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Wednesday, 22 August 2018


New Zealand International Film Festival

Congratulations to all the New Zealand films that screened and continue to screen in the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF).  A total of 13 New Zealand features have screened in the festival's Auckland and Wellington outings as well as several programmes of New Zealand shorts.

The Heart Dances, directed by Rebecca Tansley and produced by Tansley and Robin Laing,  Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, directed by Heperi Mita and produced by Chelsea Winstanley, Maui's Hook, written by Lani-rain Feltham, directed by Paora Joseph and produced by Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble,  She Shears, directed by Jack Nicol and produced by Ainsley Gardiner and Georgina Conder,   Bludgeon directed and produced by Ryan Heron and Andy Deere, Angie, directed and produced by Costa Botes,and Celia, directed and produced by Amanda Millar had world premieres at the festival.

Stray, written and directed by Dustin Feneley and produced by Feneley and Desray Armstrong,  Yellow is Forbidden written and directed by Pietra Brettkelly and produced by Brettkelly, Richard Fletcher and Naomi Wallwork and Mega Time Squad written and directed by Tim van Dammen and produced by van Dammen and Anna Duckworth had their New Zealand premieres following successful screenings at international film festivals.

The Heart Dances, Merata, Maui's Hook, Yellow is Forbidden and She Shears received production financing from the NZFC, while Bludgeon, Angie and Mega Time Squad were supported by Feature Film Finishing grants.

Both the Wellington and Auckland festivals broke attendance records this year with 84,218 admissions in Wellington and 109,406 in Auckland.  The previous records were 79,030 in Wellington in 2017 and 105,406 in Auckland in 2015.

The NZFC is the principal sponsor of the NZIFF and has enjoyed a 40 year relationship with the festival.

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In Cinemas

Mega Time Squad  
A low-level criminal from the small New Zealand town of Thames steals an ancient Chinese time-travel device, helping him pull off another heist and start a new life. But he may not survive the demonic consequences of tampering with time in this hilarious action comedy.

Mega Time Squad will be in New Zealand cinemas from 30 August. You can view the trailer here.

From Wollongong to Monte Carlo to Phillip Island, Wayne Gardner – The Wollongong Whiz – conquered the world of motorcycle racing and came home a hero.

While growing up in Wollongong in the 1960s Wayne Gardner bought his first bike for five dollars. He began his motorcycle racing career in 1977 at the age of 18 and by 1987 he was the Motorcycle World Champion. Gardner enjoyed a career in racing that had never been experienced by an Australian before, and helped define the high-octane sport at home and abroad. This documentary,  written by Matthew Metcalfe and Jeremy Sims, directed by Sims and produced by Metcalfe and Fraser Brown, will be in New Zealand cinemas from 13 September. You can view the trailer here.

She Shears
She Shears follows four female shearers questioning their life’s purpose, as they work and compete in a shearing industry that’s rapidly shrinking. 

She Shears will be in New Zealand cinemas from 11 October. 

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International Festival and Release News

The Breaker Upperers opened in Australia on 26 July on 227 screens and has taken over AU$2 million at the Australian box office to date. The film, written, directed and starring Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami and produced by Carthew Neal, Ainsley Gardiner and Georgina Conder also screened as part of New York City's Rooftop Films season of outdoor summer screenings.

Yellow is Forbidden sold out both its screenings at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).  The film continues its festival run with screenings at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Wayne, a feature documentary about Motorcycle World Champion Wayne Gardner, had its world premiere at MIFF.  Wayne will be released in New Zealand by Transmission Films on 13 September.

Mega Time Squad will open the Sydney Underground Film Festival on 13 September. This follows a sold-out world premiere at Canada's Fantasia International Film Festival in July.

The New Zealand box office charts boasted two New Zealand shot films in the first and second positions on 20 August.  The Meg, which opened on 16 August shot to the number one position with an opening weekend  gross of $800,438. Mission Impossible: Fallout, in its third week of release, slipped into second position having taken $2,926,677 to date.

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The Meg New Zealand Screening and Release

Over 2000 New Zealand cast, crew and companies involved with science action thriller The Meg gathered at Auckland’s Civic Theatre on Monday 13 August for the film’s New Zealand screening.

Warner Bros. Pictures, the NZFC and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, hosted the event to acknowledge those involved in the production and the economic benefits it brought to New Zealand.

The Meg successfully secured the New Zealand Screen Production Grant’s 5% Uplift.  A small number of international productions which qualify for the 20% grant and offer significant economic benefits to New Zealand may be invited to apply for the 5% Uplift.  One of the reasons for The Meg's was success was the producers' ability to deliver a range of economic benefits to New Zealand, most notably the two world-class water tanks (one a 1.3 million litre underwater tank, and one 2.5 million litre for ‘ocean’ filming), and one of the largest green screen walls in the Asia-Pacific.

More than 900 crew worked on the production, which included 64 principal photography days, and 29 days of filming on the waters around Auckland, with up to 100 cast and crew on the water. Filming took place at Kumeu Film Studios and on location in and around Auckland.

The Meg is a science-fiction action thriller about a prehistoric shark; the megalodon, starring Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose and New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis. The film is a joint production between Warner Bros. Pictures and China-based Gravity Pictures, The Meg is one of the very first true Hollywood/China co-productions.

The Meg made a big splash at the box office internationally, with opening weekend figures of over $200m NZD (US$141.3m), the biggest August opening since Suicide Squad two years ago.

The huge opening weekend followed the film’s global premiere and press conference in Beijing and the US premiere and media junket held in Los Angeles. New Zealand cast and crew behind the thrills and fun of The Meg, were in attendance at both locations to showcase New Zealand’s role in the film.

The Meg opened at New Zealand cinemas on Thursday 16 August and you can view the trailer here.

You can find out more about filming The Meg in New Zealand here.

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Melbourne International Film Festival Activity

Twelve producers were supported by the NZFC to attend the 37 South film market, which runs alongside MIFF. Over four days the producers had back-to-back meetings with international sales agents and distributors. NZFC staff attended to support the producers and to undertake a series of meetings with Screen Australia and the Australian state agencies. Staff also met with 29 Australian producers interested in working with New Zealand through a new round table meeting platform created by MIFF this year. 

During the market NZFC staff attended the mixer events, helping to connect New Zealand talent with international guests. CEO Annabelle Sheehan also spoke on two panels (Gender Agenda: Where to by 2020, and the Breaking Barriers & Building Bridges’) in which international guests and local practitioners discussed some of the core issues integral to building an inclusive screen industry that reflects, and is enriched by diversity.

Following a very busy market (an estimated 2,800 meetings were undertaken over four days), six New Zealand directors attended the Accelerator Directors' Lab. This talent lab is a mix of panels, masterclasses, workshops and screenings, followed by the MIFF Short Film Awards. NZFC staff attended the lab to support the directors, with members of the Talent Development team taking part in panels and the final pitching session, along with attending the VR film screenings. The New Zealand directors who attended Accelerator are short filmmakers making the transition into feature films.

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Congratulations go to....

Phil Brough for his short film, Fire in Cardboard City, winning the Best Comedy award at the LA Shorts Film Festival.

Chelsie Preston Crayford for her short film, Falling Up, receiving the Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at NZIFF 2018.

Judah Finnigan for receiving the Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award in the NZIFF's NZ's Best Shorts competition for his film, Charmer.

Ian Leaupepe and Samson Rambo for being awarded the Wallace Friends of the Civic Award and the Audience Award in the NZIFF's NZ's Best Shorts competition for their film, My Friend Michael Jones.

Taika Waititi on being named as one of Jury for the Venezia 75 Competition at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. He will join Jury President Guillermo del Toro; Taiwanese actress, director, screenwriter and producer Sylvia Chang, Danish actress Trine Dyrholm,  French actress and director Nicole Garcia, Italian director and screenwriter Paolo Genovese,  Polish director, screenwriter and producer Malgorzata Szumowska,  Austrian-German actor Christoph Waltz and actress Naomi Watts.

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Wellington’s Screen Talent off to Seoul

Two Wellington film makers have won a trip to Seoul, South Korea, to develop a science fiction TV drama series in the city’s capital.

Creatives Michelle Turner from Mt Victoria and Nick Ward from Kāpiti Coast were thrilled to hear their sci-fi drama series, Alone, will receive support. Michelle and Nick will head to Seoul for two weeks next month to kickstart their project and immerse themselves into Seoul life.

Their entry was one of only six projects selected globally to receive support from the Seoul Film Commission’s Seoul Screenplay Development Support Programme. The grants were available for documentary, film, TV or web drama productions as part of an initiative to promote the city of Seoul through the development of foreign stories set in Seoul.

You can read more about the filmmakers and this unique opportunity here.


New Zealand Doco Film Festival Scores Additional Oscar Qualification

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Academy) recently confirmed the list of documentary feature qualifying film festivals. Doc Edge, New Zealand’s international documentary film festival, made the prestigious list. 

In April 2018, the Academy announced new rules for the Oscars, delivering good news to feature documentary makers. In the past, entries were required to complete a minimum run of seven days in at least one cinema in Los Angeles or New York. This was extremely difficult and costly to achieve, especially for international films. Now, documentaries that win a prize at a selected “competitive festival” will automatically become eligible for Oscar consideration.

In 2016, Doc Edge Festival became an Oscar-qualifying festival for the Short Documentary Subject category, and under the new rules, it is now also qualified for the Feature Documentary Subject category.


Celebrating 40 Years of New Zealand Film

The NZFC has partnered with Lotto to celebrate 40 years of funding New Zealand film.

The NZFC is one of 3,000 organisations and community groups supported by Lotto NZ and to commemorate the long association, a series of four Instant Kiwi tickets featuring iconic New Zealand films (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Whale Rider, Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale and The World's Fastest Indian) are available now.

Six free screenings across regional New Zealand have been arranged to thank Lotto players for their support.  On 13 August Hunt for the Wilderpeople screened in Taupō to a full house. Two days later, a large audience on the Kāpiti Coast enjoyed a screening of Second Hand Wedding introduced by the film's writers, Nick Ward and Linda Niccol.  The third screening was in Invercargill on 20 August where an appreciative audience enjoyed a screening of The World's Fastest Indian.

Still to come are screenings of Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale in Oamaru (22 August), Whale Rider in Gisborne (27 August) and Came A Hot Friday in New Plymouth (29 August).

To get tickets, all you need to do is take a Lotto ticket to one of the participating cinemas and you will get a double pass. 

You will find more details about these events here.

You can see what people had to say at the Taupō screening here.

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The NZ Inside Story Launched

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and actor Cliff Curtis headlined the launch of New Zealand's Inside Stories in Wellington on 15 August.

Inside Stories is a new series from the New Zealand Story, a programme established in 2013 with the goal of creating a nation of storytellers and to ensure New Zealand is known for more than its natural beauty.  The site has over 11,500 registered users, and includes stories from actress Bryce Dallas Howard and Tesla co-founder, Ian Wright.

The New Zealand Story Group reports to an independent Advisory Group chaired by former NZFC Board member Cameron Harland.

You can read more about the New Zealand Story here.


New to NZ Film On Demand

New films added to NZ Film On Demand include Hunt for the WilderpeopleThe Changeover, Last Paradise, This Giant Papier Mache Boulder is Actually Really Heavy and short film, Shmeat.

There are over 130 feature and short films available to stream at NZ Film On Demand.


Festival Opportunities

The Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival will be held 10-13 December this year.

The festival are seeking New Zealand documentaries to be submitted to the festival and entered into the Golden Kapok Award. Submissions close on 31 August.

The festival is also looking for outstanding “China Stories”documentary projects as an effort to encourage international documentary co-productions to be entered into DocuMart Pitch. Submissions close 20 September.

Other festivals currently accepting submissions that will be closing soon include:



Sexual Harassment Workshop

As a precursor to future workshops SWAG will be organising, WIFT has now rescheduled this workshop to be held in Wellington on Thursday 6 September.

The two-hour workshop will be presented by Debbi Tohill, Executive Director of RPE (Rape Prevention Education) which delivers education and health promotion / prevention programmes nationally.

Everyone is welcome at this workshop (yes, that includes men). Please spread the word.

WHERE: BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
WHEN:  Thursday 6th September
Time:  5.30pm for a 6pm sharp start

WIFT members free; other Guild members $10; non-members $15

Wine and nibbles provided.

RSVP to office@wiftnz.org.nz


Staff News

Hayley Weston has joined the Marketing Team as Marketing and Festival Executive. Hayley looks after domestic and international film festival and cultural screenings. She works with Jasmin on festival release strategy, submitting the work of our talented feature filmmakers, preparing for major international showcase markets and arranging delivery. With nearly 15 years’ experience in theatrical, festival and home entertainment distribution and marketing, Hayley has previously worked with Rialto Distribution, Reading Entertainment, Roadshow Films and as a guest Short Film Competition Juror for the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Head of Business Affairs, Chloe McLoughlin, has left the NZFC after five years in the role.  Her enormous contribution to the organisation cannot be understated.  We are grateful for all her hard work and will miss her presence in the office.  We wish her all the best for the future.

We also farewelled Development Executive Karin Williams on
10 August and wish her all the best while she completes her Masters degree.



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

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