for BBC Two.

The production will be crewed predominantly with New Zealanders. It is anticipated the production will apply for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).


Toronto International Film Festival

The Patriarch/Mahana and The Rehearsal will have their North American premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival (TiFF).  Both films will screen in the festival's Contemporary World Cinema section.

 The Patriarch/Mahana, directed by Lee Tamahori, written by John Collee and produced by Robin Scholes, is based on Witi Ihimaera’s novel Bulibasha. Set in rural New Zealand in the 1960s, the film tells the story of two families of sheep-shearers, the Mahanas and the Poatas. The families are sworn enemies and 14-year-old Simeon, growing up in the shadow of his powerful grandfather, Tamihana Mahana, wants to know why.  As Simeon unravels the truth behind the longstanding family vendetta, he risks not only his own future, but the cohesion of the entire tight-knit society.

The Patriarch/Mahana had its world premiere out of competition at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.  It was released in New Zealand cinemas in March and took over $1.2 million at the box office.

The Rehearsal is directed by Alison Maclean, produced by Bridget Ikin and Trevor Haysom and adapted from the novel by Man Booker prize-winner Eleanor Catton. The script was written by Maclean with award-winning writer Emily Perkins.

Starring James Rolleston, Kerry Fox, Ella Edward, Alice Englert, Kieran Charnock and Marlon Williams, The Rehearsal tells the story of Stanley, a naïve 1st year drama student who seeks to impress his charismatic tutor, Hannah. When Stanley’s group hits on a sex scandal involving his young girlfriend, Isolde as the inspiration for their end-of-year show, Stanley finds himself in morally tricky territory.

TiFF runs 8-18 September.

The Rehearsal will follow its North American premiere in Toronto with its US premiere in the New York Film Festival's Main Slate section.  The film's world premiere was at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July.

The Rehearsal releases in New Zealand on 15 September.

Alt Alt  

Pete's Dragon Premieres

The Hollywood premiere of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon on 8 August provided an opportunity to showcase New Zealand as the ultimate film destination.

The reimagining of the Disney classic was filmed entirely in
New Zealand, with all visual effects work carried out by WETA Digital in Wellington. 78% of the cast and crew on the film were also New Zealanders.

New Zealand premieres were held in Wellington, Rotorua and Tapanui (which was transformed into Pacifc Northwestern town, Millhaven for the film) on 12 and 13 August.  Demand for tickets in Tapanui was so high, all the available tickets were snapped up in less than half an hour. To fulfil demand, Disney scheduled a second screening the same day.

Pete’s Dragon tells the story of an orphaned boy named Pete, and his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon. Starring kiwi Karl Urban (Star Trek) alongside Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurrasic World), Robert Redford (Captain America: Winter Soldier) and rising young star Oakes Fegley (This is Where I Leave You) as Pete, the movie is the first feature film to secure the 5% Uplift under the NZSPG.

Pete's Dragon opened in the US on 12 August and has received excellent reviews:

"Thanks to director David Lowery's humanizing magic, this tale of an orphan boy and a dragon is that rare family film you really can take to heart." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"Experiencing Pete's Dragon is like seeing something thought to be extinct, a creation every bit as magical and mythical as the flying, fire-breathing beast it's named after. That would be the straight ahead, unapologetic family film." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"One of the year’s most delightful moviegoing surprises." - Peter Debruge, Variety

Pete's Dragon will open in New Zealand on 15 September.

Alt Alt Alt Alt  

Melbourne International Film Festival

MIFF 37ºSouth Market

Tom Hern of Four Knights Film was named the top producer in the pitching competition at the MIFF 37ºSouth Market and awarded a cash prize and trip to the Film London Production Finance Market (PFM) in October.

In London, Hern will pitch Four Knights’ full slate of projects, which includes action road-comedy, Pork Pie (now in post-production), and Manhunt, a kooky romantic-comedy written by Sophie Henderson and (to be) directed by Curtis Vowell.

MIFF 37ºSouth Market is Australia’s only film co-financing market in a film festival environment. MIFF 37ºSouth Market enables Australian and New Zealand producers with market-ready feature-length projects to meet with key international film co-financiers in Melbourne. The emphasis is on producers pitching projects to financiers with the aim of deepening marketplace relationships and generating financier interest in their slates.

You can view photographs from the market here.


Four New Zealand filmmakers had their films selected for MIFF's Accelerator short film programme; Yamin Tun (Wait), Ivan Barge (Madam Black) and co-directors Leon Wadham and Eli Kent (Moving). Kirsty Hamilton, Renae Maihi and Nathalie Boltt also attended Accelerator.

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 filmmaking.

The filmmakers who attended the programme found it challenging and inspiring:

"The Accelerator program at Melbourne International Film Festival was a marathon of learning about every aspect of filmmaking & the business.

Some really challenging moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life & no doubt make me a better filmmaker. I now feel like I have a clear idea of my next steps to achieve my filmmaking goals." - Renae Maihi

"Accelerator was incredibly inspiring and it has really motivated me to put all my energy in to taking the next step.

That and getting to watch my short film play to a packed house while sitting next to John Nein, Senior Programmer at Sundance." - Ivan Barge

"Intense and thrilling to say the least, it gave me access to people I might never otherwise have had the opportunity to connect with and helped me see my feature film in a new and much clearer light. I know what to do next and feel positive and supported." - Nathalie Boltt

Alt Alt Alt  

New Zealand Releases

Poi E: The Story of Our Song had its world premiere in Auckland on 18 July when it opened the 2016 New Zealand International Film Festival. Members of the Pātea Māori Club were present for the screening and performed 'Poi E' for a packed Civic Theatre. 

The NZIFF captured the magic of the premiere here.

‘Poi E’, a simple song with a catchy beat released 32 years ago, has become New Zealand’s unofficial national anthem. With humour, energy and emotion, the movie Poi E is the story of how that iconic song gave pride to generations of New Zealanders. From Taika Waititi giving Stan Walker his quirky take on life in the 1980s to Pātea Māori Club members’ straight-talking and funny memories of the song’s visionary originator Dalvanius Prime, director Tearepa Kahi (Mt Zion) captures a unique story that taps into the heart of the nation.

Poi E opened 4 August and is still screening in more than 80 cinemas nationwide and has taken almost a million dollars at the box office.

The Rehearsal also had its world premiere at the NZIFF, with director Alison Maclean and producers Bridget Ikin and Trevor Haysom present in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to introduce the film and answer questions after the screenings.

The Rehearsal opens in New Zealand cinemas on 15 September. You can view the trailer here.

Chasing Great follows Richie McCaw's final season as captain of the All Blacks as they attempt to achieve the first ever back-to back Rugby World Cup wins. With unprecedented access to Richie and a remarkable family video archive, Chasing Great is the story of how a shy farm boy went on to be one of the greatest rugby players of all time. 

Chasing Great opens in New Zealand cinemas on 1 September. You can view the trailer here.

Hunt For the Wilderpeople releases in New Zealand on DVD on 14 September. The film continues its theatrical run and can still be seen in 40 locations around New Zealand.  Its current box office is $12.2 million.


Alt Alt Alt Alt  

International Releases

Hunt for the Wilderpeople continues to perform really well overseas, becoming the highest-grossing New Zealand film at the Australian box office.

Film review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, included Hunt for the Wilderpeople in its top 100 films, a list led by The Wizard of Oz, and which includes Citizen Kane and The Godfather. Sitting at number 99, Hunt for The Wilderpeople is the only New Zealand film on the list.

The film is still adding screening locations in the US after its release on 24 June. It opens in the UK on 16 September and in the lead up to its release, has been receiving fantastic reviews like this one from Empire.

Tickled opened in Australia on 18 August, and in the UK on 19 August.  Reviews in both countries have been positive, including this one from the UK's Front Row Reviews or this, from The Sydney Morning Herald. It is still picking up new screens in the US after releasing there on 17 May.

Alt Alt  

Festival and Awards News

The Rehearsal will follow its North American premiere in Toronto with a US premiere in the New York Film Festival's Main Slate section. This is the first time a New Zealand feature has screened at the fesitval since An Angel at My Table (also produced by  Bridget Ikin) screened there in 1990.

The New York Film Festival runs 30 September - 14 October.

The Light Between Oceans, shot largely in Marlborough and Otago, will have its world premiere In Competition at the Venice Film Festival.

Produced by David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford, and written and directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond The Pines), the film, based on a best selling novel by M.L. Stedman, stars Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz, Alicia Vikander and New Zealand actors in a range of roles.

In the years following World War I, a lighthouse keeper and his wife are faced with a moral dilemma when a boat washes ashore with a dead man and a two-month-old infant.  When they decide to raise the child as their own, the consequences are devastating.

The Light Between Oceans opens in New Zealand cinemas November 3.

You can view the trailer here.

Jake Mahaffy's short film, Midwinter, has been selected in the festival's Orrizonti section.  Mahaffy's debut feature film, Free in Deed, won the best film prize in this section at the 2015 Venice Film Festival.

The Venice Film Festival runs 31 August - 10 September.

Sarah Grohnert’s Ever the Land  has been selected for Toronto's Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival in October. Later in the same month, the film will play in competition at Portugal’s Cine Eco Seia.

Kim Webby's The Price of Peace won the Best Documentary award at the Montreal First Peoples' Festival.  New Zealand films were well represented at the festival with two programmes of shorts, curated by Wairoa Māori Film Festival director Leo Koziol and The University of Auckland's Deborah Walker.

The New Zealand feature documentary Crossing Rachmaninoff has been selected for the Napa Valley Film Festival where it will screen in the Special Screenings section, and for the Scandinavian International Film Festival.

The Patriarch/Mahana and Australia/NZ television co-production Cleverman are nominees in the Australian Writers' Guild awards. John Collee's screenplay for The Patriarch/Mahana is nominated in the adapted feature category, while Cleverman is nominated as Best Television Miniseries - Original.

Winners will be announced in October.

Alt Alt Alt Alt  

Short Film News

Wait, directed and written by Yamin Tun was awarded the Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at the 2016 New Zealand International Film Festival. Wait also received the Wallace Friends of the Civic Award.

James Cunningham’s Media Design School short, Accidents, Blunders and Calamities, won the award for Best Animated Film at the 2016 Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF).

The film recenlty screened In Competition at the Annecy International Annimation Film Festival.

David White’s short film The Couple screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

Ron, directed by Mick Andrews and Brett O'Gorman, had its world premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIFF). The festival, which takes place in Providence, ran 9-14 August and screened over 250 films.  US based New Zealander, Nathan Morris, picked up the RIFF Director's Choice award for his debut short film, At Dawn.

Alt Alt Alt Alt  

China News

Senior industry representatives from China Film Group and its subsidiaries (the largest and most influential state-owned film enterprise in China), Shanghai Media Group (one of China’s largest media and cultural conglomerates) and Huaxia Film Beijing (the second largest film distributor in China, after China Film Group’s distribution entity, China Film Co.) will visit New Zealand in late September. The NZFC will also host a delegation from Guangdong Province, accompanying a showcase of recent Guangdong cinema.

The focus for these visits is to strengthen industry-to-industry ties and will involve producer meetings, project pitching and facilities/other visits, with the goal of confirming co-production projects, production service work and investment opportunities.  Over the past few years the NZFC has consolidated strong relationships with all of these (and other) entities, with valuable support from NZ Inc. agencies both in China and NZ.


Cinefest Oz

Head of Development and Production, Leanne Saunders participated in a panel entitled Industry Day - Touchstones for Screen Practitioners at CinefestOz. Moderated by Sandy George, other speakers included Anni Browning, Managing Director, Film Finances Australia, Seph McKenna, head of Australian Production, Roadshow Films, Vincent Sheehan, Producer, Porchlight Films, Madman Entertainment's Joint Managing Director, Paul Wiegard and Stephen Basil-Jones, Managing Director Sony Pictures, Australia.


Free Film & Video Labelling

All films intended for public viewing need rating information to help inform the audience about the film's content.  The Film and Video Labelling Body (FVLB) rates films in New Zealand for a G, PG or M audience, and films that have no restricted rating in Australia or the UK.  

To support local filmmakers, the FVLB will now rate New Zealand G, PG or M films for no cost. They will also read scripts and view unfinished films to give filmmakers an indication of what rating they might expect for their completed film.

You can find more information about the FVLB, its services and how to contact them here.



Congratulations to producer, Tui Ruwhiu and writer, Dianne Taylor on the selection of their feature film project, Tender Age for this year’s IFP No Borders Co-Production Market in late September.

Congratulations to producers, Fraser Brown and Nadia Maxwell who will be attending Producers Lab Toronto, a co-production development initiative the NZFC has partnered on in recent years.

Alt Alt  

New to NZ Film On Demand

New Zealand's Best is the New Zealand International Film Festival's short film competition.  Each year, programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell view over 100 short films to create a shortlist of 12  from which a guest filmmaker chooses six finalists. These six films screen at the festival and compete for sponsored awards and an audience prize voted for by the audience at the screenings.

The New Zealand's Best programmes from 2012, 2013 and 2014 are now available to stream or download to own at NZ Film On Demand.

If you've already seen these, there are more than 90 other films available at NZ Film On Demand.


Offshore Enquiries

Service businesses responding to offshore clients seeking practical assistance to film in New Zealand are welcome to use a standard email developed by our International Screen Attraction team.

This informative email outlines key requirements and includes links to regional film offices, the guilds, the Blue Book, Screensafe and The Data Book, as well as relevant forms on the new Immigration New Zealand website.

We will soon have Chinese, Korean and Hindi versions.

If you would like a copy, please email Jacqui Wood, Enquiries Manager, International Productions.


Big Screen Symposium Scholarships 2016

The NZFC has scholarships available to attend the Big Screen Symposium on 24 and 25 September. Each scholarship will include a ticket to the two-day event and, if you live outside the Auckland region, a travel grant of up to $250 is available to contribute to your travel costs.

You will find details of how to apply here.


Boost News

The second round of recipients of the NZFC’s devolved development scheme, Boost, were decided by a sub-committee of the NZFC Board in July.

Endeavour Ventures (John Barnett), Propaganda Films (Murray Francis), Monsoon Pictures International (Alex Behse), Jump Film and Television (Robin Scholes), and Vendetta Productions (Jill Macnab and Phil Bremner) will be supported through the scheme which is designed to accelerate the slates of active producers and enable successful screen businesses to move films from their slates more quickly into production.

Funding levels are:
Endeavour Ventures - $100,000
Propaganda Films - $80,000
Monsoon Pictures International - $50,000
Jump Film and Television - $20,000
Vendetta Productions - $50,000


Dates for 2017

Funding deadlines for 2017 have just been published on our website here.

Some of our funding guidelines have recently changed or will be changing in upcoming months.  Please read all relevant guidelines carefully before applying for funding.


Board News

The NZFC Board and staff welcome former Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast who has been appointed Chair of the New Zealand Film Commission. She is also Chair of Tourism New Zealand.

Kerry replaces outgoing Chair Dame Patsy Reddy, who will be New Zealand’s next Governor-General.


Markets and Festivals

Berlinale Co-Production Market: New Opportunities for International Feature-Length Fiction Film Projects

Experienced producers are invited to submit feature-length fiction film projects to the Berlinale Co-Production Market 2017 by 12 October. With budgets between one and 20 million euros, the projects should be suitable for international co-production, and have 30% of their financing or at least local production support already in place.

You will find more information about the market here  and the submission form is here.

Producer Travel
Any producers planning on attending Toronto, American Film Market (AFM), SPA Screen Forever, or other key markets, festivals or conferences during the remainder of 2016 are encouraged to contact international@nzfilm.co.nz.  If you’re considering applying for Producer International Travel Assistance (PITA), please check out the application process on our website.

For those travelling overseas, we recommend KEA’s free app (available for iOS and Android devices), which connects you to Kiwis and NZ-focused events offshore.


Staff News

Bonnie Slater had her final day at the NZFC on 19 August.  She had been with us for five years and will be sorely missed by her colleagues and the industry.  We wish her all the best for her new role at Boost New Media. 

As Bonnie did not have the time or opportunity to speak to everyone with whom she regularly engaged before her departure, she left this farewell:

“I am so grateful for the time I have spent at the NZFC.  I have had the pleasure of working with the wonderful, committed staff at the commission for five years now and many, many inspiring filmmakers that have made this period truly meaningful.  I have loved supporting and nurturing the current and the future voices of our screen industry.  While I am incredibly sad to leave, I am excited to start my own journey into Boost New Media. Thank you, Ka kite anō.”



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

Forward to a Friend!

You can forward the email to up to 5 friends at a time with your own personal message.



This newsletter was sent to [email address suppressed]. You may unsubscribe at any time. To change your email please go to the Preference Centre.

New Zealand Film Commission