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Friday, 14 December 2018


Vale Geoff Murphy

It is with great sadness that the New Zealand Film Commission mourns the loss of Geoff Murphy on Monday, 3 December 2018 in Wellington.

Geoff was a producer, director and screenwriter who was one of the leading figures in New Zealand cinema’s renaissance of the late 1970s and early 1980s.  In this period he directed Goodbye Pork Pie, Utu and The Quiet Earth, three titles justly considered New Zealand classics.  Goodbye Pork Pie became the first local film to gain blockbuster status at the box office, tapping into the cultural zeitgeist and creating characters that kiwi audiences of the time could recognise and identify with.

Geoff is survived by a family of filmmakers. Our thoughts are with them and Geoff’s friends.

You can read more about Geoff and his career in film here.


Ngā manaakitanga o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou ki a koutou katoa

The New Zealand Film Commission wishes all of you a very happy holiday season and all the best for the New Year.

Our offices will be closed from 22 December 2018 until 7 January 2019.


Our First New Zealand Screen Showcase Week in LA

In early December, the NZFC hosted a delegation of 12 experienced, US-engaged New Zealand producers, four regional film offices representatives, and 27 New Zealand screen service companies (post-production, VFX and special effects) who all participated in the first ever New Zealand Screen Showcase Week in Los Angeles. The purpose of the week was to drive international production to New Zealand and support local producers to connect with potential USA producing and financial partners.

New Zealand Screen Showcase Week comprised of a programme of networking events and tailor-made schedules for producers and New Zealand screen service companies.  NZFC arranged close to 450 ‘one to one’ meetings with over 70 USA sales agents, financiers, independent producers, mini-majors and studios, and group meetings with six leading talent agencies and management companies.  Screen service providers had back-of-house tours of studio lots and meetings with physical production executives as well as post and VFX executives.

The week was timed to coincide with the Los Angeles premiere of Mortal Engines and a special panel presentation with Deadline Hollywood’s Mike Fleming in conversation with Producer/Writers Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens and director Christian Rivers. In that same week The Hollywood Reporter included a major section regarding Mortal Engines and also highlights New Zealand production.

You can read The Hollywood Reporter articles here and here.

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Raupapa Whakaari Funding: Drama to the world

At the recent SPADA Conference, the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and NZ On Air (NZOA) announced a joint venture to co-fund the development of high-end adult drama series that will appeal to the international market as well as New Zealand audiences.

The Raupapa Whakaari Funding initiative is designed to stimulate and grow opportunities for New Zealand feature film and drama producers to participate in the global series drama marketplace and attract finance.

 Applications will be opening on 18 February 2019 and closing at 9am on 18 March 2019. Guidelines will be published in early 2019.


Production Funding Decisions

The Board approved four application for production financing at the November Board meeting.

Dawn Raid
The rise, fall and spiritual rebirth of the most iconic and influential music label in Pacific history: Dawn Raid Entertainment. Directed by Oscar Kightley and produced by Matthew Metcalfe and Leela Menon.

From a Dunedin student flat to Western Springs Stadium, Six60 uncovers how a humble covers band went onto create a slew of unstoppable chart hits and build the most colossal fan base of any contemporary New Zealand band. Directed by Julia Parnell and produced by Nicola Peeperkoorn.

Lowdown Dirty Criminals
Best buddies Freddy and Marvin mistakenly think a life of crime will be glamorous and rewarding, but when they mess up a simple job, the hilarious and violent consequences spiral out of control. Written by David Brechin-Smith, directed by Paul Murphy and produced by Robin Murphy.

The Educator
When his late father’s priceless championship belt is stolen by a savage gang an academic Tongan man must balance brains with brawn to defeat the barbaric kingpin and get the belt back. Written by John Argall, directed by Kiel McNaughton and produced by Kerry Warkia.


Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen Gets Sundance International Premiere

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen will have its international premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

The film had its world premiere at the 2018 New Zealand International Film Festival, and last month, director Heperi Mita was awarded the 2018 Pacific Islanders in Communication Trailblazer Award at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Produced by Chelsea Winstanley with executive producers Tearepa Kahi and Cliff Curtis, Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen is an intimate portrayal of pioneering filmmaker Merata Mita told through the eyes of her children. Merata was the first Māori woman to write and direct a narrative feature with her 1988 film, Mauri while her political films highlighted the injustices for Māori people during the 1980’s.  Merata passed away suddenly in 2010. 

Making his feature film debut, director Heperi Mita, a film archivist, has drawn on the extensive film and television footage of his mother, as well as on her own films to uncover the stories she never had the chance to share.  His older siblings play a key role in the film, filling their younger brother on their lives before he was born.

You can read more about the film and its Sundance screenings here.


125 Fund Recipients Announced

At the recent Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) Conference held in Wellington, NZFC CEO, Annabelle Sheehan announced funding of three feature films through the NZFC’s 125 Fund. Making the announcement, Sheehan noted all three key creative roles (writer, director, producer) in the successful teams are women.

The three projects to receive funding are:

- Hawk Mountain, written and directed by Loren Taylor with producers Ainsley Gardiner and Georgina Conder

- The Justice of Bunny King, written by Sophie Henderson, directed by Gaysorn Thavat and produced by Emma Slade

- Poppy, written and directed by Linda Niccol and produced by Susan Parker.

You can read more about the 125 Fund and the recipients here.


In Cinemas

Mortal Engines
Hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw, emerges as the only one who can stop London — now a giant, predator city on wheels — from devouring everything in its path.  Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy, an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang, a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.

Written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, directed by Christian Rivers and produced by Walsh, Jackson, Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker and Deborah Forte, Mortal Engines features visual effects created by a Weta Digital team led by Ken McGaugh, Kevin Smith, Luke Millar and Dennis Yoo.  

Mortal Engines opened in New Zealand cinemas on 6 December. 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 was 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 was released in New Zealand cinemas by Rialto Distribution on 8 November. You can view the trailer here.

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Content London 2018

At the end of November, the Head of Development and Production represented NZFC at Content London. Activities included meetings with executives from the UK and other international production companies, and attending conference keynote forum from leading producers, showrunners, broadcasters and international streaming platforms. The intention of the trip was to learn from, and connect with, international experts in series drama in order to inform and enhance the upcoming Raupapa Whakaari Funding: Drama to the World Initiative.


Festival and Release News

Yellow is Forbidden was selected to screen at the 2019 GZDOC Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in China.

Boy will screen at the New Zealand Society Thailand's New Zealand Film Festival in Bangkok.  Following this, the film will screen at Za-Koenji Public Theatre in Tokyo for Gucchi's Free School, an organisation that screens films unreleased in Japan. 

Eagle vs Shark will screen at Para Site, Hong Kong's leading contemporary art centre and one of the oldest and most active independent art institutions in Asia on 12 December.

Upcoming festival submission deadlines:

Edinburgh International Film Festival – Early bird deadline December 13
Dok Fest Munchen – Deadline December 14
Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival – First deadline December 15
Open City Documentary Festival, London – Early bird deadline December 21
Indie Lisboa International Film Festival – Deadline December 31
Seattle International Film Festival – Late deadline January 4
San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival – Deadline January 5
Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival – Deadline January 31
Sydney Film Festival - Deadline January 31
Melbourne International Film Festival - Regular deadline Feb 1

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Congratulations Go To...

Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa and the Three Wise Cousins team for being awarded the Audience Award at the Festival Des Antipodes in St. Tropez.

Sparks Interactive, the company who designed the NZFC's website, for receiving the Open Source Use in Business Award at the 2018 New Zealand Open Source Awards.

Wade Shotter and the team behind short film I Will Not Write Unless I Am Swaddled In Furs on being accepted to 26 international film festivals since the film's completion, and receiving 11 awards including Best Comedy Short at the Independent Short Awards in the US, Best Adaptation at the Discover Film Awards in the UK and Gold for Direction at the International Independent Shorts Awards in the US.

Kyan Krumdieck, Desray Armstrong and Jennifer Ward-Lealand on their recognition at the 2018 SPADA Awards.  Kyan received the award for SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year, Desray the SPADA Independent Producer of the Year and Jennifer the SPADA/Data Book Industry Champion Award.

All the nominees and winners at the 2018 Huawei Mate20 NZ Television Awards.  You will find a full list here.

Gaylene Preston and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie on receiving Welly Awards, the Dominion Post's Wellingtonian of the Year Awards which honour significant contributions to the Wellington region across nine categories. Preston was awarded in the Arts category, while Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie received the Youth Award.

Pete Circuitt, Rob Linkhorn, Robin Scholes and the entire team behind short film 21 Points on being selected to screen in International Competition at the 2019 Clermont Ferrand Film festival.

Jackie Dennis on her appointments as Executive Director of Script to Screen. Jackie steps up to the role having worked in programmes and operations with departing ED Esther Cahill-Chiaroni over the past 18-months. 

You can read more about Jackie here.

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Te Rautaki Māori

Te Rautaki Māori Feature Film Initaitive
Te Rautaki Māori Feature Film Initiative is now open for applications. To celebrate the launch of Te Rautaki Māori the NZFC is offering a one off dramatic film production financing opportunity. This unique investment initiative has been created to attract and encourage new and emerging Māori voices, as well as promote authentic representation of Māori characters, stories, places, history and culture and support high quality films led by Māori creatives.

$2 million is available to put towards the production financing of dramatic feature films where a minimum of two out of three key creative roles are Māori.

The closing deadline for this fund is Monday 21st January 2019

You will find about Te Rautaki Māori Film Initiative, including guidelines for applying, here.

He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Initiative
The newly established He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Initiative will be opening for applications in the new year on Monday 14 January 2019. This fund has been created as part of Te Rautaki Māori for dramatic feature films in Te Reo Māori.

Please keep an eye on our website as we will post guidelines on or before Friday 21 December 2018



Boost Development Fund Opens to Applications

The Boost Development Fund is now open to applications.

Boost supports the growth of established producers and screen businesses by helping out films that could benefit from a funding boost.

A grant of up to $100,000 per application is available to established New Zealand producers or screen businesses that have an existing slate of projects in development and/or production.

The deadline for applications is 9am Monday 28 January 2019.

You will find more information about Boost, including guidelines, here.


New Funding Opportunity for Pasifika and Asian New Zealand Filmmakers Announced

The new funding opportunity is focused on developing a compelling one-off feature-length Pasifika or Asian New Zealand story to screen in prime time on TVNZ. It is anticipated that the successful project will be of award-winning quality and will secure festival invitations and international sales.

Up to $90,000 in development funding is available for up to three projects where Pacific or Asian New Zealand filmmakers are in two of the three key creative roles (writer, producer, director), and with strong Asian or Pacific cast representation.

Designed with TVNZ’s successful Sunday Theatre slot in mind, the fund seeks feature-length scripted proposals that tell compelling real-life stories to highlight the cultural diversity of New Zealand’s population. The duration of the content will be between 90 and 110 minutes and the intention is that at least one of the three projects to receive development funding will be supported into production in the 2019/20 financial year.

Applications opened on 2 November via NZ On Air’s online application portal, and close on 14 December. The three projects chosen for development funding will be announced on 16 January 2019.

You can read more about this opportunity here.

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RFT Management of Fresh Shorts Development and Production

The New Zealand Film Commission will be inviting tenders from organisations interested in partnering with the NZFC to administer and manage the Fresh Shorts programme. This includes project management of the Development Lab, funding and delivery of short films at a $15,000 grant level and providing support to filmmakers for the production and delivery of films. 

More information will be available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website from Friday 14  December. Tender applications will close on Monday 11 February 2019.

The NZFC are looking for collaborative organisations or companies with a nurturing and empathetic approach who can provide ongoing administration, process management, technical support and development capability for Fresh Shorts into the future. We encourage collaboration and partnership between organisations applying for this tender.

The NZFC is not looking for proposals for a new funding initiative or process for Fresh Shorts, or funding short films and talent development.


Talent Development Grants – Deadlines for applications and new focus

Talent Development Grant funding rounds will change from a rolling deadline to a four-weekly deadline from January 2019. 

Talent Development Grants for individuals (up to $5,000 within a 12-month period) will now only be available for skills development and training opportunities. Please note that funding for mentorships will now be covered under our new On the Job Training Fund, to be launched in January 2019.

Funding rounds will open every four weeks via the online portal and must be completed before the closing date. No late applications will be accepted. You will be notified of the outcome of your application within four weeks. Please note that funding is allocated quarterly, so funds may not be available until the next quarter.

Feel free to get in touch with the Talent Development Manager on profdev@nzfilm.co.nz if you have any questions.


Catalyst-He kauahi is nearly here!

Catalyst (noun) - the cause of significant change; He kauahi (noun) – firestick that ignites the flame

Applications will open on December 14, 2018 for our new $90,000 short films, Catalyst-He kauahi. Deadline will be 15 February, 2019. 

Through this we aim to support NZ filmmakers to progress their talents to the next stage and make exceptional, high end narrative drama or animation short films that will ignite the flame and be the catalyst for change in their career.

The NZFC will support NZ filmmaking teams to develop and produce films that will showcase their original, unique voice and skills, helping to profile them on the world stage.


Notice of Administrative Change to the New Zealand Screen Production Grant for New Zealand Productions

From 1 January 2019 Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE) will no longer be assessed as part of  Provisional applications for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant - New Zealand Productions (NZSPG-NZ).

Provisional applications received from 1 January 2019 will be assessed for eligibility only, per clause 27.2 of the NZSPG-NZ Criteria dated 1 July 2017.

As a result, the NZFC anticipates the standard Provisional assessment timeframe to reduce from 8 weeks to 4-6 weeks.

Applicants who wish to request an opinion on non-arm’s length expenditure will still be able to do so, in which case the assessment timeframe will continue to be 8 weeks.

Please note: this is an administrative change only, not a Criteria change.

Any queries relating to this change can be sent to nzspg@nzfilm.co.nz.


NZFC Annual Report Released

The NZFC's Annual Report has been tabled in Parliament and is now available on our website.

Some highlights of the report are:

 - Te Rautaki Māori and funding opportunities to support Māori filmmakers launched

 - Fourteen Fresh Shorts funded for production

 - Twelve feature films received production financing offers

- 125 Fund launched to encourage the voices and stories of women filmmakers

You can read more highlights and the full report here.


Tahua (Online Application) Updates

The NZFC's online application portal, Tahua, has had a series of updates for usability. Here are some of the new features:

Auto-saving forms
A big step forward for Tahua is the introduction of “auto-saving” when editing funding applications. When you are submitting an application, the form saves progress in real-time. Not only does it speed up the editing process but it also caters for many scenarios where the accidental loss of data is a concern.

While the form is being edited it will be locked for editing to any collaborators you have invited to your application. This is necessary to guard against conflicting data from a collaborator overwriting your data.

Applicant > NZFC instant messaging
The conversation window between an applicant and NZFC, which was previously only used for requesting a contract variation, is now available throughout the contract workflow. You can now easily engage in a conversation around the contract with us, all within the portal.

Submission of deliverables prior to contract being “active”
It is now also possible for you to submit your deliverables as soon as you accept your contract, speeding up the overall workflow and avoiding the frustration of having to wait for your contract to be counter-signed by NZFC before uploading a drawdown request.


NZFC Turns 40

November marked the NZFC's 40th anniversary and we completed a year celebrating 40 years of New Zealand film with a function at Government House in Wellington.

Hosted by Their Excellencies Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne, the guestlist included a notable list of New Zealand's producing and directing talent.

Speeches, introduced by NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan, were given by Dame Patsy Reddy, NZFC Chair Kerry Prendergast and founding Chair Bill Sheat.

A gallery of photgraphs from the event can be viewed here.


New to NZ Film On Demand

New films added to NZ Film On Demand include almost all Florian Habicht's films, Woodenhead, Kaikohe Demolition, Land of the Long White Cloud and Rubbings From A Live Man.

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


Staff news

We recently welcomed Jane Simons to the NZFC as our Front of House Coordinator while Hayley is on maternity leave.

Jane is likely to be the first person you encounter at the NZFC whether by phone or in person. She descends from Te Arawa, her hapu being Ngati Rangitihi. She previously worked as a VFX production coordinator for film and commercials, a career she started in London, and continued upon her return to New Zealand. Feature films she has worked on include The Martian, Spectre, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Alita: Battle Angel. Jane graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with Bachelor’s degree in Film & Art History.

Rochelle Cooney will re-join the NZFC in mid-January 2019 in the new role of Business Affairs Manager.

Rochelle will lead the Business Affairs Team and provide in-house legal and commercial advice including contractual arrangements for production financing and international distribution of New Zealand Film Commission films. Rochelle has previously worked in an in-house legal team in London and as a lawyer in commercial law firms, most recently Morrison Kent.

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Privacy Policy

The NZFC has updated its Privacy Policy to ensure we are consistent with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) introduced in the European Union.

You can view the updated Privacy Policy on our website.

Your privacy is important to us and we will continue to treat it with care.  Our updated Privacy Policy provides more detail about the information we collect, what we do with that information and what your rights are.

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