Oscar-Nominated and Emmy Award-Winning Editor to Mentor Peter O’Donoghue

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The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) is thrilled to announce Peter O’Donoghue as the recipient of our 2017 International Editor Mentorship with Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning American documentary editor Doug Blush.

“I’m thrilled at the prospect of working with someone as prolific and talented as Doug,” said O’Donoghue. “His output is gargantuan and his passion for the craft is truly invigorating. Needless to say I plan to squeeze all I can from this great opportunity.”

“I’m very excited to work with Peter O’Donoghue,” said Blush. “We immediately bonded, talking about our mutual appreciation for great storytelling in documentary and challenging and pushing the genre to try new techniques and ideas in editorial and much more.”

Peter is well known for his work with NZ director Florian Habicht. Their first film together was Land of the Long White Cloud in 2008. Their 2011 co-written feature film Love Story (shot in New York) won Best Film, Best Director (Florian) and Best Editor (Peter) at the 2011 New Zealand Film & Television Awards. Their 2014 collaboration – Pulp: a Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets is a UK production showcasing the iconic Brit-pop band Pulp, their enigmatic front man Jarvis Cocker, and their roots in the northern industrial town of Sheffield. Peter was again co-writer and editor. The film had its world premiere at SXSW 2014 in Austin, Texas, and has played in numerous festivals since. It won Best Music Film at the NME 2015 Music Awards in London. Their latest co-written effort is documentary feature Spookers, completed In September 2016.

Doug is an award winning documentary director, editor, cinematographer, and writer who has edited a wide range of major theatrically released documentaries, including crossword puzzle culture Wordplay, the national debt crisis I.O.U.S.A., the hypocrisy of closeted gay politician in Outrage, corporate David and Goliath battles in Beer Wars, and the adaptation of the popular book Freakonomics. He recently was co-writer and editor of the Sundance 2011 Premiere documentary These Amazing Shadows, and consulting editor for the Sundance 2011 Competition documentary Troubadours, as well as executive producer and co-editor of Superheroes in the 2011 Slamdance Documentary Competition and on HBO. In 2012, The Invisible War, which he edited and associate produced with director Kirby Dick, won the Sundance Audience Award and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary.

“Doug and Peter seemed like the ideal match for a mentorship, with each being at major points in their careers,” said Tui Ruwhiu, Executive Director of DEGNZ. “We are excited to see where Peter goes with the knowledge, expertise and career advice that Doug brings in documentary filmmaking.”

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 Editor Mentorship is to inspire a promising New Zealand editor 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

Peter O’Donoghue is an award-winning editor / filmmaker from NZ based in Sydney, Australia. He has been working in film and television since 2006 on projects in Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, the U.S. and the UK.
With a background originally in music and writing, picture editing has now become Peter’s main passion – where storytelling, rhythm, atmosphere, music and sound all come together to bring the most out of a project’s vision and material. He also works as a screenwriter and has directed one long-form documentary and two short dramas.
In 2012-2013 Peter was editor on ABC Australia’s landmark documentary series First Footprints (broadcast July/August 2013), produced and directed by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler. As well as co-editing the ABC series with Tania Nehme, his work included a cut down of the 4 episodes to a 2-ep version for Arte France and a 90 minute festival version.
From 2011 to 2013, Peter directed and edited the 52-minute documentary Happy Everyday: Park Life in China, an upbeat reflection on self-censorship among retirees in the closely monitored public spaces of Beijing and Shanghai. The film was financed by South Australia Film Corporation and released in July 2013. It is represented by broadcast sales agent PBS International.
In 2014 Peter worked as co-editor on Chris Pryor and Miriam Smith’s new documentary feature The Ground We Won., about the exploits of a rural NZ rugby team. The film opened theatrically in NZ in May 2015 amid glowing reviews.

Doug Blush A.C.E. is an award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer who has worked on over fifty feature documentaries and TV programmes, and has been nominated five times for Best Editing at the Sundance Film Festival.
Doug’s recent credits include the Oscar-winning theatrical hit 20 Feet From Stardom, directed by Morgan Neville, which won him an ACE Eddie Award for Best Documentary Editing. Doug was editor and associate producer of 2012’s Academy Award nominated and double Emmy Award winning The Invisible War, directed by Kirby Dick, and worked with the same team on the Oscar-shortlisted film The Hunting Ground. His latest films as supervising editor include The Music of Strangers and Jim, which won the Audience Award at Sundance 2016 and aired on HBO.
He also co-directed Of Two Minds with wife Lisa Klein, which won both the 2013 EIC Prism and SAHMSA Voice Awards for excellence in films on mental health issues. He is working on a follow-up film with Lisa, The S Word, highlighting the rising activism of suicide survivors against silence and stigma.
Doug has been a visiting professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Syracuse University and Malaysia Multimedia University, and has taught across Indonesia with the Sundance Institute.

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
admin@degnz.co.nz
www.degnz.co.nz
www.facebook.com/degnz
www.linkedin.com/in/degnz
@degnz_online

The Rehearsal Room Wraps for 2016

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Another fun Rehearsal Room went down in Auckland with Peter Feeney back to moderate! It is always a treat to have Peter share his insights and everyone felt supported to get the most out of the day. Check out some photos below.

This marks our last ever Rehearsal Room workshop for the year. Make sure you keep an eye out in 2017 when it returns!

RR23 01 RR23 02 RR23 03

Cathy MacDonald Selected For Director Attachment On Shortland Street

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The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ), NZ On Air and South Pacific Pictures Limited (SPP) are delighted to announce DEGNZ member and director Cathy MacDonald as the TV Drama Director Attachment on Shortland Steet.

“Shortland Street is an important training ground for drama directors and I’m so chuffed to be a part of it. Huge thanks to the very generous Geoff Cawthorn and Maxine Fleming for the opportunity,” said MacDonald.

“Cathy has made a significant effort to advance her career as a film and TV drama director,” said Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu. “This attachment on Shortland Street is another major step toward her achieving her goals, and we are thrilled to be able to assist her in this.”

Cathy has over 15 years experience as a director in short film, television and advertising. She has won nearly 20 international awards for my work as a writer/director of promos and branded content including Young Creative at Promax Europe, Best Director at Promax World, Best Campaign at Promax World, and Best Director nominee at the New York Festivals. Her short films have been selected at 12 festivals including BAFTA and Academy Awards qualifiers Encounters Film Festival (Bristol), London International Documentary Festival, Rushes Soho Shorts (London), and Show Me Shorts (NZ).

A fast-paced serial drama in an urban setting, Shortland Street explores the lives and loves of the patients and staff of a modern metropolitan hospital and contains a heady mix of medical crisis, human drama, comedy, romance and suspense. First airing in 1992, Shortland Street celebrates 24 years on air in 2015. With around 40% of all viewers tuning in every night, Shortland Street is regularly the number one show in target demographics 18-39 and Household Shoppers with children. As well as being New Zealand’s most successful serial drama, the show screens in several international territories including Fiji, Australia and Ireland.

MacDonald is now the fifth DEGNZ member director to attach to a New Zealand TV drama series, and the third woman. Started in 2015, the initiative has seen actor and director Matthew Saville attach to director Ric Pellizarri on Screentime’s telefeature Bombshell: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, actor and director Aidee Walker shadow director Michael Hurst on SPP’s Westside series, director Jamie Lawrence join director Peter Burger on Filthy Productions’ series Dirty Laundry, and director Helena Brooks shadowed Mark Beasley on SPP’s The Brokenwood Mysteries.

The TV Drama Attachment initiative is an industry professional development activity funded by NZ On Air and the production company involved and managed by DEGNZ. It is intended to give emerging drama directors the opportunity to shadow an experienced director through the pre-production, production and post-production process as a means to improve their craft skills.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
tui@degnz.co.nz
021-659-950

Cathy MacDonald was trained by the BBC Academy in Working with Actors, Health and Safety and Directing Drama. She attended screenwriting courses at London’s Raindance Academy, and in 2011 won the $30K International Graduate Scholarship to do a Masters of Screenwriting at Central St Martins College London. In 2012 she was funded by Real Ideas Studio California to create a short documentary and attend the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Back in New Zealand, in 2013 she attended the Script to Screen Short Film Lab where I developed my short narrative drama The December Shipment. In 2014 she self-funded the film and with it made the final shortlist from a global list of nearly 4000 directors in the $150KLexus Short Film Competition. This year she’s gained representation by Sunday Punch, the TVC production arm of The Downlow Concept.

South Pacific Pictures is New Zealand’s largest screen production company and has an international reputation for producing world-class television and film. The company is in its 28th year of operation and to date has produced more than 5000 hours of programming. Drama series and serials, feature films, and more recently, entertainment, reality programming, factual series and documentaries are all part of the programming mix. The current slate includes work for New Zealand, Australian, Canadian and European broadcasters.

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.

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

admin@degnz.co.nz

www.degnz.co.nz

www.facebook.com/degnz

www.linkedin.com/in/degnz

@degnz_online

 

What’s Happening to Your Screen Tax Payer Dollars?

I was at the Screen Producers Australia – Screen Forever conference last week in Melbourne. An interesting issue was brought up by highly regarded independent Australian producer Trish Lake, who highlighted the fact that many of the primetime slots on Australian TV and large chunks of Australian taxpayer funding distributed by Screen Australia are taken by non-Australian companies, i.e., companies that once were Australian but have been bought out by foreign entities, an example being one of Australia’s most prolific production companies Matchbox Pictures, which is owned by NBC Universal. Trish feels that foreign-owned companies should not be accessing discretionary Screen Australia funding. She is not alone in this.

In New Zealand we now have five of the largest TV production companies foreign-owned: NHNZ by Fox International, South Pacific Pictures by the U.K’s all3media (who also own 50% of Satellite Media and 51% of Kura Productions), Screentime by the French Banijay Group, the former Eyeworks Touchdown by U.S. studio Warner, and Greenstone by Australian outfit CJZ.

Two Australian companies—Matchbox Pictures and See Saw Films have recently set up here, but not received NZ On Air funding to date.

I decided to take a look at the primetime slots (7 – 9:30PM) across the mainstream TV channels (1, 2, 3, Prime) to see who did what this week (Wed. 23rd – Tues. 29th Nov.). Here’s what I found with the New Zealand-made shows that aired:

NZ Broadcasters
Stripped shows
Seven Sharp, Current Affairs – TVNZ
Story, Current Affairs – TV3
The Crowd Goes Wild, Sports – SKY on Prime

Series
Country Calendar, Documentary – TVNZ
Fair Go, Consumer Affairs – TVNZ
First Dates NZ, Reality- TVNZ
The Friday Story, Light Ent. – TV3

Foreign-owned independents
Stripped shows
Shortland Street, Drama – South Pacific Pictures/all3media

Series
The Brokenwood Mysteries, Drama – South Pacific Pictures/all3media
Police Ten 7, Reality – Screentime/Banijay
Motorway Patrol, Reality – Greenstone/CJZ
Our Big Blue Backyard, Documentary – NHNZ/Fox

NZ Independents
Series
Dirty Laundry, Drama –Filthy Productions
Terry Teo, Comedy – Semi-Professional

The foreign-owned independents certainly seem to dominate primetime this week.

To see what was happening with NZ On Air funding I went back through the last four funding announcements in 2016 to see who got how much across all timeslots, not just primetime shows:

Broadcasters…………………………………………………………………… $4,044,942       11.00%
Foreign owned Independents……………………………………….. $11,403,637       30.98%
NZ Independents…………………………………………………………… $20,732,213       58.02%

Total funding allocated (Mar to Sept. 2016 rounds)………..$36,805,774      100.00%

NB:

  1. Satellite Media received funding so I split it equally between Foreign and NZ
  2. Funding this year does’nt relate to programming this year.

While NZ independents took the biggest slice of the cake in 2016, foreign-owned independents took a not unsubstantial 31 per cent of the money available for shows on 1, 2, 3 and Prime.

I thought I would also take a look at what foreign-owned companies have received from NZ On Air for mainstream broadcast (1, 2, 3, Prime) since they became 100 per cent foreign owned. Here are the numbers:

Since 5 April 2013 when all3media took total control of South Pacific Pictures they have received $29,624,564, and Satellite Media have received $4,080,113, 50% of which is attributable for a total of: $31,664,621
From the time CJZ took control of Greenstone in December 2013 they have received:   $4,566,766
Screentime became wholly owned by its Australian parent in June 2009, and later by Banijay at a date I found difficult to determine. Since June 2009, Screentime has received from NZ On Air: $34,172,527
It looks like Eyeworks Touchdown/Warner has been foreign-owned since April 2006. Since that time they have received from NZ On Air: $22,857,516
NHNZ would seem to have been 100 % foreign owned since at least November 1997, but they only seem to have received from NZ On Air:   $5,563,647
TTL $98,825,647

It’s all a little unscientific and essentially not comparing apples with apples, but there’s no denying that nearly 100 million dollars has gone to foreign-owned production companies from NZ On Air funding, at least 75% of it in the last six years.

So what does it all mean? Here are some thoughts:

With TVNZ a commercially-driven public broadcaster getting $8.5 million from the government for operating revenues and returning an $8.3 million dividend from a $28.1 million net profit in 2015, you have to wonder why they are allowed to dip into NZ On Air’s coffers for production funding.

Foreign-owned independents  took 31% of NZ On Air funding in 2016, and apart from the broadcasters totally dominate the primetime slots in the period looked at. Certainly they employ Kiwis and contribute to the local economy but at what cost? Surely they are stymying the growth of NZ production businesses by being so dominant.

As more offshore entities buy out NZ companies and foreign independents set up here more of NZ On Air’s funding will go to them, leaving less for NZ owned independents. And more of the profits made with NZ tax payer funding will head offshore.

Our situation here is essentially the same as in Australia except they have a public broadcaster and quota and we don’t.

This issue regarding who gets the discretionary screen tax payer dollars is certainly something we should all be giving a lot more thought to.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

NB: I didn’t look at what foreign-owned companies in NZ might or might not take from the New Zealand Film Commission’s discretionary funding (not including the Screen Production Grant).

Wherefore Art Thou Public Service Content Provider?

10 November 2016

New Zealand On Air’s recent announcement of changes to its funding strategy and to a lesser extent the mooted desire of TVNZ to take over Freeview have brought discussion of public service broadcasting once again to the fore.

Public service broadcasting has had a chequered history since 1989 with both the Labour and National Parties ensuring Television New Zealand’s ability to operate as a commercial public broadcaster.

The doing away of the charter in 2008 by National let loose the commercial beasts at TVNZ forever and public service content has diminished significantly as a result.

NZ On Air was set up to ensure a broad range of NZ content on screen. While they have fought their fight, they do not control the broadcast platforms that operate at the behest of advertisers. Consequently, it is difficult to get a broad range of public service content screened because broadcasters shoot for the lowest common denominator and are unwilling to take creative risks in case they affect advertising revenue.

Now NZ on Air is proposing a new funding strategy that essentially expands the content gatekeeping from the commercially-driven broadcasters to include the commercially-driven online platforms, the likes of NZME and Fairfax Media.

Some look to Radio New Zealand as the great online hope. But like NZ on Air, Radio NZ hasn’t had an increase in funding for the last eight years. Yes, they have developed the Wireless, revamped their website and are now generating screen content with the filming and broadcasting/streaming of Checkpoint. They’re also engaging in providing independently produced digital content with a platform as they did with Christchurch Dilemmas. It’s likely that they’ll start commissioning more independently produced content. But they can’t compete with the media giants of the world in the online space without a lot more funding.

Could Radio NZ be the home for public service TV? Unlikely. Funding issues aside, the shelf life of linear TV is up for debate and the infrastructure costs are high. Without deep pockets, nobody wants to take on the voracious content beast that is a linear TV channel, which has to chew up and spit out content non-stop. Viceland, a new TV channel from digital hipster Vice Media and partners A & E in the U.S. and Rogers Media in Canada illustrates what’s needed for a linear channel start-up: distinctive content, lots of it, and piles of money to make it or buy it and play it out.

It’s clear that a lot of people still watch linear TV as NZ On Air’s recent Audience Report showed. It also identified the significant increase in online services, particularly SVOD, such as Lightbox and Netflix. This trend is reflected internationally as well.

David Abraham, Chief Executive of Channel 4 in the UK, claimed that the future of TV lies “not with either linear or on-demand, but a creative and visual integration of the two worlds, blending the strengths of both into a single brand.”

NZ On Air’s refocusing of its funding strategy is necessary in light of the impact of the digital world. But it doesn’t address the real issue that lies at the heart of screen content delivery in New Zealand—When TVNZ 7 was shut down by the National government, we lost what potentially could have been our non-commercial, public service content TV broadcaster. And now with the growth of digital content providers looking to satisfy the need of content consumers after whatever they want, whenever they want it on multiple screens, we don’t have a non-commercial, public service online platform to guard against the total commercialization of content in that space.

With our current business-driven government, what we need is a bright spark or two to put a convincing case forward that meets the need of public service content on TV and online and the government’s desire for a return on investment that’s attractive–not necessarily a monetary one.

Until we get a public service content provider fit for the digital age, we are going to continue to wince and grimace our way through the majority of what’s on offer just like we’ve done with the US election coverage.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director