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Wednesday, 22 April 2015


April 2015


Kiwi Success Abroad

Turbo Kid received the audience award in the Midnighters section of the SXSW Film Festival held in Austin, Texas in March. 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 had its world premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Deathgasm had its world premiere in the opening weekend of SXSW. Selected to screen in the Midnighter's section, Deathgasm was named as one of the buzz films at the festival. Written and directed by Jason Lei Howden, the film is about two teenage metal fans who unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity, known as the Blind One, 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 exec produced by Ant Timpson. 

Toa Fraser's The Dead Lands opened this month in the US on screens in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Ahead of the release, NZ based Hollywood director James Cameron introduced the film at a  screening in Los Angeles, describing it as  “A powerful and primal coming of age story that’s an absolute adrenaline rush. The Dead Lands is far more than just a great action movie  —  it’s great cinema.” Following the screening, Cameron joined Fraser and producer Matthew Metcalfe for Q&A with the audience.

The Dark Horse opened in the UK over the Easter weekend to strong reviews, including four stars from The Guardian, The Times, The Observer and Time Out.

What We Do In The Shadows continues its successful run at the US box office. Now in its eighth week, the film has taken over US$2.8 million at the US box office, with new screens being added weekly.

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Beijing International Film Festival and Market

For the first time, the New Zealand Film Commission had a booth at the Beijing Film Market. Attending from the NZFC were CEO Dave Gibson, Head of International Relations, Chris Payne and Head of Marketing, Jasmin McSweeney, with a delegation of New Zealand producers and industry representatives seeking to build on existing relationships and establish new collaborative partnerships.

A showcase of five New Zealand films screened to capacity audiences in the Beijing International Film Festival. What we do in the Shadows, Housebound, Slow West, Mt. Zion and Giselle all screened in the Panorama section of the Festival.

Huhu Productions moved a step closer to a formal co-production on Beast of Burden with an official signing ceremony at the film market on Sunday. Two documentary projects, Colors of China produced by James Heyward’s Making Movies, and Angel of Lotus Hill, are now in advanced financial discussions with Chinese partners.

Positive meetings about other projects were held in Beijing as well as Shanghai and Guangzhou.

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Kiwi Films in Turkey to Commemorate ANZACs

Six New Zealand films will screen in the Ankara International Film Festival as part of a programme to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of World War One in Turkey.  The films programmed are: Anzac: Tides of Blood, UTU Redux, Boy, What We Do In The Shadows, Forgotten Silver and Housebound.


Development and Production Highlights

New Narratives 
We’re excited to be supporting several narrative features at various development levels from a range of writers and teams, including Michelle Savill and Desray Armstrong’s project Millie Lies Low, which previously received support through the Seed Development Fund. Also supported are new and exciting drama and documentary projects from Florian Habicht, Peter Donoghue, Briar Grace-Smith, Lani Feltham, Alyx Duncan, Richard Riddiford and Pietra Brett-Kelly.

New Productions
The available investment continues to be actively contested. At the April Board meeting, finance was committed to Lippy Picture’s Paula Boock and Donna Malane for their adaptation of Kate de Goldi’s award-winning novel The 10PM Question. The film is a co-production with Germany, with Tim Rostock producing for Eyeworks.

China Co-Production Fund

Three applications have successfully accessed the China Co-Production Development Fund including Angel of Lotus Hill, a documentary film that reveals the untold story of New Zealand missionary nurse Kathleen Hall, a revered foreign heroine of the Second Sino-Japanese war.


Boost for Production

Boost is a new one-off scheme we are introducing to accelerate the slates of active producers and enable successful screen businesses to build a feature film slate and move quickly into production.

The growth of sustainable screen businesses, already articulated by the Government and the NZFC, is a key aim of the scheme.

Successful applicants will either be:

• An established producer with strong screen production credits  and a slate of reasonably developed feature projects which they hope to accelerate into production;


• An established, successful screen business wanting to build a slate of developed feature projects as part of a plan to enter feature film production.

The level of support will be between $50,000 and $100,000, with an absolute maximum of $130,000 per applicant. A minimum 50% of funds received must be spent on third party development costs. Expenditure is expected to take place over the next 12 to 18 months.

Applicants must include a detailed plan outlining how the funds will enable the growth of their business, proposed key performance indicators (KPI’s) across the period, and intended outcomes by the end of expenditure.

Applications will also need to provide a comprehensive description of the projects in the proposed slate and how the Boost funds will be used, as well as a breakdown of key personnel and company background.

Successful applicants will not be eligible for NZFC Early Development Funding or He Ara funding during the period they are supported by Boost. Business Development Scheme companies or their key personnel are also not eligible to apply.

A panel of two external assessors and the NZFC's CEO will consider the applications with decisions announced around late June/early July. Applications close 27 May 2015.

 Decisions will be made by late June/early July 2015.

An application form and more detail of criteria will be published on our website in the next 10 days. Please register your interest in receiving further details by emailing  production@nzfilm.co.nz.

Applications close 27 May 2015


Professional Development Funding Decisions

Talent Development Spotlight

The NZFC contributed $5,000 to assist Sophie Henderson with a five-month placement in Melbourne as a Script Coordinator with her mentor, Alice Bell.

48+ Launched
The long-running filmmaking competition recently announced an additional incentive for those entering this year’s challenge.

To coincide with this, the NZFC has set-up 48+, a development programme to assist untapped/unknown 48Hours writers. The programme will provide support from story concept through to first draft, all the way through to potential production.

Expressions of interest can be submitted here

Producer International Travel Assistance 37ºSouth Market

Applications are now being accepted for producers seeking financial support to attend this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 37ºSouth Market. 

Please note, acceptance to the market is administered by MIFF, and attendance does not necessarily guarantee NZFC travel support. 

Applications should be sent via email to profdev@nzfilm.co.nz. Please note, the maximum any one applicant can request for this market is $2,500.

More information on Producer International Travel Assistance can be found on our website.

For more information about 37ºSouth Market and submitting applications, please visit the MIFF website.

eQuinox Australia 2015
eQuinoxe Europe, a renowned screenwriting programme for professional screen writers, will run a workshop in Western Australia as part of CinefestOZ. Held from 28 August to 4 September, six Australian and one NZ project will be selected to participate in the seven-day residential workshop.

The eQuinoxe programme is specifically designed for experienced script writers with projects at least at second draft.

More details about the workshop can be found at
www.eQuinoxe-Europe.org. However all applications will initially be assessed by the NZFC and should be sent to profdev@nzfilm.co.nz by 5pm on Monday 18 May.

Applications should include:

• The name of the project
• The names of the writer and producer(s) (both with brief biography and photos)
• An electronic version of the screenplay
• A statement outlining what stage your screenplay is at and how it would benefit from being involved in the eQuinoxe programme

The cost of attending the workshop will be covered by a partnership arrangement between the NZFC and eQuinoxe Australia.

Full details of all funding decisions by the NZFC can now be found using a searchable database on our website.


Women's Scholarship Programme Announced

At events in Wellington and in Auckland earlier this month, the NZFC announced an annual scholarship programme for women working in the film industry.

Suggested by acclaimed New Zealand screenwriter, producer and director, Jane Campion, the programme will offer scholarships across different disciplines in the screen industry where female participation is low. The programme will be championed by a different female filmmaker each year.

The inaugural scholarship is the JC CineFem Scholarship for aspiring female cinematographers. Championed by Jane Campion, the internship offers  mentorship by a local or international cinematographer of the mentee’s choice.

Launching the programme, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson outlined our commitment to increasing the number of women working in the film industry, particularly in key creative roles. The scholarship programme is one part of a five-pronged approach we are undertaking to address the issue of gender imbalance in the film industry.

Scholarship criteria and how to apply can be found on our website.

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C-Prize to Unleash Emerging Film Technology

The NZFC has partnered with Callaghan Innovation on C-Prize, a competition aimed at developing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology for the film and screen industry.

C-Prize winners will have a greater ability to record and reproduce high-definition sound, operate in rough weather, and track objects for augmented reality and visual effects purposes.

Concepts making it through the first round will each receive $10,000 and support from Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ to develop prototypes. The grand prize winner – to be announced in December - will receive $50,000 as well as an expenses-paid trip to exhibit at the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas.

Entries close on 5 July 2015.  Full details can be found here


Staff Announcements

We are pleased to welcome three new members to the NZFC:

Dale Corlett is our new Head of Talent Development. A Kiwi, Dale has been CEO/Creative Director of GMAC Film in Scotland since 2004 where he has been responsible for identifying high quality emerging talent and supporting them in the film industry.

Catherine Robinson recently joined us as our Accountant. Catherine manages all our accounting and financial information management. She also manages the NZFC Film Income account and distributes collected film income to investors and filmmakers. She has a wide range of accounting experience in both the public and private sector. Before starting at the NZFC she spent five years in London where she worked for MTV.

Bonnie Tonkin has also joined our accounts team as Assistant Accountant. Bonnie is responsible for Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. She also has cash management , procurement and general accounts administration responsibilities. Bonnie has several years of accounts experience, including her last role at DOC.

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Cannes Callout

If you are attending the Cannes festival or market in May, and you have not already been in touch, please let us know via talentdev@nzfilm.co.nz. We will advise you of the details of any events we organise and connect you with other Kiwi’s attending.

Once again, our offices will be on the 1st floor, Residence I’Imperatrice, 44 la Croisette. We will be based there from Wednesday 13th to Wednesday 20th May.

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:  www.keanewzealand.com



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

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New Zealand Film Commission