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Friday, 19 December 2014


December 2014


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Welcome to our final newsletter for 2014.

2014 has been a fantastic year for New Zealand film and next year is promising more of the same with production investment offered to five feature films at the December Board meeting and production investment now contracted for another five. A further 10 films currently have offers of production investment. These investments support the work of over 50 New Zealand filmmakers including Annie Goldson, Alison Maclean, Cliff Curtis, Leanne Saunders, Taika Waititi and Toa Fraser to name just a few.

This month we have completely overhauled our Production Financing Guidelines and introduced a new document - our Terms of Trade. These papers reflect the changes we have introduced over the last year in discussion with the industry, they clearly explain how the NZFC does business with feature film producers and they will help you deliver the strongest application possible for production financing.  We also have some minor (but important) date changes to deadlines for next year's production funding applications - the new deadline dates are detailed below and matched with the board meeting dates.

Finally, the NZFC staff and I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. We look forward to collaborating with you all again next year and assisting exciting ideas to become great films.


Dave Gibson

Our office will be closed from midday on Christmas Eve until 9am on Monday 5 January.


August - December 2014 Investment Decisions

Full details of investment decisions for this period can now be viewed on our website here


Guidelines for Feature Film Investment

To assist producers working with the NZFC to fully understand the requirements around an NZFC investment, we have completely overhauled our Feature Film Production Financing Guidelines and introduced a Terms of Trade document. The Guidelines deal with who can apply and how; and the Terms of Trade cover our standard conditions of investment.

The documents are available here.


The Dark Horse Scoops NZ Film Awards

Congratulations to all the nominees at last week’s Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards.

The Dark Horse was the big winner on the night, taking home Moas for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, as well as Best Actor for Cliff Curtis and Best Supporting Actor for James Rolleston. The film also received a Moa for Best Music Score, taking six wins from 13 nominations.

The most nominated film was The Dead Lands, with 14 nominations, receiving Moas for Best Visual Effects, Best Costume and Best Make-Up.

This year’s biggest local box-office hit, What We Do In The Shadows, won Best Self-Funded Feature as well as Best Production Design, Best Sound, and Best Supporting Actress for Jackie van Beek.

Hip-Hoperation swept the documentary section, taking Moas for Best Documentary, Best Documentary Director and Best Documentary Cinematography.

A full list of winners and nominees can be found here.

Alt Alt Alt  

Kiwis at Sundance 2015

Congratulations to the three New Zealand films heading to Sundance.

New Zealand co-productions Turbo Kid (with Canada) and Slow West (with the UK), and short film A.D. 1363, The End of Chivalry will all premiere at the Festival.

US film Z for Zachariah, which was shot in Banks Peninsula last year, will also premiere at the Festival.

Full details can be found on our website here


More Congratulations for The Dark Horse

Cliff Curtis was already a winner when he stepped on stage to receive the Best Actor award on Friday at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards.

The night before at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards held in Brisbane, Cliff received the Best Actor award for his performance in The Dark Horse.  In 2014, 36 films from 21 Asia-Pacific countries and areas received APSA nominations. Over 250 films were considered in competition from 42 countries.

The Dark Horse has also been selected to screen in the Limelight programme of the Rotterdam International Film Festival.  The Limelight programme is aimed at highlighting the major upcoming independent film releases of 2015. Other films screening in the programme include Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure, Tim Burton’s Big Eyes and Abderrahme Sissako’s Timbuktu. This will be the Dutch premiere for all films screening in the programme.


New Zealand Screen Sector Delegation to China

The NZFC led a delegation of senior New Zealand screen sector professionals, including China-focused producers and regional film office representatives, to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing in the first week of December. Dave Gibson and Head of Talent Development and Relationships, Chris Payne, represented the NZFC.

Delegates visited leading production companies and studios, government screen sector agencies, film festivals and tertiary institutions. The NZFC also partnered with Screen Auckland, Film Otago Southland/NHNZ, Grow Wellington and MFAT/NZTE on successful networking events in all three cities.

These functions brought leading figures from the Chinese screen sector together with New Zealand delegates to refresh existing relationships and forge new ties, as part of the delegation’s wider aim of stimulating China-New Zealand collaboration in a major way.

We are pleased to report strong outcomes from this delegation already – keep an eye out for further news in the near future.

Alt Alt Alt  

SPA Screen Forever/International Partnership Market (IPM)

New Zealand made a strong impression at this year's conference, with the NZFC leading a large delegation of experienced producers accompanied by NZ On Air and SPADA staff.

The NZFC partnered with SPA and SPADA on an opening night networking dinner for Australian and New Zealand producers, paving the way for further meetings during the conference.  Dave, Glenn Usmar (NZ On Air) and Richard Fletcher (SPADA/Libertine Pictures) presented a session that provided an overview of co-production with New Zealand, followed by a case study of Australia/New Zealand official co-production Project CM presented by Angela Littlejohn (Pukeko Pictures) and Rosemary Blight (Goalpost Pictures).

New Zealand producers Matthew Metcalfe and Tim Sanders also participated in several in-depth conference panel sessions, rounding out what many conference attendees noted as "the strongest New Zealand presence in years."

Alt Alt Alt  

Producer International Travel Assistance

Angela Littlejohn, Emma Slade, Paula Boock, Donna Malane, Steven O’Meagher and Victoria Spackman each received $2,500 as a contribution to participating in the International Partnership Market that ran as part of the Screen Producers Australia (SPA) Screen Forever Conference in Melbourne in November. A summary of New Zealand's participation at the Conference is below.

Jason Stutter and Kevin Stevens received a contribution of $5,000 towards their trip to Los Angeles in November to introduce their feature film, The Dead Room, to the North American market and advance their wider slate of feature film projects.

Due to the increasing number of PITA applications received by the NZFC, we are now ensuring that no one receives further travel support unless full reporting requirements for previous travel support have been met. If producers have received PITA twice within the past two years without any significant progress or outcomes with their project/s, the NZFC is unlikely to support them again without an extremely compelling reason.


Professional Development Awards

Polly Fryer received a contribution of $5,000 towards attending IDFA Docs for Sale to introduce her slate to market and broaden her international market experience.

Tom Hern received $4,370 as a contribution towards attending the Directors Guild America (DGA)/Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand (DEGNZ) Director’s Finder Screening of The Dark Horse and to take additional meetings in Los Angeles to progress his feature film slate.




The NZFC offered one-day conference pass scholarships to the AnimfxNZ conference in November. Glen Real, Chris Callus, Mata Freshwater, Paul Neason, Melanie Langlotz, Tanya Wheeler, Liz Difiore and Jonathan Teriini each received a ticket and those attending from outside the Wellington region also received travel support of $250 each.



The NZFC invited Academy Award® - nominated Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells) to AnimfxNZ in November. 

The NZFC supported the attendance of Animation Supervisor Fabian Erlinghauser in collaboration with Grow Wellington. While in New Zealand, Fabian hosted a roundtable for filmmakers at the NZFC, gave a presentation at AnimfxNZ and ran a separate workshop for children in partnership with Capital E. 

The NZFC also secured an exclusive screening of the studio’s Academy Award® - long listed second feature, Song of the Sea for AnimfxNZ delegates. The total NZFC contribution was $2,825.


Shorts Festival Travel

Nikki Si’ulepa received $2,130 as a contribution to attending screenings of Ma at Hawaii International Film Festival and Snow in Paradise at LA Skins Film Festival in Los Angeles.


He Ara Māori and Pasifika Film Pathways

The He Ara Māori and Pasifika Film Pathways Fund was established earlier this year to support experienced New Zealand writers, producers and directors of Māori and/or Pasifika heritage in the creation of distinctive feature film drama or documentary projects, shaped through their chosen development framework. 

The second He Ara panel for 2014 was chaired by Cliff Curtis and included independent filmmakers Sima Urale and Peter Burger together with NZFC staff Lisa Chatfield (Head of Development and Production) and Whetu Fala (Acting Short Film Manager). The panel received six submissions and is pleased to announce the following funding commitment:

Producer: Karin Williams

Karin’s collaborators include Victor Rodger, Te Arepa Kahi and Lani Wendt Young.

We are in the process of finalising terms with a second applicant, with details to be announced shortly.


Producers, Directors and Writers Contact Callout

The NZFC maintains a database of active, feature-credited New Zealand film producers, directors and writers who are happy for their contact details to be made available to third parties. If you would like to be listed on our publicly available database of producers, directors and writers, please email talentdev@nzfilm.co.nz with your contact details, and a confirmed list of feature film credits.

Please note, only production companies that are actively seeking proposals for new projects should submit their details as these are provided to individuals on request by the NZFC.


NZFC Funding Rounds

Production Financing Deadline Changes

We have recently made some minor but important date changes to deadlines for 2015 production financing appplications.

Our next deadline for applications to the NZFC Board for production financing is Wednesday 7 January 2015. But thereafter, we have adjusted the production financing application deadlines for 2015 as follows, with the latest changes highlighted in red.

Wednesday 7 January 2015 (for 17 February Board meeting)
Monday 23 February 2015    (for 8 April Board meeting)
Tuesday 28 April 2015          (for 10 June Board meeting)
Monday 22 June 2015           (for 5 August Board meeting)
Monday 24 August 2015       (for 7 October Board meeting)
Tuesday 27 October 2015     (for 9 December Board meeting)

Please ensure you submit your completed NZFC production financing application to us by 9am on the above dates, as late applications will not be accepted due to the high volume of applications.

Please refer to our Guidelines on our website for more information here.

Please submit all production financing enquiries and completed applications to production@nzfilm.co.nz.


Premiere Pathways - Reminder

Premiere Pathways is a new initiative aimed at supporting exciting filmmakers with distinctive voices to make compelling feature films. We take a flexible approach to funding, which might be for creative exploration and refining the director’s craft, or to assist the producer with generating market interest in the proposed feature.The deadline for the first Premiere Pathways funding round is 5pm on Monday 22 December 2014. Please refer to the Premiere Pathways page on our website for more information here.


Staff News

We are also pleased to confirm Lisa Chatfield as Head of Production and Development. Previously Short Film Manager at the NZFC, Lisa has been Acting Head of Development and Production since October last year, when previous CEO Graeme Mason exited to head Screen Australia. She has been involved with the development of most of the New Zealand films released theatrically this year and leads an experienced team of four with Christina Andreef and Sean Carley (Development Executives), Marc Ashton (Production Executive) and Linda Halle (Team Co-ordinator). Her film credits include feature film Scarfies (directed by Rob Sarkies) and short films Signing Off and Dreammakers.

This month we welcomed Kate Larkindale as Marketing Executive, the role vacated by Faith Dennis. Kate has worked in cinemas for 20 years, managing the Paramount Cinema in Courtenay Place and, more recently, the Penthouse Cinema in Brooklyn. She is a published novelist (An Unstill Life) and a film reviewer for film website Admit One. Kate started at the NZFC on Monday 1 December.

And sadly this month we farewell Acting Short Film Manager, Whetu Fala. Whetu has been at the NZFC for just over a year and has decided to return to the life of an independent producer from 24 December. We will all miss Whetu's fun and laughter, but as she will remain in Wellington, based on the Kapiti Coast, we look forward to keeping in touch. Whetu’s colleagues in the Talent Development & Relationships team will be sharing the responsibilities of the Acting Short Film Manager role prior to a recruitment process starting early in the New Year.  In the interim please direct any queries to Diana Byrne, Talent Development & Relationships Coordinator at talentdev@nzfilm.co.nz.

Long-term NZFC accountant, Janka Palinkas, has also decided to take on new challenges and will be leaving us early next year for a position at Clemenger BBDO Wellington. Janka started at the NZFC in 2004 and has been a valuable and much appreciated colleague for NZFC staff in general and CFO Mladen Ivancic in particular.  She will be sorely missed. Janka's final day is 6 January. 



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

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