Bryn Evans Lands Mentorship with Canadian Doco Maker Jennifer Baichwal

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FBryn EvansOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

29 January 2016

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is thrilled to announce Bryn Evans as the recipient of our International Director’s Mentorship with award winning Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal.

“I feel both excited and inspired by the prospect of being mentored by Jennifer and anticipate that it will have an immense impact on my development as a filmmaker and the project we will be developing together,” said Evans.

“Bryn has a deep understanding of documentary possibility, and a clear expertise with form, as evidenced in his earlier work,” said Baichwal. “I commend Jennifer Baichwal imagehis desire to push the boundaries, and am looking forward to being part of that creative journey.”

For more than 20 years, Jennifer Baichwal has been making award-winning and critically acclaimed documentaries with Nick de Pencier through the pair’s Toronto-based company, Mercury Films Inc.

Baichwal’s strong documentary background and international success make her an ideal mentor for Evans, whose latest documentary feature Hip Hop-eration has screened in official selection around the world, from its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam to the DocAviv Documentary International Film Festival. It has also won a slew of awards including Best Documentary at the 2014 Rialto Channel NZ Film Awards and the Audience Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

“Jennifer’s approach to documentary is different than Bryn’s prior work, which should prove challenging and highy interesting for Bryn as a filmmaker,” said Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu. “Her long experience in theatrical documentary will also give him great insights for the future.”

Currently, Baichwal is working on her latest feature documentary Anthropocene, the third in a trilogy of feature documentaries preceded by Watermark (2014) and Manufactured Landscapes (2006). Anthropocene follows an international group of geologists who want to change the name of our present interglacial epoch ‘Holocene’ to ‘Anthropocene’ in recognition of human impact.

As part of the mentorship, Jennifer will visit New Zealand to work with Bryn on developing his next project, A Season for Persimmons. This documentary delves into the story of Kiwi nurse Kathleen Hall who put herself on the line to smuggle medical supplies to the needy in China.

The mentorship is an industry professional development initiative funded by the New Zealand Film Commission and managed by DEGNZ. The overall intention of the International Director’s Mentorship is to inspire a promising New Zealand director and demystify the international film industry. The experience offers genuine insight into creative process and engagement with the industry as a whole, while providing a solid platform upon which to build an international career.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu

Executive Director

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

tui@degnz.co.nz                  021-659-950

Bryn Evans

From searing reportage of some of the world’s conflict zones to personal journeys into one’s culture, Bryn has a passion for exposing the political, social and personal stories of the world that we live in.

After a successful international career as a photojournalist Bryn made his debut documentary with ‘The Great Game – Afghanistan’ (2002) an intimate profile of the Taliban National Cricket Team and their first International tour to Pakistan.

Since returning to New Zealand in 2003 Bryn has also directed and produced numerous current affairs and documentary productions, but in 2008 made his first cinematic feature length documentary; ‘From Street to Sky’ through the support of Maori Television.

An opportunity again came in 2014 to write and direct the hugely successful documentary Hip Hop-eration, which was a local box office success and has gone on to screen at cinemas around the world.

Its world premier was at the prestigious Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA). It won the Audience Awards at it’s US premier in Santa Barbara, the Two Rivers Film Festival in Poland and picked up the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in the US. It also screened at the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlinale Film Festival market places.

Bryn’s current development slate is a reflection of his desire to work in feature length documentary – developing concepts with visual scope, entertainment value, non-conventional treatments and profoundly human, universal stories, with strong character-arcs.

Jennifer Baichwal

Jennifer Baichwal was born in Montréal and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied philosophy and theology at McGill University and received an M.A. in 1994, supported by a McGill Major Fellowship and a 2 year FCAR Master’s Scholarship.

She has been directing and producing documentaries for 15 years. Her first film, Looking You In The Back of the Head, an enquiry into the problem of personal identity, asked thirteen women to try to describe themselves and was first broadcast, to critical acclaim, on TVOntario’s From the Heart. It subsequently sold for broadcast across Canada.

Let it Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles, her first feature documentary, won a 1999 International Emmy for Best Arts Documentary. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1998 and was nominated that year for a Best Feature Documentary Genie Award. It won Best Biography at Hot Docs in 1999 and was picked up for theatrical release by Mongrel Media in Canada, Zeitgeist Films in the U.S., and Uplink in Japan. The film has been sold for broadcast all over the world, and has been selected for a number of international film and television festivals, including Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, FIPA, Banff (where it received a Rockie nomination), Istanbul and Edinburgh.

The Holier It Gets documents a trek Baichwal took with her brother and two sisters to the source of the Ganges river with her father’s ashes. The film won Best Independent Canadian Film and Best Cultural Documentary at Hot Docs 2000, Geminis for Best Editing and Best Writing and was nominated for the Donald Brittain Award and the Chalmers Documentarian Award. It was commissioned by TVOntario and features music by Ravi Shankar and John McLaughlin.

The True Meaning of Pictures is a feature length film on the work of Appalachian photographer Shelby Lee Adams. It was commissioned by TVOntario, Bravo!, SBS Australia and Discovery Germany. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2002 and was invited to the Sundance International Film Festival in January 2003. It won a Gemini award for Best Arts Documentary in 2003 and has played at numerous international festivals. The film was released on dvd by Docurama/New Video in October 2003.

Baichwal, along with Nick de Pencier, was commissioned in 2003-4 to make 40 short films on artists who have been supported over the past four decades by the Ontario Arts Council. These include writer Michael Ondaatje, artist Michael Snow, pianist Eve Egoyan and playwright Judith Thompson, and are in periodic rotation on TVOntario. The collection received a 2006 Gemini nomination for Best Direction in a Performing Arts Program or Series.

Manufactured Landscapes, a feature documentary about the work of artist Edward Burtynsky, was a co-production between Mercury Films, Foundry Films and the National Film Board. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2006 and won Best Canadian Feature Film, and has since received a number of other awards, notably a Genie for Best Documentary, Al Gore’s Reel Current Award and the 2006 Toronto Film Critics’ Award for Best Canadian Feature and Best Documentary 2006. It played theatrically in over 15 territories worldwide, after a prolonged and successful run in Canada.

Act of God, a feature documentary on the metaphysical effects of being struck by lightning and another collaboration between Mercury and Foundry, opened the Hot Docs Film Festival in April 2009 and was released in Canada afterwards by Mongrel Media. It has since played at a number of international festivals, and was released by Zeitgeist Films in the U.S. and Against Gravity in Poland. The film features Paul Auster, Dannion Brinkley and Fred Frith. It was commissioned by The Documentary Channel in Canada, Arte in France and Channel 4 in the U.K.

In 2011 Baichwal completed Payback, a documentary adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, with the National Film Board of Canada and Ravida Din (Executive Producer, Quebec Production Centre). The film premiered in World Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012 and was released in Canada (Mongrel Media) in March, 2012 and the U.S. in April, 2012.

Watermark is a feature documentary film about human interaction with water around the world and marks Baichwal and de Pencier’s second collaboration with Edward Burtynsky. The documentary is co-directed by Burtynsky, produced and filmed by de Pencier. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2013, was a box office success in Canada, playing theatres for 4 months. It won the Toronto Film Critic’s Association prize for Best Canadian Film in Jan 2014 and Best Documentary at the the Canadian Screen Awards 2014. It has been released in 10 territories around the world.

Baichwal is currently in research for another feature documentary project, Anthropocene, with Nick de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky, which will mark the third in a trilogy of collaborative films including Watermark and Manufactured Landscapes.

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is a not-for-profit membership organisation that represents Directors and Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors and Editors of feature drama and documentary; television drama, documentary and factual programmes; short films; video art; animation; commercials and web content.

DEGNZ’s two primary roles are advocacy and professional development. We:

  • are dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts of directing and editing.
  • foster collegiality and unity within the screen industry.
  • promote members’ creative and economic rights.
  • work to improve industry working conditions and remuneration.
  • offer professional advice and information on contracts and industry standards and practice.
  • offer professional development events, networking opportunities, career advice, dispute resolution, mentoring, workshops, training, discounts and regular news bulletins for members across all levels of expertise, from novices to seasoned professionals.
  • are a voice for Directors and Editors in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of the pan‐industry group SINZ (Screen Industry New Zealand), and by making submissions to government and public officials.
  • Internationally work co-operatively with other guilds and we belong to the International Affiliation of English‐Speaking Directors’ Organisations (IEASDO).

DEGNZ is Auckland-based with an office in Grey Lynn.

Contact Details:

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn

P.O. Box 47-294, Ponsonby

Auckland

+64-9-360-2102

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DEGNZ Selects presents: Q&A with top international commercials director Nathan Price

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12552627_996680270395060_2176457399509815033_nDEGNZ is thrilled to announce our second ‘Selects’ event with commercials director Nathan Price on Wednesday February 3rd.

Nathan was ranked as one of the top 10 directors in Asia/Australasia, has taken out Cannes Lions Emmy Awards, and has directed ads for some of the world’s biggest brands including Honda, Samsung and Cadbury, as well as Sky, Royal London, T-Mobile, and a little closer to home, State Insurance. See some of his work here: http://www.nathanprice.com/ 

Nathan will discuss rising up as a film maker in the ad business and what he’s learnt along the way about being a good ad maker. It’s not just for those working in the world of commercials – there will be plenty of interest to all film makers. 

The Q&A will be facilitated by DEGNZ board member and commercials director Kezia Barnett.

Please indicate your attendance on our Facebook event page here. Arrive at 7 for a 7.30 start.

DEGNZ members free, non-members $5 koha.

Welcome to 2016!

Welcome to 2016!

Netflix is taking over the entertainment world, and will spend US$6 billion on original content this year. Even Sir PJ has gotten behind a Netflix series – Making A Murderer. The competition is making studio execs quake in their Louboutins.

This year’s Academy Awards Best Picture noms paint a rosy picture of the world: sexual enslavement, pedophilia, pain porn, greed, political persecution, post-apocalyptic hell, and cold war. Thank God for the aberrant Ridley Scott. The Oscars will be missing black actor and female director nominations, and Harvey Weinstein. Spike Lee is going to boycott them, David Oyelowo has lambasted them, but equal pay advocate Jennifer Lawrence will be over Joy-ed to be there.

China is big on everybody’s radar and Hollywood is big on China’s, with Legendary Pictures the first to be bought. Five years after the China – New Zealand Film Coproduction Treaty was signed we are inching closer to our first official coproduction. Wonder of wonders.

Ash vs Evil Dead has risen again. Ghost In The Shell is painting Wellington town Scarlett. The Hobbi… I mean Shannara is looking good for a further run. There may well be sharks in Henderson this year, and I don’t mean more car dealers and finance companies.

TV3 is in the proverbial, SKY according to some will die, Current Affairs TV has moved to Radio New Zealand weekday afternoons, and TVNZ’s presenter fashion creates more buzz than its programming.

We should see a crop of Kiwi films hit the screen this year, including Mahana (Lee Tamahori), Beyond the Known World (Pan Nalin), Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi), Inland Road (Jackie Van Beek), Human Traces (Nick Gorman), A Thousand Ropes (Tusi Tamasese), The Rehearsal (Alison Maclean), Chief Gary (The Downlow Concept), The End Game (Justin Pemberton) and Tickled (David Farrier/Dylan Reeve). Does this mean we’ll have enough films to have a film awards this year, at the bargain basement ticket price of… How much this time?!

Leanne Pooley’s 25 April gets a February US premiere in Santa Barbara.  Rebecca Tainsley’s Crossing Rachmaninoff gets FIPA-ed. Tammy Davis’s Born to Dance does the Berlin boogie. Wilderpeople and Tickled do some Sundancing. And Taika gets a chance to make up for the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

The Business Development Scheme kicked off in 2013 with Libertine Pictures, followed by the Gibson Group, Field Theory Media and General Film Corporation. Perhaps 2016 will show how enterprising an idea that was.

NZ On Air and NZFC are going to be doing their work with the same money, or less. Again. Buy more Lotto tickets, please.

At the NZ On Air Christmas party in December, Chair Miriam Dean spoke of challenging times ahead. Understandable with Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams purportedly a believer in broadcasting as a sunset industry. Life would be poorer without sunsets, I say.

CEO Dave Gibson at the film commish is positive. Graeme Mason’s decisions there have pretty much run their course. From now on the NZFC slate bears the Gibson imprint. We have five planets aligning in the skies above. We should start to see the same occurring on the ground from here on in if all is well. Otherwise, we’ll all be hopping from stepping stone to stepping stone without a riverbank in sight.

We have challenges and more at DEGNZ, too. Some good news first.

We will run two more mentorships this year on top of our regular, intensive professional development programme, and at least one additional TV Drama director attachment. We await with bated breath further good news.

On the downside–while illegal downloading Internet trolls fail to understand the importance for creators of protecting copyright, we at DEGNZ do. Unless Netflix and others pay princely sums for global rights when buying programming, territory sales are what keep many a filmmaker and production company alive. Would all those film and TV industry people out there streaming illegal content please stop. You’re just shooting yourselves in your feet.

More important right now for DEGNZ however is getting copyright for directors. This is perhaps our biggest challenge, will require major battles, and likely will take years with a slim chance of success the way things currently stack up. Hopefully our Aussie cohorts at the ADG crack the door open.

Funding remains a crucial issue. NZFC is tightening up, and there aren’t too many other places to go for cash. A doubling of our membership would help, so do encourage your friends to join. It would be nice to see a few more films paying their NZFC investment back. The trickle-down effect might then eventually come to the guilds.

Personally, I’m a proponent of art for art’s sake while also an advocate for financial survival. Films do need to find an audience bigger than you, your family and friends.

On the upside, although the film market remains tough worldwide, screen content for streaming services is in $6 billion and more demand. And in a recent analyst note from Goldman Sachs, the banking firm estimates the Virtual Reality market for both hardware and software will generate $172 billion in 10 years – somebody has to make the content. And, yes, VR porn will be big, too.

Ch… ch… ch… changes. The more things change the more they remain the same.

So, my crystal ball gazing for 2016? It’s going to be a great year. Or not. Either way, we’re in for a hell of a ride. Hopefully smoother than NZ90 out of Tokyo.

On a more somber note I’d like to close with a quote from the great Alan Rickman who recently passed; the man often named as the best screen villain of all time. I think it captures why we are all in this crazy business:

“A film, a piece of music, a piece of theatre, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”

May your output be transformational this year.

Rest in peace David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey. Your efforts helped make our world better.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Rialto Film Talks: Crossing Rachmaninoff and Mahana

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2016 is here and that means more fascinating Film Talks to attend at Rialto Cinemas.

Coming up in February we have special screenings of both Crossing Rachmaninoff, directed by DEGNZ member Rebecca Tansley, and Mahana, directed by Lee Tamahori. After each screening there will be a Q&A with special guests, with the Auckland events moderated by a board member of DEGNZ.

Details are as follows:

Crossing Rachmaninoff
Thursday 18
February Rialto Newmarket
6.15pm
Special guests director Rebecca Tansley and pianist/documentary subject Flavio Vallani

Mahana
Wednesday 24 February
Rialto Newmarket
6pm
Special guests author Witi Ihimaera & Producer Robin Scholes

Mahana
Tuesday 1 March
Rialto Cinemas Dunedin
6.30pm
Special guest lead actor Temuera Morrison

We look forward to seeing you there!

Call for Applications: International Editing Mentorship with Dany Cooper

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 Dany Cooper Dany Cooper ASE headshot

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) invites applications from mid-career editors with significant drama experience to apply for an International Editor’s Mentorship with multiple award-winning Australian editor Dany Cooper.

This is an opportunity for a New Zealand editor with proven talent to benefit from collegial advice and international support as they move to the next stage of their career. You do need to be a full member of DEGNZ to apply.

The mentorship offers 20 – 30 hours of Dany’s time, some by Skype and some in person, between now and the end of the year.

Dany has recently completed editing Holding the Man for Goalpost Pictures, for which she won her fourth ASE award. Other recent credits include Deadline Gallipoli, Redfern Now, Puberty Blues, Paranoia and The Sapphires. Her international work includes TV miniseries Battlestar Galactica, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award, Warner Bros feature Queen of the Damned and In Too Deep for Miramax/Dimension.

She is currently editing Measure of a Man (working title) for Jim Loach, starring Donald Sutherland, Blake Cooper, Luke Wilson and Judy Greer.

Click here for a full list of Dany’s credits.

Dany has also mentored at the Australian Film Television and Radio School and held the position of President of the Australian Screen Editors Guild from 2014 to mid 2015.

To apply, please provide:

  1. A maximum one-page letter about why you should be chosen and what you hope to gain from the mentorship.
  2. A CV.
  3. Up to 3 examples online of past work (not showreel).
  4. Your DEGNZ membership number.

Only FULL DEGNZ members may apply. If you are not a member and wish to join, you can do so here: www.degnz.co.nz/join/
Applications should be submitted electronically to admin@degnz.co.nz no later than 9am, Tuesday 9 February.

This initiative is brought to you with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission.