FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
23 May 2016
The Directors & Editors Guild of New Zealand (DEGNZ) is delighted to announce its year-long Women Filmmaker Incubator with financial assistance from the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC).
The Incubator, launching in the second half of 2016, will comprise of five workshops designed to give up to eight emerging female directors the opportunity to build their knowledge, skills and networks as a means to advance their careers and projects in the screen industry.
“One of our goals within the NZFC’s gender policy is to encourage proposals from Guilds that support and enhance the upskilling of women in the industry,” says NZFC CEO Dave Gibson. “This programme fits that brief perfectly and compliments our 2016 Gaylene Preston Director’s Award.”
The Incubator targets women with a track record as a director in their area of focus and the intent to make their first feature or equivalent (corresponding work in TV, web series, feature documentary or drama). Applicants will have a project in development that has not yet been presented to a network or funder.
Each workshop in the programme will bring in highly successful filmmakers and experts in a stepped approach that will develop participants’ confidence and capability to engage with the screen industry as they seek to get their own projects through development and into production.
“We have been working for close to a year to put this initiative in place,” said DEGNZ Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu. “We are extremely thankful to NZFC for providing financial support that will enable us to help address gender inequality for women directors.”
For DEGNZ, the Women Filmmaker Incubator is its latest effort focused on turning around the poor statistics for women directors in television drama and feature film in New Zealand, which reflect the trend internationally.
A call for applications for the Incubator will be issued in June.
For further information, please contact:
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
The New Zealand Film Commission invests in original and culturally significant films, encourages talented New Zealand filmmakers through developing career pathways and facilitating connections offshore, and works to increase the number of people seeing New Zealand films here and overseas. It supports the growth of economic activity and helps ensure New Zealand has sustainable screen sector businesses operating within an internationally competitive screen sector. The NZFC also helps negotiate co-production treaties and certifies co-productions and New Zealand films for tax purposes. www.nzfilm.co.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.
- is 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.
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent
P.O. Box 47-294, Ponsonby
With Hunt for the Wilderpeople setting the all-time box office record in New Zealand this week, we can acknowledge the remarkable talent of Taika Waititi as a director who not only has a singular voice but also a golden touch.
Box office is one mark of success for feature films and Taika has three of the top ten New Zealand hits with Wilderpeople, Boy, and What We Do In The Shadows.
Look to that other marker of filmic success, critical acclaim, though, and our lot there has fallen while our feature fortunes have risen.
The pinnacle of critical acclaim is the Cannes Film Festival.
New Zealand hasn’t had a feature film director in competition at Cannes since Jane Campion with Bright Star in 2009.
Christine Jeffs with her film Rain was selected for the Cannes Director’s Fortnight in 2001.
We have to go back to the early nineties for the next appearance of a New Zealand director when Campion’s film The Piano won the Palme D’or in 1993, while the Stewart Main and Peter Wells directed Desperate Remedies was a Un Certain Regard entry the same year.
Alison Maclean’s Crush was in competition in 1992.
It’s left to Vincent Ward to round out our Cannes competition entries with The Navigator in 1988 and Vigil in 1984, while Sam Pillsbury’s Scarecrow was the first Kiwi at Cannes, in Directors Fortnight, in 1982.
Geoff Murphy gets a mention with Utu screening Out of Competition in 1983.
If we spread our net a little wider to the other top two auteur-driven film festivals Venice and Berlin, we increase our catch of Kiwi directors making their marks.
Adopted U.S. son Jake Mahaffy won the Orizzonti Award at Venice with Free In Deed in 2015. The same year Petra Brett Kelly’s documentary A Flickering Truth had a showing there. And in 2011, Tusi Tamasese’s The Orator was selected for Orizzonti.
Two countries over in Berlin in 2016, we get a better turnout. Lee Tamahori’s Mahana showed Out of Competition while Tammy Davis’ Born to Dance was in Generation. And it’s in Generation where we have had the rest of our success with features: Taika’s mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows in 2014, Daniel Borgman’s Weight of Elephants in 2013, as was Louis Sutherland and Mark Albiston’s Shopping. 2012 saw Petra Brett Kelly’s documentary Maori Boy Genius and Rob Sarkies’ Two Little Boys. Taika’s Boy made it there in 2010 and Armagan Ballantyne’s Strength of Water in 2009. There were other successes before 2009, too, and also in the recent addition to Berlinale, NATIVe, where there have been a number of New Zealand retrospective screenings.
That said, a New Zealand director has never had a film selected for the main competition in Berlin (as far as I can find).
Cannes, however, sits at the top of the auteur tree, and we’re obviously not punching above our weight there. So what’s up? Or is that just our due?
One experienced New Zealand producer I spoke to about it said the reasons for our lack of recent success at Cannes are many and complex. Included are that it’s very political, competition is so much more intense, and that we have a lack of true artistic voices in film. To highlight this he pointed out that those directors who have succeeded at Cannes in Vincent Ward, Jane Campion and Alison Maclean all have an arts background (Pillsbury was an English major and Jeffs an editor), which many contemporary directors these days don’t have.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed the dearth of Kiwi feature competition offerings at Cannes. Much as NZFC seems hell-bent on commercial and genre films at the moment, a nice artsy Cannes competition selection would undoubtedly go down a treat.
Kiwi film auteurs front and forward, please. Cannes and we need you.