Directing In the Intimate Zone

DEGNZ encourages directors, actors and producers to join us for a one-day Christchurch workshop with Louise Leitch on directing intimacy, after the first Directing In the Intimate Zone workshop in Auckland.

Until now, many directors have not given enough thought and been equipped for directing actors in scenes that involve intimacy, nudity and simulated sex. These scenes can make actors feel extremely vulnerable, particularly when this sensitive area of performance is not given the preparation and care it is due.

In Directing In the Intimate Zone, we will discuss and work with actors on the process of developing an intimate scene for the screen using the best practice guidelines developed by UK intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien, who was brought over by Equity to run training workshops in Auckland in late 2018.

During the class, Participant Directors will take turns to direct pairs of actors in intimate scenes under Louise’s guidance. Participant Directors upon selection will be invited to submit a short, intimate scene – either with or without dialogue – for consideration ahead of the workshop.

There are four places for directors to participate, as well as places for directors, actors and producers to observe.

About Louise Leitch

Louise Leitch

Photo credit: Tammy Williams

Louise has earned a reputation as a talented story-teller, directing award-winning short films, close to 200 episodes of television drama, and prime-time documentary and docu-drama series in both Australia and NZ. Her critically acclaimed Whakatiki screened in over 20 international film festivals including Tribeca, Tampere, Uppsala, Vladivostok, Hawaii, NZIFF, Show Me Shorts and ImagineNATIVE, winning Best Short Film at First Peoples’ Festival Montreal, Best Actress in a Short Film at Wairoa Film Festival and Best Actress in a Short Film at The NZ Film Awards.

Louise attended Ita O’Brien’s intimacy workshops in NZ in 2018 and is training with Ita to become an accredited Intimacy Coordinator. Louise is currently Vice President of the Directors & Editors Guild NZ and has contributed to the drafting of Equity NZ’s Intimacy Guidelines for Stage and Screen.

She teaches film, television and intimacy best practice at RMIT University in Melbourne and The New Zealand Broadcasting School.

Workshop Details

DEGNZ / Equity NZ member – Free
Non-member regional price – $75

Lunch and refreshments provided

When: Saturday 23 November 2019, 9am – 5pm

Where: Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, 59 Hewitts Rd, Merivale, Christchurch

Travel Allowances
DEGNZ Full members may apply for financial assistance of up to $250 (incl. GST) towards their travel costs.

  • DEGNZ has up to 4 travel allowances available for this workshop.
  • Applicants must live outside Canterbury.
  • Priority will be given to Full members living in the South Island and the Wellington region.
  • For further information and criteria, see here.


This workshop is R18.

To be eligible to apply as a Participant Director:

  • You must have experience directing at least short films/dramatic content, and are working in/moving into longer-form drama/film.
  • Priority will be given to those who are actively engaged in directing or preparing to direct narrative drama, especially if you are dealing with scenes of nudity, intimacy and/or simulated sex.

If you apply as a Participant and are unsuccessful, you will receive an offer to attend as an Observer.

To Apply

To register as an Observer, complete the registration form below.

To apply as a Participant Director, complete the registration form below and email your supporting documents to before the registration deadline:

  • a CV/bio with filmography
  • a brief letter summarising why you would like to participate as a director, what you hope to gain from the workshop, and any experience directing intimacy (not a requirement for selection).

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Registration Deadline: 3PM, Thursday 24 October

Registration Form




Refund Policy: Requests for refunds must be received by Sunday 17 November. A $2.50 cancellation fee will be incurred. Refunds can take up to approximately 10 working days to process.


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


Last updated on 15 October 2020

View from the Top banner

Almost a year ago, the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ membership voted to become a union. At this year’s AGM on Saturday 5 October, DEGNZ will adopt a new constitution that will allow the Guild to formalise its status as a union and affiliate with the Council of Trade Unions.

I thought it worthwhile to provide some background information that will help members to better understand what this change of status is all about.

In trawling the Interweb to find background material to write this op-ed, I came across a two-part article from US entertainment lawyer Christopher Shiller that has essentially done the job for me. Yes, it applies to the US situation for the screen industry but it’s very pertinent to us, particularly with the changes that will come about from the Film Industry Working Group recommendations to Government that DEGNZ was a part of.

Here are the links to that two-part series.

Legally Speaking, It Depends – Guild or Union, Part 1

Legally Speaking, It Depends – Guild or Union, Part 2

At our AGM, the NZ Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff will give an overview of the CTU and speak to the CTU’s perspective on the work being done by the Film Industry Working Group to address the inequities of the Hobbit Law.

I encourage you all to read the articles from the links, and to attend the AGM — this will be a momentous occasion for DEGNZ in regard to its work to ensure the creative, cultural and financial wellbeing of New Zealand directors and editors. Please RSVP to attend the AGM here.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive DIrector

Last updated on 26 September 2019

Capital posterJoin DEGNZ and Rialto Cinemas for a Q&A screening of New Zealand documentary Capital in the 21st Century. Special guest director Justin Pemberton will be present for a half-hour audience Q&A after the film.

Adapting one of the most groundbreaking and powerful books of our time, Capital in the 21st Century is an eye-opening journey through wealth and power, that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress, shining a new light on the world around us and its growing inequalities.

“Delivers an insightful and empowering journey through the past and into our future.” – Sydney Film Festival

Last updated on 20 March 2020

View from the Top banner

Just over four years ago a group of senior editors were sitting around on a Sunday afternoon in Auckland lamenting the fact that standards just weren’t like they used to be. They questioned each other as to why that was. The answer they came up with was that in the old days, i.e. the days of film, assistant editors worked in the cutting room like apprentices, learning their craft under the tutelage of the cutting editor.
In this way they were learning the technical aspects of their work and:

  • observing the editor at work,
  • getting the chance to cut on the project and have their work critiqued by the editor,
  • and being part of the conversations between the editor and the director, producer, funding body, broadcaster, etc.

All the while they were on the project for essentially the full length of the edit.

With the advent of digital editing, the role of the assistant editor quickly morphed into dealing much more with the technical preparation of material for editing, often on opposite shifts from the editor. This was usually done in a cost-saving exercise by the producer so that one edit setup could be used across 24 hours, rather than having to hire two to work in parallel. Additionally, the assistant editor’s time working on the project was reduced, because producers could see that once the technical work was finished there was a way to further lower costs.

All this meant that the chance to observe, cut and receive critique was often curtailed unless the editor made a considered effort to ensure their assistant got the opportunities. For the editor it meant working unsupported through post, dealing with the increased digital complexities of an edit on top of doing their job.

The impact this had became obvious when senior editors were being brought onto projects to ‘fix’ them because less experienced editors were being held responsible for not delivering a satisfactory cut.

At the same time, the technical nature of the work was becoming more complex and assistant editors were often required to figure it all out by themselves without significant guidance from the editor who was too busy doing what they were hired to do.

With the financial support of the NZ Film Commission, DEGNZ began to offer Assistant Editor Workshops in late 2018 to seek to formalise and standardise the technical aspects of the assistant editor’s role in a two-level training programme, which also recognises the Technical Assistant Editor as a career path in itself.

DEGNZ, again with NZFC support, introduced Feature Film Editing Attachments, so that junior editors seeking to work in features could get back into the room with the editor for the creative aspects they are often missing out on.

A third issue arising from digital editing and productions is digital workflow. Again, many are being left to figure it out for themselves with the result that a digital mess is being delivered to professional post production houses who have to waste precious time and resources sorting it out. This of course costs money that could be used to better effect on the creative side of post-production.

DEGNZ approached the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) with the issue. As a result, inaugural Post Production Workflow Workshops will be run by SPADA with DEGNZ in Auckland and Wellington next week, primarily targeted at producers who are the ones most likely to suffer when post doesn’t go well.

A bigger picture issue that DEGNZ is currently working on with a number of post houses nationally is to develop Best Practice Standards for post-production. We hope that the initiatives we have put in place and others we want to introduce over time will deliver greater creative outcomes and make the technical side more efficient and cost effective for everyone.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 25 September 2019

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 Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington for our next workshops with director Caroline Bell-Booth.



Caroline Bell-Booth started out creating theatre and quickly made a name for herself as a director of vision excelling at complex character projects. Early efforts saw her awarded Wellington Fringe Festival’s “Best Theatre Award”; Metro Magazine’s “Best Play of the Year”; alongside many critically acclaimed shows for Silo Theatre. She then moved into television directing, firstly on Shortland Street. Over the last few years she has shot several blocks of 800 Words and was head-hunted to be a recurring guest director on Home and Away. 2018 saw her successfully complete two episodes of both Westside and crime-drama The Bad Seed. She returned to Westside this year as lead director of season 5. She has joined Channel 7’s ambitious new drama Between Two Worlds from the creative team behind Foxtel’s A Place To Call Home – which is set to be a flagship show of the 2020 Season.


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

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

(Includes lunch and tea/coffee)

Register your interest

Christchurch and Auckland registrations close Friday 27 September, 10AM. Wellington registrations close Friday 4 October, 10AM.

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


When: Sat 12 October, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Where: Rangi Ruru Girls’ School – Mana Wahine, 59 Hewitts Road, Merivale, Christchurch

Register Now for Christchurch


When: Sun 13 October, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Where: MTG RM, 2 Kingsland Terrace, Kingsland, Auckland

Register Now for Auckland


When: Sat 19 October, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Where: Toi Poneke Arts Centre, 61 Abel Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington

Register Now for Wellington


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.

Last updated on 12 September 2019