Film Industry Working Group Recommendations Should Include a Wider Group of Screen Workers

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DEGNZ

For Immediate Release

17 June 2019

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ welcomes the Government’s initial response to the Film Industry Group (FIWG) recommendations, but feels that the proposed changes should apply to protect a wider group of workers in the screen industry.

“As currently outlined, the narrow application of the changes leaves the majority of directors and editors and many other screen workers out of collective bargaining,” said DEGNZ President Howard Taylor. “Those it applies to are generally already the most well paid with the best terms and conditions.”

“Explotiation of screen workers including directors and editors occurs most frequently in the online, reality and factual screen sectors. Under the proposed carve-out, new and mid-level practitioners will not be protected by any minimum standards, and will continue to suffer from poor working conditions and renumeration”

In a recent survey, Creative New Zealand and New Zealand On Air identified that the median personal annual income for creative professionals is around $35,800 – compared to $51,800 for all New Zealanders earning a wage or salary. When you take away other sources of income, the median income from creative work is only $15,000.

DEGNZ fully supports the two bodies joint strategic initiatives to improve the wellbeing of creative professionals, namely:

  • Fair reward – working towards:
    • ensuring lower-paid creative professionals are paid in line with technical professionals
    • lifting pay to the point where creative professionals start to feel it is a fair reward for their work.
  • Sustainability – working to make the careers of mid-career and established creative professionals more sustainable through more continuous creative endeavours.
  • Emerging creative professionals – working with the sector (including peak bodies and guilds) to find better ways to support creative professionals at the start of their career.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with Government during drafting of the legislation to expand the coverage of the changes” Taylor added. “Bringing as many screen workers as possible into collective bargaining would help to build a sustainable and vibrant creative sector in New Zealand.”

ENDS

For more information contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
+64 21 659 950
tui@degnz.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.

DEGNZ 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, we work co-operatively with other guilds and we belong to the International Affiliation of English-Speaking Directors’ Organisations (IEASDO), and the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Writers And Directors (AAPA).

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

Recommendations for screen sector workplace relations unveiled

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DEGNZ

Media release

17 October 2018

A recommended model to allow collective bargaining for contractors in the screen sector has today been unveiled by the Government-convened Film Industry Working Group.

The recommendations, which will now be considered by Government, offer a new path forward for the screen sector, following 2010 law changes to workplace relations in the industry.

“This has been an exercise in collaboration and compromise, and we believe it sets the screen sector on a much stronger footing going forward,” says Group Facilitator Linda Clark.

“The screen industry is unlike any other. The nature of filming means producers require certainty of cost and flexibility of conditions in order to complete a production on time and on budget. Project durations are often fixed, and one worker can be involved in multiple productions during a year.

“The working group is proposing a model that reflects the sector’s uniqueness. It retains parts of the current law, but also allows contractors to bargain collectively and it establishes principles that promote strong, productive relationships. To keep up with current trends, it also applies more appropriately to the overall screen sector, rather than film productions alone.”

The recommendations include:

  • keeping the part of the current law that says film workers are only employees if they have a written employment agreement. This provides the certainty of cost and flexibility of conditions needed in the screen industry.
  • allowing contractors to bargain collectively at an occupation level within the screen industry, such as amongst actors or technicians. The process will be supported by principles, set requirements, and a dispute resolution system. Any resulting collective contracts should apply to all contract work in that occupation.
  • establishing principles that govern relationships in the screen industry, including good faith, protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment, reasonable termination of contracts, and fair rates of pay.
  • applying the model to all screen production work, including film and television, to accurately reflect the industry in New Zealand. The screen sector is increasingly fluid for workers and producers, due to changes in technology and viewing habits. Many workers frequently move between the two, and projects increasingly do not fall neatly into either the ‘film’ or ‘television’ productions.

Ms Clark says the recommendations have the full support of all members of the working group.

“As a sector, the group’s members are committed to a vibrant, strong and world-leading screen industry. All of the members valued the opportunity to work together constructively to develop a model that works for the sector.

“We look forward to the Government’s response.”

The working group’s full recommendations are available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website at https://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/employment-skills/legislation-reviews/film-industry-working-group

The Film Industry Working Group was convened by the Government earlier this year. Its members are:

  • Alex Lee, Film Auckland
  • Alice Shearman, New Zealand Writers Guild
  • Augie Davis, Stunt Guild of New Zealand
  • Barrie Osborne, film producer
  • Brendan Keys, Weta Digital
  • Erina Tamepo, Ngā Aho Whakaari
  • Melissa Ansell-Bridges, Equity New Zealand
  • Michael Brook, Regional Film Offices New Zealand
  • Paul Mackay, BusinessNZ
  • Richard Fletcher, Screen Production and Development Association
  • Richard Wagstaff, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
  • Sioux Macdonald, Screen Industry Guild
  • Tui Ruwhiu, Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand

[ends]

For further information, contact:

Linda Clark
Facilitator, Film Industry Working Group
linda.clark@kensingtonswan.com
027 490 7942

Melissa Ansell-Bridges
Director, Equity New Zealand
melissa.ansell-bridges@actorsequity.org.nz
027 360 1980

Richard Fletcher
Co-President, Screen Production and Development Association
richard@libertinepictures.com
021 655 339

DEGNZ Announces Participants For Women Filmmakers Incubator 2018

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DEGNZ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

26 February 2018

The Directors & Editors Guild of New Zealand (DEGNZ) is delighted to announce the eight female directors who will participate in its second Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator. They are:

Chantelle Burgoyne

Linda Darby-Coring

Hiona Henare

Abi King-Jones

Agnes Peel-McGregor

Lauren Porteous

Michelle Savill

Asuka Sylvie

“It was a difficult decision but we feel that we have with this group, filmmakers who show real promise in moving rapidly towards their first major projects and sustainable careers as directors.”“Once again the selection panel were impressed by the range of talented candidates who put themselves forward for this initiative,” said Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu.

The Incubator is a targeted initiative designed to give 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.

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.

The workshop series will start in Auckland in March 2018 and run through to year’s end.

This initiative is supported with financial assistance from the New Zealand Film Commission and Vista Foundation.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

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

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 Vista Foundation was set up to foster a viable, successful, and inclusive local film industry in New Zealand. By providing support and education for necessary skills and expertise, the Foundation encourages the production of exceptional works of New Zealand cinema, and the extension of the available opportunities to wider groups and individuals. The Vista Foundation is the primary social responsibility initiative of film industry technology company Vista Group.

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

DEGNZ Welcomes Opportunity to Collectively Bargain

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DEGNZ

For Immediate Release

Monday 30 October 2017

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) welcomes the opportunity to collectively bargain on behalf of its membership in the event that the new Government repeal the controversial ‘Hobbit Law’, an amendment rushed through Parliament that classified all film workers as ‘independent contractors’, unable to bargain collectively and receive other benefits associated with being an employee.

“In our recent Annual Survey of the membership conducted independently by Trace Research, an overwhelming 84 per cent of directors and editors wanted the Guild to collectively bargain on their behalves,” said Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu.

“In the same survey, 32.5% of directors saw a decrease in their income in the last year compared to the year before, and 32.5% of directors earn less than $1,000 per week. This is obviously a concern for us.”

“It’s not unusual for directors to be one of the more poorly paid roles on set, particularly in feature and short film and non-drama TV,” Ruwhiu added. “Unlike technicians, directors do not receive overtime payments, their pay rates can be poor, and their hours generally longer that most others in the execution of their work.”

“Director rates have been trending downward in many sectors of the industry over the last 10 to 20 years and we need to do something about it.”

New Zealand directors get very few opportunities to work on international productions coming to New Zealand, depending almost exclusively on domestic New Zealand production to make a living.

With the number of local feature films produced each year in New Zealand numbering between five and fifteen, only five to fifteen New Zealand directors get a job on those productions, and in many cases the director is required to reduce or defer their fee to get the production made.

The majority of the Guild’s directors are contracted to productions for New Zealand television, documentary, advertising and in the corporate arena where they make videos, promos and branded content.

“The status of directors within the industry and with the wider public is generally high. Unfortunately, the reality when it comes to terms and conditions and particularly income for many of our director members is poor,” Ruwhiu concluded.

“Collective bargaining would provide a positive means for the Guild to improve the lot of directors in New Zealand, which is not possible under the current individual contracting regime.”

ENDS

For more information contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
+64 21 659 950
tui@degnz.co.nz

DEGNZ Lifetime Membership Awards

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L to R: George Andrews, John Reid, DEGNZ President Howard Taylor, Keith Hunter.

PHOTO: Focalpoint Photos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Thursday 12 October 2017

At an awards ceremony and dinner on Friday 6 October in Ponsonby Auckland, Howard Taylor, President of the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ, confirmed Lifetime memberships with the presentation of certificates for three long-serving members of the guild, directors Keith Hunter and John Reid, and producer George Andrews.

“Keith, John and George each have made significant contributions over many years as board members, with Keith and John involved in setting up the guild,” Taylor said.

“We wanted to acknowledge their passion for the craft of directing and the industry, which has seen all of them go above and beyond in seeking to ensure the creative cultural and financial wellbeing of New Zealand directors and screen practitioners.”

The Guild’s first President, Keith Hunter is an award-winning writer and documentary maker, known for his investigations into miscarriages of justice. His screen credits include The Remand of Ivan Curry, Out of the Dark, Staunch, and award-winner Murder on the Blade?, about the Scott Watson case. Hunter has also directed drama and comedy on shows such as Mortimer’s Patch and Letter to Blanchy.

John Reid made his feature debut with an acclaimed adaptation of Roger Hall play Middle Age Spread. Since then he has directed three more features ranging from raw comedy to moody arthouse pieces, plus a host of television programmes and commercials. John was Guild President for many years.

Long time Guild board member producer George Andrews has been making documentaries about New Zealand for more than 40 years, including legendary documentary series Landmarks. He has also been a vocal advocate for public service broadcasting and helped found TV3. In 2002 he was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to television.

“All three maintain an interest in industry matters and remain active,” Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu said. “John is writing a book on stalwart of the New Zealand film industry John O’Shea, while Keith is penning his yet to be announced third book. George, as always, continues to pursue screen projects that are close to his heart while finishing a book and working with the Film Archive.”

“We are so pleased that these three industry icons will have a permanent place within DEGNZ.”

 

ENDS

 

For further information contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors & editors Guild of NZ
+64 9 360 2102
+64 21 659 950
tui@degnz.co.nz