Are We Missing the Streamer Boat?

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It’s hard not to bang on about streaming services when they are continuing to upend the screen industry as we know it.

Media intelligence service FilmTake recently reported that Disney, WarnerMedia, and Apple are expected to spend between US$8 million to $20 million per episode on new drama series.

Amazon has supposedly set aside over a billion US dollars to bring a five-season Lord of the Rings series to Amazon Prime.

There are other epics planning to cash-in on the void left after the conclusion of Game of Thrones include WarnerMedia’s Dune series, Showtime’s Halo, and Apple’s fantasy series See.

Disney+ is also producing a Star Wars series, Mandalorian, which is costing $15 million per episode.

And these are just the TV blockbusters.

The Financial Times reported that in Europe, Netflix will make 221 projects in 2019, including 153 originals.

Netflix has launched its first European production hub in Madrid, targeting Spanish-language production and drama series, which have been a priority and a large source of success for the U.S. streaming giant.

In July of this year, it also announced that it is creating a dedicated production hub, featuring 14 sound stages, workshops and office space, at Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom.

In the last year alone, over 25,000 cast, crew and extras have worked on almost 40 Netflix originals and co-productions across Britain.

New Zealand is certainly not missing out on service production for streamers as witnessed most recently by the noise about the Lord of The Rings TV Series potentially being shot here for Amazon. Netflix has already been here with Letter For the King and is currently shooting another.

But are we missing the boat with local IP to satisfy the booming global appetite for content, particularly drama?

Yes, local producers do continue to sell their NZ ON Air and TMP funded content internationally, but that’s been the case for many years now.

NZ formats for the international market have made headway, as most recently attested to by Filthy Productions’ sale of Filthy Rich to the Fox Network.

It’s easy to forget that Rob Tapert has been making TV shows here for the international market for over 25 years—everything from Hercules and Xena to Spartacus and Ash vs Evil Dead.

But there’s nothing new in all this, as it was happening prior to the advent of Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Amazon.

While NZ On Air continues to do the best it can with limited funds for local drama, it’s essentially locked into a myopic approach by its adherence to the Broadcasting Act, and it doesn’t look like it will change that anytime soon.

But there is a little light at the end of the tunnel.

Screentime has forged into Scandi Noir with its Danish coproduction Straight Forward, now on TVNZ OnDemand, and its soon to be released copro The Gulf, with Paula Boock and Donna Malane’s Lippy Pictures and a German partner.

And we have seen one Netflix Original in Auckland-based Razor Films’ Dark Tourist, while See-Saw Films and Jump TV are into their second series of The New Legends of Monkey for the ABC, TVNZ and Netflix. Almost going unnoticed is Pango Production’s 2018 production All Or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks for Amazon Prime.

But really! Can we survive the onslaught of service production work from streamers in New Zealand and get our own IP out there in more than an occasional way?

There are a number of factors holding us back and one of them is writers. We don’t have enough skilled writers with the experience required to get internationally-focused shows across the line. The NZFC/NZ On Air Raupapa Whakaari Series Drama Lab initiative is seeking to address this by bringing in international-calibre mentors to work on local show ideas with teams here. Hopefully this will bear fruit.

Another is lack of funding. NZ On Air production funding caps out at $6 million, and you can’t access the NZ Screen Production Grant and NZ On Air Funding for the same project. When even middle-of-the-road Aussie shows are being made for the international market at AUD $1.5 to 2 million or more per episode for 6 to 10 eps, you can see the problem. But before you get to production you have to go through development, and the cost for that is going to be anywhere between $300,000 to $500,000. Again, there’s not the funding here for that. Raupapa Whakaari’s matched funding is limited to NZ$50,000 per year.

You might well ask why do we need to create our own IP anyway, and not just be service providers for international productions?

For directors and editors there’s going to be more work on local shows than international ones. The post production is generally not done here for international shows, and there’s only a very small pool of Kiwi directors with the credits to get themselves hired on international productions. That will expand slowly over time, but local shows hire locals, and we are increasing the numbers of Kiwi directors working on NZ On Air dramas.

In the end though, it’s our distinctiveness as Kiwis with Kiwi stories to tell and landscapes to show that provides cut through in the international market. I’m paraphrasing Paula Boock of Lippy Pictures who participated on our Screenlink panel this week along with Mark McNeill of Razor Films and Steven Zanoski of Filthy Productions to discuss ‘Screen Content for the Global Market’. Locally owned IP also brings revenues back to New Zealand when it’s successful, long after production has finished.

I don’t think we are going to miss the boat entirely when it comes to creating our own shows for the streaming giants. But it does sometimes seem like we are standing at the end of the pier watching the ship sailing away and wondering how the hell we are going to get onboard.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

NZIFF 2019: DEGNZ Member Round Up

NZIFF 2019

Tonight, the New Zealand International Film Festival opens and with that, we congratulate members of the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ who have films in this year’s programme.

For My Father’s Kingdom

For My Father’s Kingdom premieres at home at the Civic Theatre after its Berlinale world premiere earlier this year. This debut feature documentary is co-directed by Vea Mafile’o (DEGNZ) and Jeremiah Tauamiti, and follows the story of Vea’s father Saia Mafile’o. The film is edited by Guild board member Margot Francis.

Vea and Jeremiah were part of our Documentary Editing Masterclass with their film in 2017 with US editor Doug Blush.

Join them for a Q+A after at screenings in Auckland and Wellington (August 10). Flicks also asked the directors eight questions about their film.

 

For My Father's Kingdom

New Zealand’s Best 2019

Congratulations to our members whose short films have been selected by Jane Campion for the only competitive programme at NZIFF, New Zealand’s Best 2019. Egg Cup Requiem is co-directed by DEGNZ’s Prisca Bouchet with Nick Mayow. Krystal is edited by Cushla Dillon and Hinekura is the new film from director Becs Arahanga about a young woman’s rite of passage upon her first menstruation in 1600s Aotearoa.

Tickets are officially selling fast for the Auckland screening on Saturday 27 July.

 

Egg Cup Requiem, Krystal, Hinekura

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2019

Ngā Whanaunga features Liliu, edited by former DEGNZ president Peter Roberts and Rū, cut by longtime board member Annie Collins.

Ways to See is written and directed by Jessica Sanderson, edited by Anastasia Doniants and made under Fresh 30. We do love a DEGNZ director-editor team up. Ways to See follows the attempts of a young Māori girl to reconnect with her absent father. Anastasia Doniants is also the editor on a second film here, Ani.

 

Liliu, Ways to See, Ru, Ani

Short Connections

Already sold out in Auckland and Wellington, Short Connections includes director Armagan Ballantyne’s collaboration with Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, Hush. Walk a Mile is edited by Janine Frei, and Memory Foam by editor Chia Hsu.

Across all the shorts programmes, it’s exciting to see so many Guild editors with work playing at this year’s festival.

 

Hush, Walk a Mile, Memory Foam

Herbs: Songs of Freedom

The curtains will close on the Auckland NZIFF programme with the World Premiere of Herbs: Songs of Freedom, an affectionate tribute to the iconic Kiwi band Herbs. The documentary is the latest editing collaboration between DEGNZ board member Francis Glenday and director/editor Tearepa Kahi, following POI E: The Story of our Song. POI E opened NZIFF 2016 and was nominated for Best Documentary Editor at the Rialto Channel NZ Film Awards.

Herbs: Songs of Freedom is bound to be another uplifting (and super catchy) local cinematic pleasure.

 

Herbs: Songs of Freedom

 

As a film community, support your fellow filmmakers and enjoy your time at NZIFF!

Members, don’t forget you can receive discounts on select screenings and the Masterclass with Thom Zimny. Check your inbox for the DEGNZ discount code in current newsletters.

Tema Pua
Events & Marketing Manager

Wellington – Rehearsal & Performance with Director Chris Dudman

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Rehearsal & Performance logo

The Rehearsal & Performance series provides regular opportunities for directors and actors to practise their craft. Each workshop brings in an experienced moderator to guide participants as they explore a workshop scene in groups (one director, two actors) in a safe and non-pressured environment.

Join us in Wellington for the next Rehearsal & Performance workshop with director Chris Dudman.

Moderator

Chris DudmanChris Dudman’s career has involved writing and directing short films, commercials, feature and series documentary and series TV drama. He directed short film successes The Graffiti of Mr Tupaia and Choice Night, and later co-wrote and directed Harry, the gritty crime drama series starring Oscar Kightley and Sam Neill. He wrote and directed The Day that Changed My Life, the multi-award winning documentary about Christchurch’s devastating earthquake, and directed two standalone episodes of James Patterson’s true crime anthology series Murder is Forever. He’s currently writing an adaptation of Archibald Baxter’s memoir We Will Not Cease. Chris was also a longtime partner of and director at Auckland TV commercials company Robber’s Dog.

Preparation

Selected directors and actors will be expected to do some script prep beforehand. DEGNZ will provide the scene at least one week in advance.

Wellington

When: Sun 25 August, 9am – 2pm
Where: Toi Poneke, 61 Abel Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington

Cost:
DEGNZ / Equity NZ member – Free
Ngā Aho Whakaari Full member – Free
Non-member – $69

(Includes lunch and tea/coffee)

Register your interest

Registrations close Friday 9 August, 3PM.

Spots are limited to four directors and eight actors. If your name is selected, DEGNZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation.

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The Rehearsal & Performance series is hosted by Directors & Editors Guild of NZ with the support of Equity New Zealand and funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

Masterclass with Thom Zimny at NZIFF 2019

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Director Thom Zimny

Film director Thom Zimny (The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash) will lead a Masterclass for filmmakers in Auckland as part of NZIFF 2019.

This is the second time NZIFF has been able to provide a Masterclass designed for industry practitioners, thanks to an Artistic Development Partnership with Creative New Zealand. The Masterclass will take place on Thursday 1 August and will be run by the Directors & Editors Guild of New Zealand (DEGNZ) on behalf of NZIFF.

Thom Zimny, known for his award-winning documentaries, will take filmmakers inside his process from the research phase through to the edit with special focus on the edit process. Works discussed will include The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley: The Searcher.

Masterclass attendees are encouraged to see The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash at NZIFF beforehand (Tuesday 30 July or Wednesday 31 July).

Limited tickets for the Masterclass are on sale from Ticketmaster.

Masterclass with Thom Zimny

Thursday 1 August 2.00pm to 5.30pm

Venue: WG701, WG Building, AUT City Campus, 55 Wellesley Street East, Auckland Central 1010

Ticket prices: $30 Full price / $20 Industry guild concession*

About Thom Zimny

Thom Zimny is an award-winning artist, director, producer and editor. Working with Bruce Springsteen for the past 18 years, Zimny has directed documentaries including Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes, The Ties That Bind and the newly released Springsteen On Broadway. He has previously directed and produced two feature length documentaries chronicling key chapters in Bruce Springsteen’s recording career, winning a Grammy for Wings For Wheels: The Making of Born to Run. In addition, Zimny edited three seasons of the highly acclaimed HBO series by David Simon, The Wire and helmed music videos for Bob Dylan, The Low Anthem and many others. The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash was made in collaboration with the Cash Estate, and premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.

The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash

Auckland screenings featuring a Q+A with Thom Zimny

Tuesday 30 July, 6.15pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

Wednesday 31 July, 3.15pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

Wellington screenings

Saturday 3 August at 6.15pm at Soundings Theatre, Te Papa

Monday 5 August at 6.30pm at the Roxy Cinema

Tuesday 6 August at 2.15pm at the Roxy Cinema

 

* Apply the Industry code from your guild/association when booking.

Directing Masterclass with Sophie Hyde

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Animals

DEGNZ is excited to present a Directing Masterclass with Australian director/producer Sophie Hyde on Saturday 27 July in Auckland.

In this interactive Masterclass, Sophie will share on how she came to be making film and television and how her projects are able to develop and thrive within the film collective she works within. Participants will look at case studies on the making of feature films 52 Tuesdays and Animals, and series F*!#ing Adelaide and The Hunting

Sophie will discuss what the big challenges have been, about tackling doubts and keeping self-motivated and rigorous during development and through production. The Masterclass will get directors to think about what’s important to them and how this will help them navigate their own projects.

We invite directors to apply now.

About Sophie Hyde

Sophie’s debut fiction film 52 Tuesdays (director/producer/co-writer) won the directing award in World Cinema Dramatic at Sundance and the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale. Her second film Animals, based on Emma Jane Unsworth’s acclaimed novel, premiered at Sundance 2019. Her first episodic series F*!#ing Adelaide, created for ABC iView screened at Berlin Film Festival and Series Mania in 2018. She produced and co-directed acclaimed documentary Life in Movement, winner of the Australian Documentary Prize in 2011 and the Cinedans Jury and Audience prizes.

She also works as a Producer and believes strongly in nurturing new voices. She was recently mentor and executive producer on A Field Guide to Being A 12-year-old-girl, which won the short film Crystal Bear at Berlin last year. She produced Matt Bate’s feature documentaries Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure and Sam Klemke’s Time Machine, and Maya Newell’s In My Blood It Runs. She has just finished production as creator/director/producer of The Hunting, a 4×1 hour series for SBS.

Animals screens at the New Zealand International Film Festival 2019. Sophie will be attending Q+A screenings in Auckland.

Masterclass Details

Price: DEGNZ members/NAW Full members – Free, Non-members $95. Lunch and refreshments provided.

When: Sat 27 July, 9am – 5pm

Where: Saint Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby, Auckland

After the masterclass, DEGNZ Full members attending from outside the Auckland region can apply for a travel allowance of up to $250.

How to Apply

Application Deadline: 9AM, Friday 19 July 2019

STEP 1: Complete the application form below.

STEP 2: Send your filmography OR CV with filmography in PDF to tema@degnz.co.nz.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

 

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This workshop is brought to you with the generous support of the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society and the New Zealand Film Commission.

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