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Wednesday, 6 September 2017


Toronto International Film Festival

Two New Zealand feature films and one short have been selected to premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival (TiFF).  Nic Gorman’s debut feature, Human Traces, will have its North American premiere in the festival's Discovery section. Anthology film, Waru, written and directed by nine Māori women, writer/ directors Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen and Paula Jones, director Awanui Simich-Pene and writer Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu, will have its international premiere also in the Discovery section.  Short film, Waiting, written by Samuel Kamu and directed by Amberley Jo Aumua will screen in the festival’s Short Cuts section.

Human Traces and Waru both had their world premieres at the recent New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF). Human Traces then screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Waiting also screened at the NZIFF and was the winner of the The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film.

Human Traces actor, Vinnie Bennett, has been selected as one of the four international actors for the Toronto Film Festival's Rising Stars.  TiFF Rising Stars is a programme that showcases new talent, putting the emphasis on the next generation of actors poised for international success.

You can read more about the films and TiFF here.

On the industry front, New Zealand producers will take part in the acclaimed International Financing Forum (IFF), which brings together selected international and Canadian producers with international sales agents, US distributors, agents, equity financiers and executive producers for brokered meetings and exclusive networking opportunities. WhyWeMarch.film, a documentary feature from New Zealand producer Fiona Copland and directed by Annie Goldson and Leanne Pooley, is one of this year’s Featured Projects.

We’re also partnering with the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) and Screen Australia on the first edition of CoCreate—a bespoke co-production summit and networking event for producers from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Ontario.

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Production Funding Decisions

The Board considered and approved one application for production financing at the August Board meeting.

Guns Akimbo
A man's mundane existence is turned upside-down when he finds himself enrolled on a dark net website that forces complete strangers to fight in a city-wide game of death, so that their gladiatorial battles can be live-streamed worldwide to a fanatical audience…at first he manages to avoid conflict, but eventually must overcome his fears and stop running. A German/New Zealand co-production, Guns Akimbo is an action-comedy written and directed by Jason Lei Howden and produced by Tom Hern, Joe Neurauter and Felipe Marino.


BFI London Film Festival

Tusi Tamasese's One Thousand Ropes and Toa Fraser's 6 Days will screen in October's BFI London Film Festival.

Written and directed by Tusi Tamasese and produced by Catherine Fitzgerald, One Thousand Ropes is the story of a father re-connecting with his youngest daughter and putting to rest the ghosts that haunt them.  

Written by Glenn Standring, directed by Toa Fraser and produced by Matthew Metcalfe, 6 Days is based on the actual events of April 1980 when six armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy at London’s Princes Gate, taking 26 people hostage.

You can read more about the films and the festival here.

The BFI London Film Festival rund 4-15 October.

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Local Releases

There are plenty of New Zealand films releasing across the country in the next few weeks.  Mark your diaries so you don't miss one.

My Year With Helen offers a behind-the-scenes human view of the inner workings of global power. With unique access to high-ranking candidate Helen Clark, Preston follows proceedings as the United Nations chooses a new Secretary General.

Directed by Gaylene Preston and produced by Preston and Catherine Madigan, My Year With Helen opened on 31 August and is released by Transmission Films.  You can view the trailer here.

6 Days is an action thriller based on the true events of April 1980 when armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in London and took 26 people hostage.

Written by Glenn Standring, directed by Toa Fraser and produced by Matthew Metcalfe, 6 Days hits cinemas on 7 September, released by Transmission Films.  You can view the trailer here.

Spookers tells the story of a quirky and close-knit family of New Zealand sheep farmers who transform their lives to open the most successful scare park in the Southern Hemisphere; facing their fears so others can face theirs.

Directed by Florian Habicht, written by Habicht, Peter O'Donoghue and Veronica Gleeson and produced by Lani-rain Feltham, Nick Batzias and Suzanne Walker, Spookers is being released by Madman Entertainment and will be in cinemas from 14 September. You can view the trailer here.

Based on the novel by Margaret Mahy and set in post-earthquake Christchurch,The Changeover is a supernatural thriller about a troubled teenager who must become a witch in order to destroy an ancient spirit sucking the life out of her little brother.

Written by Stuart McKenzie, directed by Miranda Harcourt and McKenzie and produced by Emma Slade, The Changeover will be released by Vendetta Films on 28 September. You can view the trailer here.

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imagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival

Waru has been selected to open the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest presenter of indigenous screen content.

You can read more about Waru and imagineNATIVE here.

Eight New Zealand short films have also been selected to screen at the festival, two Fresh Shorts, three independently funded and two developed through NZFC devolved development schemes Native Slam (in conjunction with the Maoriland Film Festival) and Aho Shorts (in partnership with Ngā Aho Whakaari).

  • Maria written by Taofia Plesasa, directed by Jerry Tauamiti and produced by Karin Williams.
  • Possum written and directed by Dave Whitehead and produced by Sadie Wilson, Paul Murphy and Whitehead
  • Meke written and directed by Tim Worrall and produced by Piripi Curtis
  • Papa written and directed by Ryan Alexander Lloyd
  • Sunday Fun Day written and directed by Diana Fuemana and produced by Jay Ryan
  • Ka Puta Ko Au directed by Renae Maihi and produced by Lara Northcroft
  • Kia Tau directed by Yamin Tun and Chris Malloy
  • Laundry written and directed by Becs Arahanga and produced by Julian Arahanga

ImagineNATIVE 2017 runs 18-22 October.

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Melbourne International Film Festival

New Zealand films were well represented at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).  Human Traces followed its NZIFF world premiere with screenings in Melbourne and was the only narrative feature from New Zealand to be selected for the festival.

Four documentaries, Annie Goldson’s Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web, Gaylene Preston’s My Year with Helen, Slavko Martinov’s Pecking Order, and Florian Habicht’s Spookers, and four short films, Rachel Ross’ Have you tried, maybe, not worrying?, Roseanne Liang’s Do No Harm, Dave Whitehead’s Possum and Zoe McIntosh’s The World In Your Window also screened in the festival.

The World in Your Window was selected as the Best Fiction Short Film at the MIFF Short Film Awards, and Pecking Order was named one of the top 10 documentaries in the festival's Audience Awards.


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Congratulations go to....

Hokianga teenager, Qianna Titore whose first short film, Natalie, screened at NZ International Film Festival. She is believed to be the youngest ever filmmaker to have a film selected for the festival.

Costa Botes and Sven Pannell for their film, Act of Kindness, winning the Best Editing award at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

Poi-E director Tearepa Kahi and producers Alexander Behse and Reikura Kahi for their film receiving the Bert Roth Award. The award, named for the late historian, is presented annually by the Labour History Project to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in New Zealand.

Director Kezia Barnett and producer Rebekah Kelly for their film, Nurse Me, being selected to screen in the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

Park Road Post Production for their work on Chinese box office-topper, Wolf Warrior II. You can read about the film here.

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Latin American Roadshow

The Latin American Roadshow of nine feature and eight short films is nearing its conclusion.

The Roadshow, a collaboration between MFAT, the NZFC and New Zealand's diplomatic posts in Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguy, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, has been a success.

Filmmakers Chris Pryor, Miriam Smith and Bryn Evans attended screenings in Cuba, Chile and Brazil and did Q & A sessions with audiences after screenings of their films.

Hip-Hoperation director Bryn Evans was delighted at the response his film received when screened to the residents of Mapuche, a tiny village in Chile.  

"...within minutes they were all laughing and were taken away by the story. It was the most profound Q&A I have ever had as many of them confessed that they had been completely moved to tears by the screening."

You can read more about the Latin American Roadshow here.

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New to NZ Film On Demand

Gregory King's A Song of Good, Juliet Bergh's Existence and Joe Hitchcock's Stick to Your Gun 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.


Premiere Pathways Deadline

Just a reminder that the next deadline for Premiere Pathways is Monday 25 September at 9am.  

Premiere Pathways is the NZFC's flexible fund designed to assist filmmakers in creating striking moving-image material to showcase their talent and help them get feature films made.

You can apply for funding to create striking moving image material provided it will directly contribute to getting a feature-length film financed and into production.


Strategic Training Fund

The Strategic Training Fund is now open for proposals.

The Strategic Training Fund involves the NZFC developing strategic partnerships with organisations to deliver industry level training and development programmes that are holistic, developmental and progressive in their approach. This strategic fund will enable the NZFC to better support needs based training and skills development. The NZFC invites proposals from training organisations and industry guilds to apply with proposals for one year.

For more information, visit our website.

The deadline for applications is Monday 2 October at 9am.


Screen Safe

ScreenSafe has been progressively developing the new Guidelines to replace the existing industry Code of Practice, with information and updated recommendations for best-practice under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which came into effect in April 2016.

Four of the five sections in the New Zealand Screen Sector Health and Safety Guidelines are now available online with a selection of new templates.  You will find them here


Feature Film Festival & Market Travel Funding

A reminder to let our International team know if you’ll be attending Toronto, Busan, AFM, SPA Screen Forever or any other upcoming international film festivals, markets or summits during the remainder of 2017.  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 travel funding are encouraged.


Staff News

Marg Lawson has joined us as Strategy and Insights Advisor. Marg will develop and deliver research and evaluation insights to support the continued strategic development and success of the industry. She works with film makers, audiences, senior leadership team, and cross-sector agencies. Marg has a background in government and private sector qualitative and quantitative research. She loves talking about how research insights can help.

Mel Read has joined the International team as Incentives Co-ordinator to Chris Tyson. Mel provides administrative support during the application process for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. Mel has previously worked in radio broadcasting and direct marketing, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Film & Theatre from Victoria University of Wellington. She has also worked as an usher for the New Zealand International Film Festival since 2003.

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

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New Zealand Film Commission