FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

26 March 2020

For those directors, editors and assisitant editors experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis, the Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand (DEGNZ) has instituted a COVID-19 Membership Holiday for those who cannot afford to pay membership fees at this time.

“DEGNZ represents the creative, cultural and financial wellbeing of ALL New Zealand directors, editors and assistant editors,” said DEGNZ Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu.

“The Board wanted to offer a centre for support, assistance, advice and information at this crucial time and as we navigate the future, for members and non-members.”

DEGNZ’s Membership Holiday is available to all New Zealand directors, editors and assistant editors who cannot afford membership fees. It provides a fee waiver on Associate Membership to DEGNZ, effective until 1 October 2020.

Current members who are due to renew their membership will receive instructions in their renewal notices on how to take up the Membership Holiday if they are facing financial difficulties. New members and those whose membership lapsed prior to 2019 can join on the DEGNZ website and choose either a paid membership or the Membership Holiday offer.

DEGNZ is moving a number of its professional development initiatives online during national self-isolation and restrictions on public gatherings in New Zealand, which members will be able to apply for and engage with. The Guild is also planning new initiatives to assist with mental health and wellbeing that it hopes to implement shortly to help in the self-isolation period and beyond.

“Now more than ever it’s important for everyone in the screen sector to band together and show support for each other,” Ruwhiu added. “Every guild and association is doing its utmost to overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has presented us, and we in turn need the support of every individual in the industry to get it back into production as soon as possible.”

 

For further information contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand
tui@degnz.co.nz
+64 21 659 950

 

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is a not-for-profit Incorporated Society and Union that represents Directors, Editors and Assistant Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors, Editors and Assistant 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, Editors and Assistant in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of various pan-industry bodies, 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
PO Box 47294, Ponsonby
AUCKLAND
admin@degnz.co.nz
+64 9 360 2102
+64 21 659 950

COVID-19 Action Group logo

Anyone who works in events, entertainment, tourism, hospitality and any other industry who has seen their work dry up overnight, you are eligible for a 12 week COVID-19 wage subsidy, as of March 23.

Applications are only open for the next 12 weeks.

Payments are being expedited and should be made within 5 days of application.

Scroll down on the Screen Industry website here for the link to apply.

COVID-19 Action Group logo

MEDIA RELEASE
MONDAY 23 MARCH 2020
For Immediate Release

In response to the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the New Zealand screen industry, the sector has today announced the formation of the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group and a screen-specific online information hub.

While the indeterminate hiatus of a number of large international line productions has already resulted in job losses, many essential New Zealand productions continue to strive to keep cast and crew safe at work, whilst ensuring their productions remain operational.

Now, more than ever, the screen industry needs to work cohesively for the benefit of the sector at large. While progress continues on the Screen Sector Strategy 2030, the Strategy Facilitation Group has acted quickly to establish the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group to address the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry. This pan-sector team comprises many key screen industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders.

The www.screenindustrynz.co.nz website will act as a one-stop hub to assist screen producers and industry workers find screen-specific health and safety resources, wage and earning subsidy assistance and information, key updates on COVID-19 as well as relevant news and updates from screen guilds and industry organisations.

Currently, the key focus for the wider industry is the health and safety of those working on domestic productions and it is vital that all productions in New Zealand adhere to Government advisories and safety measures. Currently, the key focus for the wider industry is the health and safety of those working on domestic productions and it is vital that all productions in New Zealand adhere to Government advisories and safety measures. ScreenSafe, the industry’s health and safety advocacy group, has added two documents on the website, Covid-19 Health & Safety Policy and Covid-19 Contact Declaration Form*.  These documents are intended to give production companies and heads of departments guidance and forms to manage COVID-19 on a working production.

The local screen industry eco-system right now is very fragile, and the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group recognises the importance of keeping domestic productions operational where possible, or ready to gear back up as quickly as possible should an increase in New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert level necessitate work stoppages.

The other key priority for the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group during this initial phase of the COVID-19 crisis is working closely with key stakeholders, including funding bodies and financiers, to explore the various ways in which the domestic screen production industry can be supported in order to continue working safely during these uncertain times.

Beyond this acute response, the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group will also be looking at funding mechanisms and networks to facilitate training and development opportunities for affected businesses as well as individual crew members, performers, writers and directors.

These unprecedented times call for calm and proactive decision-making in order to protect the local screen sector and to ensure that when recovery happens – and it will – the industry is ready to operate at maximum capacity again for our domestic productions and so that international line productions can return as soon as it is viable.

www.screenindustrynz.co.nz

 

* ends *

 

*Documents created with thanks by Health & Safety Officer Robert ‘Gibbo’ Gibson and Producer Rebekah ‘Bex’ Kelly.

 

About the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group

Established in mid-March 2020 by the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 Facilitation Group, the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group is a pan-sector team, made up of representatives from many key industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders.

While the work of finalising the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 continues, the Screen Sector Facilitation Group felt it was essential to urgently establish a working group to address the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Screen Sector and to ensure that when recovery happens – and it will – we are all ready to gear back up and get the screen industry in Aotearoa humming again.

A key finding of the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 is the desire for a pan-sector unified voice and while that pan sector body is some time away still, it is evident that now, more than ever, our industry needs to work cohesively and it is with that in mind that this working group has been formed.

The group’s members and stakeholders are as follows:

Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group – Members

Alice Shearman New Zealand Writers Guild
Brian Finn Weta Group
Felicity Letcher Main Reactor
Grant Baker Auckland Screen Alliance / Film Auckland / Images & Sound
Hineani Melbourne Ngā Aho Whakaari
Kelly Lucas Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand
Matthew Metcalfe General Film Corporation
Patricia Watson WIFT NZ (Women in Film and Television)
Peter Clews NZ Advertising Producers Group
Richard Fletcher SPADA / Libertine Pictures
Sally Campbell South Pacific Pictures
Sandy Gildea SPADA (Screen Production & Development Association)
Sioux Macdonald Screen Industry Guild of NZ / Filmcrews
Tui Ruwhiu Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group – Stakeholders

Domestic and international screen producers & productions

Government ministries:

Screen funding bodies:

Regional economic development agencies:

Regional Film Offices of New Zealand

 

 

 

Media enquiries, please contact:

Tamar Münch | The Public Good

P: 021 659 349 | E: tamar@thepublicgood.co.nz

DEGNZ

There has been an influx of information on physical wellbeing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we also have to give thought to our own and others’ mental and financial wellbeing.

As a union and an affiliate to the Council of Trade Unions, we have been able to rely on their considerable efforts over the recent weeks to lobby the Government on behalf of all workers, and to get information updates helpful to us.

Below we have pulled together a range of information and links to assist you in looking after yourself and others.

DEGNZ hopes this information proves useful to you as we seek to address this constantly changing situation. We are here to help if we can. You can contact us on 09 360 2102, or by emailing Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu at tui@degnz.co.nz.

 

Physical Wellbeing

The Ministry of Health update their webpage regularly with the latest advice, information about self-isolation, and common questions and answers about COVID-19.

Read the latest COVID-19 information on the Ministry of Health website

Some quick pointers:

  • Call your family doctor for advice or information. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 (through contact with someone who has it), it’s important to let your doctor know.
  • Call Health line on 0800 358 5453 (if you’re calling internationally call +64 9 358 5453). Calls are free and someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call them:
    • if you don’t have a family doctor
    • if you’re feeling unwell but you’re not sure if you need to see a doctor
    • for advice about what’s happening to you and next steps.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention early. Call Healthline or your doctor.
  • Wash and dry your hands (for at least 20 seconds) frequently – Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  • Maintain social (physical) distancing – Maintain at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands.
  • In an emergency, always call 111.

 

Mental Wellbeing

These are stressful times. We need to look after our mind as well as our body:

Facts minimise fear

We need to stay informed by trusted sources. “There are two sources,” explained Aiysha Malik, Technical Officer, Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, World Health Organization. “One is WHO (World Health Organization); the other is your national authority [The Ministry of Health].”

A repeated message for managing fear in the COVID-19 response is to get facts. Facts minimise fear.

Social isolation is associated with poor mental health

  • Staying connected with your social and family networks via technology
  • Keeping your daily routines as much as possible
  • Exercising regularly and practising habits that you enjoy and find relaxing
  • Seeking practical, credible information each day

Shift narratives away from number of deaths toward number of recoveries

There often seems to be a dearth of positive stories about coronavirus and those who recover.

“We’re not seeing the stories of recovery,” said Ken Carswell, Technical Officer, World Health Organization. “We need to shift narratives away from number of deaths toward number of recoveries.”

Additionally, the negative effects of stigmatising language – such as attaching region or ethnicity to the virus or blaming people for transmission – exacerbate the sense of fear at a macro level. Journalists, news outlets and everyday citizens can help to increase hope and allay fear by being cognisant of the language they use in speaking about COVID-19.

In the coming days and weeks, fear and anxiety will likely increase as our lives continue to be disrupted and social distancing becomes necessary. As a society, we must work together with a sense of empathy. As individuals, we must inform ourselves of the facts, stay connected to the people we love and be kind to each other.

Taking care of children 

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is OK if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools close, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Seek help and professional support if you feel you are not coping

Your family doctor is a good starting point. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can also call or text 1737. This service is free, available 24/7 and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor.

Self-Isolation

Here’s a checklist from UK mental health charity, Mind, for preparing for a stay at home for two weeks (actor Stephen Fry is Mind’s President):

  • Food: do you have a way to get food delivered?
  • Cleaning: are your cleaning supplies stocked up?
  • Money: can you budget for any higher bills or expenses? Will you save money from lower transport costs that you could spend elsewhere?
  • Work: can you work from home or not? If not, what are your rights to payment or benefits?
  • Medication: do you have enough medication, or a way to get more?
  • Health: can you reorganise any planned therapy or treatments?
  • Commitments: can someone else help you care for any dependents, walk your dog, or take care of any other commitments?
  • Connectivity: have you checked the contact details of the people you see regularly, like their phone numbers or email addresses?
  • Routine: can you create a routine or timetable for yourself? And if you live with other people, should you create a household schedule? Do you need to agree how the household will run with everyone at home all day?
  • Exercise: is there any physical activity you can do inside your home, such as going up and down the stairs, using bean tins as weights, or exercises you can do in your chair?
  • Nature: have you thought how you could access nature? Can you get some seeds and planting equipment, houseplants or living herbs
  • Entertainment: have you thought about things to do, books to read or TV shows to watch?
  • Relax: have you got materials so you can do something creative, such as paper and colouring pencils?

 

Financial Wellbeing

Most New Zealand screen workers are contractors. Even with contracts, the termination period is usually one week. You need to prepare for a downturn in work and what you will do if faced with this situation.

Consider:

  • Opportunities for you to gain income outside the sector with work that will not suffer in the pandemic
  • Reducing unnecessary monthly outgoings or one-off expenditures
  • Chasing up outstanding payments for work performed
  • The Government has just announced financial assistance for businesses and beneficiaries. This includes contractors who essentially run their own businesses. You can learn more about this at Work & Income here.

If you have purchased a product or commissioned a service, consider making prompt payment. Your supply also needs  to ensure their financial health.

Work & Income NZ also offer assistance and advice as follows:

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, we may be able to help – even if you’re not on a benefit. There are various ways we can help, whether you’re an individual or an employer.

Financial support for individuals

Contact us if you:

  • would like assistance
  • aren’t sure if you can get assistance
  • are struggling to support yourself, or your family
  • would like more information.

In emergencies, we can help you with costs you don’t have any other way of paying.

Even if you don’t think you qualify, call us on 0800 559 009 (Monday to Friday 7am–6pm, Saturday 8am – 1pm) to check your eligibility. There may be other options available and we can point you in the right direction.

In emergencies, we can help with:

  • loss of livelihood (where you can’t work and have lost your income)
  • food, clothing and bedding (immediate needs up to a maximum amount)
  • accommodation costs if you have to move.
  • You may have to pay the money back depending on your situation.

Find out more about what support we offer and who can get this

Stand-down if you apply for a benefit

Most weekly benefits have a stand-down. This is a period of time where you can’t get any money from us. It’s usually 1 or 2 weeks after your application is approved. From 23 March, there will be no stand-down period for 8 months. We’ll provide more information on this soon.

More information about stand-down periods

View from the Top banner

I asked myself and my colleague whether or not I should write about the impact of the coronavirus on our industry in my regular Op Ed. I’d decided not to, then woke up to some news that has changed my mind.

CANNESERIES, the TV version of the Cannes Film Festival, has decided to postpone from April to coincide with MIPTV in October, while the Cannes Film Fest is currently going ahead as planned in May… so far. And the next in the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die (an apt title if ever there was one) has decided to move its opening slot from April to November—the only tent-pole film scheduled for this year to do so at the moment. Perhaps the studios are buoyed by the prospects of Niko Caro’s Mulan, which goes out this month in the US with a projected US$85 million opening.

In February, Paramount Pictures postponed a three-week shoot in Venice for the latest in the Mission Impossible franchise, while at Berlin, Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke (Ash Is Purest White, A Touch of Sin) told media that his next film slated for a start in April is delayed indefinitely.

The number of major entertainment companies pulling out of the SXSW Festival, due to start tomorrow, is increasing daily.

With the movie theatres empty in China, Korea and Japan, and undoubtedly so in Italy and Iran, I know I’m not the only one thinking about what this all means for the film business.

The Hollywood studios have already assembled coronavirus strategy teams and many are in contact with the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Washington and the World Health Organisation (WHO), monitoring the situation. As with the James Bond and Mission Impossible films, the studios are having to consider what it all means to their production and releasing schedules, but more importantly what the overall impact is going to be to their business.

In China where the virus originated and has been impacting the longest, there have been rapid moves to deal with the theatrical ramifications. Huanxi, distributor of the Chinese blockbuster Lost in Russia, premiered the film online for free, while Enter the Fat Dragon becomes the second major Chinese film to premiere online.

I’m sure the streamers aren’t rubbing their hands with glee, but they are and will be an obvious benefactor of theatres shutting down and people being forced to stay at home… as long as subscribers can continue to afford to pay for their subscriptions.

A lot of my European film colleagues attended this February’s Berlin International Film Festival. I have already given consideration as to whether or not I will go to Cannes this year. I’ve gone for the last three, and this year the head of the new Australian Directors Guild wanted to use the opportunity for all of the English-language speaking guilds to gather. I’m most likely not going to attend as I pretty much get sick with a cold or the flu every time I come back from a European trip. I have already cancelled my trip to Seoul in April, which was to attend the second gathering of the Alliance of Asia Pacific Audiovisual Writers and Directors—an event that was postponed in February after the coronavirus outbreak in China was becoming more serious.

Back home, I was talking with a New Zealand filmmaker whose feature is due out soon and COVID-19 was certainly on his mind in regard to what, if any, effect it could have on his box office. I just learned this week that NZFC has instituted a conservative travel policy for its staff.

Officially, I haven’t heard of any strategic thinking going on in regard to New Zealand’s film and TV industries in relation to the virus, but it’s undoubtedly weighing on a few minds including ours. We will update you if any news comes in.

As I sit writing this I have just learned we have a fourth confirmed case of COVID-19. I, therefore, am providing a link here to the Ministry of Health website about the virus and what to do should you display any kind of symptoms.

Take care out there.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director