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Thursday, 21 December 2017


Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia

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 23 December 2017 until 8 January 2018.

This is CEO Dave Gibson's final newsletter. " I'm very proud of everything we've achieved as an organisation and as an industry, including some fantastic films. I wish you all the best for the future, and hope your planets align."

Annabelle Sheehan will take over as CEO on 15 January 2018.


Production Funding Decisions

The Board  approved two applications for production financing at the December Board meeting.

An intimate study of the high stakes world of competitive sheep shearing, showcasing a world where women fight to be recognized as genuine athletes among throngs of inflated egos. Produced by Georgina Conder and Ainsley Gardiner and directed by Jack Nichol.

Untitled Feature Documentary
When a celebrated film inspires the creation of a new ballet, its creators face personal, collective and cross-cultural challenges to bring the new work to the stage. Produced by Robin Laing and directed by Rebecca Tansley.


Upcoming Funding Deadlines

With the office being closed for a few weeks, we thought we should remind you of the first funding deadlines of 2018

9am, Monday 15 January 2018, EARLY DEVELOPMENT

You can find details of the Early Development fund, including guidelines, here.

5pm Friday 19 January 2018, FRESH SHORTS

You can read more about Fresh Shorts, including the guidelines, here.

9am Tuesday 23 January 2018, PRODUCTION FINANCING 

You can find details about Production Financing, including guidelines, here.

9am Tuesday 23 January, PREMIERE PATHWAYS

You can find details  about Premiere Pathways, including guidelines, here.


You can read more about the Interactive Development Fund, including guidelines, here.


A - Z of Producing

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), in conjunction with the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), held a bespoke series of workshops throughout the year called the A-Z of Producing course for 12 industry practitioners to learn about producing feature films.

The final workshop in December culminated in a pitching presentation where the participants presented their business case and slate of projects for the chance to be awarded a Boost fund. Congratulations to the four producers who were awarded Boost - Alex Clark, Alex Reed, Alix Whittaker and Kate Prior - and all 12 producers who worked so hard throughout the year.


Vista Film Marketing Programme

Daffodils, a soon-to-be produced New Zealand musical feature film won the annual Vista Film Marketing competition. The prize, which was awarded at the final session of the Vista marketing programme, contributes $75,000 to the film’s marketing budget.  Last year’s winner was quirky flockumentary, Pecking Order and the inaugural prize went to Chasing Great: Richie McCaw.

In Daffodils, a young couple's love and marriage is celebrated and tested in a heart-aching drama featuring beautiful re-imaginings of iconic New Zealand songs.  The film, written by Rochelle Bright, is produced by Richard Fletcher and will be directed by David Stubbs.

Daffodils will start production in February 2018 and will be released in New Zealand and Australia by Transmission Films in 2019.

You can read more about the Vista Film Marketing Programme here.


Te Puna Ataata New Zealand Film Heritage Trust

The New Zealand Production Fund Trust has been repurposed to become Te Puna Ataata, the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust.

Filmmakers can appoint the charitable trust to act as guardian of their films, ensuring they remain accessible to audiences into the future.  The Trust can be granted ownership of a film’s rights, or appointed to manage them within pre-determined parameters.

The Trust was launched at an event at Government House on 20 November, with many of the filmmakers and representatives of films  whose films are being entered into the Trust in attendance.

Films that have been entered into the Trust include Utu, Once Were Warriors, Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tail and The Māori Merchant of Venice as well as John O’Shea’s Pacific Films collection and Gaylene Preston’s collection.

You can read more about the Trust here.


In Cinemas Now

Kiwi Christmas, is written by Dave Armstrong, Andrew Gunn and Tony Simpson, and directed by Simpson. Fed up with the materialism of Christmas, Santa runs away to New Zealand for a summer holiday. When two Kiwi kids figure out who he is, they have to get him back to the North Pole in time for Christmas.

Kiwi Christmas was released on 30 November by Madman Entertainment.  You can view the trailer here.


Festival News

Pecking Order has been selected to screen in the Perth Festival's Lotterywest Films section from 26 December until mid-January.

Festival programmers said of the film, “It’s a lovely, daggy documentary from New Zealand about chook fanciers. It’s set in this strange world of the Christchurch Poultry Club and they’re preparing for the national show and it’s about political rivalry. It’s quite silly and full of real quirky, real-life characters. It’s like (the 2000 mockumentary film) Best in Show but it’s real, it’s not fake."

One Thousand Ropes screened at the Tertio Millennio Film Festival in Rome on 13 December.

My Year With Helen has been doing a series of special screenings internationally. In the UK these screenings included ones held at the Genesis Cinema in London, the Duke of York’s Cinema in Brighton, and at the United Nations Association in London

In the USA, Kiwi Landing Pad screened the film  in San Francisco and the Women @ Google hosted a screening in Mountain View, California.

Closer to home, the Breast Cancer Foundation hosted a screening in Rarotonga, and the film screened at the Human Rights Film Festival in Suva, Fiji.

In short film festival news, Auckland-based writer-director, Bill Bleakley attended the 62nd Cork Film Festival with his film, A Birthday Party.

Alt Alt Alt Alt  

Partnership with Universal Pictures and MRC’s film Mortal Engines

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and Education New Zealand (ENZ) have partnered with Universal Pictures, MRC and Hungry City Limited on the upcoming film Mortal Engines as a part of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant 5% uplift. The large-scale production of Mortal Engines is of great significance for the New Zealand screen industry, with production taking place entirely in New Zealand.

The announcement comes as the teaser trailer for the film was released—revealing the first look at the epic feature film by New Zealand Director Christian Rivers and Producers Zane Weiner, Amanda Walker, Deborah Forte, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson.

The filmmakers and studios chose New Zealand to film Mortal Engines due to New Zealand’s world class crew, talent, technicians and facilities. Director Christian Rivers also knew that Kiwis were exceptional world builders. He said:

“It’s a testament to the skill, talent and imagination of New Zealand crews that they are able to completely fabricate these other worlds that have never been seen before. Our crews are extraordinary.”

Mortal Engines opens worldwide in December 2018 and you can view the teaser trailer here.


Congratulations go to....

Tusi Tamasese and the One Thousand Ropes team on being awarded the jury prize at the Hawaii International Film Festival's NETPAC awards.  

The jury commented, “One Thousand Ropes is a landmark film in indigenous cinema: fearlessly independent, immune to the seductiveness of popular or commercial cinema, and a step forward in Tusi Tamasese's search for authenticity in representing the lives of Samoans today."

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web which received a special mention at the 11th Asia Pacific Film Awards.  Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, from NZ co-producer David Jowsey won Best Feature Film and should also be congratulated.

New Plymouth teenager Hollie Cohen, whose film Archie, beat 20 other films to win Outlook to Someday's Someday Challenge, which asks young people to make short sustainability-related films of any genre, filmed with any camera and of any length up to five minutes.

It was the first time Cohen had entered any film making contest and she won the contest's Supreme Award as well as the Villainesse Young Women's Filmmaker Award. You can view her film here.

Zoe McIntosh and the team behind short film, The World in Your Window on winning the People's Choice Award at this year's Show Me Shorts Film Festival.

Korean Kiwi producer Wonjo Jeong for his new role as executive producer on Park Chan-wook's BBC adaptation of John le Carre's  The Little Drummer Girl.

Alt Alt Alt  

China News

Three NZFC staff attended the Tripartite Economic Alliance Summit in Guangzhou in early November, to support a wide range of Auckland screen industry companies to stimulate Auckland/LA/Guangzhou activity. Screen Auckland’s Michael Brook and the NZFC's Chris Payne each gave presentations at a Summit conference session focused on the film and animation sectors.

The trio travelled on to Shanghai and Beijing with Tripartite screen sector participants and other New Zealand industry.  In both cities the Film Commission co-hosted dinners with Vista China to celebrate successes in the China-New Zealand screen sector relationship, farewell Dave Gibson and reinforce the NZFC’s commitment to collaboration with China.  These events were attended by leading Chinese filmmakers, exhibitors, distributors, talent agents, studio executives and government officials along with New Zealand production, post, VR/AR and other industry professionals.

Chinese interest in New Zealand continues to be high.

Alt Alt  

Other Asia News

Head of International Relations, Chris Payne travelled to Seoul and Tokyo, with a day-trip to Busan to meet our sister agency, the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), following his China visit.  While in Seoul he met with leading Korean producers, visited top post and e-sports facilities, and met with the Mayor of Seoul and with the Korean competent authorities for New Zealand-Korean TV co-productions. 

In Tokyo meetings were arranged in tandem with the New Zealand and Japanese Embassies, which included leading film producers, screen agencies, game industry executives, digital innovators, academics and government/diplomatic officials.  Japan is close to signing a co-production agreement with China, and is very keen to engage more with international partners.

Photo: Chris Payne and Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester, in Seoul.


Fresh Shorts Funding Announcement

Seven films have been offered funding in the June Fresh Shorts round, four at the $10,000 level,  three at the $30,000 level and one at $20,000.

At the $10,000 level:

Writer/Director Hemut Marko, Producers Joshua Rollo and Nua Finau

In the ancient times of the Papua New Guinea highlands, a meek gardener leads the weakened warriors of his dying village on a mission to retrieve a sacred artefact stolen by a fearsome rival tribe.

Writer/Director Alexander Liu, Benjamin vander Laar

In a world eternally blanketed in thick, deadly smog, a grieving woman attempts to make contact with other survivors to escape a secluded farmhouse and leave her abusive husband behind.

Stella's Tarantella
Writer/Director Alison Titulaer, Producer Raluca Cozariuc

Stella sets out on date with her husband of 63 years, capturing the imagination of a young waitress, evoking colourful memories of the couple’s first encounter, only to reveal why this date is their last.

At the $20,000 level:

Hey Brainy Man
Writer/Director Jo Randerson, Producers Jeremy Macey and Loren Taylor

From a loser’s perspective, one of our prehistoric ancestors tells us how we’re doing: a performance appraisal for humankind. Homo habilis loves our achievements - but wants to check we know what we’re doing. Do we?

At the $30,000 level: 

Writer/Director Sam Giil, Producer Evie Mackay

Fetch is an animated dramedy short film about a man and his dog living aboard a spaceship, which malfunctions and starts breaking apart. It’s up to the dog to use his wits, his will and his waggly tale to save his master’s life.

Writer/Director Jessica Smith, Producer Tom Boniface-Webb

FLIP is a sci-fi, action/adventure film about a mother and a daughter kept prisoner in a post-apocalyptic compound, who must destroy their oppressor in order to escape.

Sun Gods
Writer/Director Kath Akuhata-Brown, Producer Hiona Henare

Paradise is a young single pregnant mother living on the bones of her ass. Her boyfriend is locked up in maximum security and her mother wants nothing to do with her. Desperate for help, Paradise finds solace in her young children, the two people in the world that love her unconditionally.


Strategic Training Fund Announcements

The Strategic Training Fund allows the NZFC to develop strategic partnerships with organisations to deliver industry level training and development programmes. This strategic fund enables the NZFC to better support needs based training and skills development.

The following organisations recently recieved funding through the Strategic Training Fund.

• Script to Screen: Year two of their two-year programme
• Equity Foundation NZ: Year two of their two-year programme
• Directors/ Editors Guild NZ
• Doc Edge
• NZ Cinematographers Society
• The Screen Industry Guild Aotearoa
• Miramar Creative/ Wrestler


Research and Reports

The NZFC's Annual Report was recently released, offering a comprehensive view of the work done by the organisation over the 2016/17 financial year.  You can read the Annual Report here.

Complementing the Annual Report is the Briefing to Incoming Ministers (BIM) we published to give the Ministers in the new Labour Government an overview of the work the New Zealand Film Commission does.  You can read the BIM here.

A report commissioned by the NZFC and undertaken by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) uses economic modelling to demonstrate the economic impact of the screen industry, and in particular the value of the NZSPG in attracting international screen projects to New Zealand. 

You can read the NZIER Report here.


A Wrinkle in Time Trailer Released

A stunning new trailer for Disney's  A Wrinkle in Time has been released.  The film, which shot scenes in and around Queenstown earlier this year, will be in theatres, 9 March 2018.

You can view the trailer here.


New to NZ Film On Demand

Predicament, Kiwi Flyer and Ever the Land have been added to NZ Film On Demand, the NZFC's video-on-demand platform, and are now available to stream or download-to-own.

There are now over 100 feature and short films available at NZ Film On Demand.


Feature Film Festival & Market Travel Funding

A reminder to let our International team know if you’ll be attending Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlin, FILMART, Beijing or any other upcoming international film festivals, markets or summits during early 2018. The process for applying for contributory travel funding assistance is outlined on our Producer International Travel Assistance page.  Please contact international@nzfilm.co.nz with any queries. Early applications for contributory travel funding are encouraged.



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

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