The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is delighted to introduce the seven directors selected for the fourth DEGNZ Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator:
Michelle Ang, Charlotte Evans, Pennie Hunt, Stella Reid, Rachel Ross, Jessica Grace Smith and Kathleen Winter
From June onwards, the directors will take part in five one-day workshops tailored to provide specific knowledge, networks, skills, and inspiration to enable them to advance themselves and their careers. The 2020 programme is organised by DEGNZ, facilitated by producer Philippa Campbell and made possible with the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission. Philippa is an Emmy, Golden Globe and PGA award nominee as the producer of Jane Campion’s international hit television series Top of the Lake and Top of the Lake: China Girl.
We look forward to mentoring this talented group of filmmakers!
MICHELLE ANG is an Emmy and Logie nominated actress with work spanning New Zealand, Australia and the USA. She won Best Actress at the New Zealand Film Awards for My Wedding And Other Secrets. She has had the privilege of working with top directors such as Jane Campion, Jodie Foster, John Hillcoat and Steven Soderbergh. Her performances have been seen at festivals including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin. She produced her first feature For Izzy, attended the Sundance Director Lab 2018 and has directed music videos. She is currently in post-production for her self-funded short film NAI (Milk), which she wrote, directed and produced in Los Angeles. She was accepted into the MAP Screen Development Producer Training course and is working on creating a slate of projects.
CHARLOTTE EVANS is a Film Director based in Auckland, NZ. She started her film career in London in 2008 where she trained as a film editor for 2 years under the guidance of award-winning film editor Rick Waller. Charlotte has created music videos for a number of prominent artists such as Kimbra, Aldous Harding, Benee and Marlon Williams. In 2018 Charlotte’s directed an all-female team to create a film that commemorated 125 years of suffrage in New Zealand, with funding from NZ On Air. This project received an Honoree Webby Award, Silver at the NZCINE awards, Silver at Best Design Awards and Won Best Costume Design at NZTV awards. Four of Charlotte’s music videos made official selection at the Clipped Music Video Festival 2019. Recently Charlotte and her team of female filmmakers were selected for Loading Docs 2020 for their Short doco on Chlöe Swarbrick, who will also be the subject for a longer-form documentary. She is currently in production on a short doco about Rob Tennent and in development on a short film with comedians Hamish Parkinson and Brynley Stent.
PENNIE HUNT is a writer and director based in Port Chalmers, Dunedin. She began making films during her nine years living and working in Germany with her shorts Earth, Hell, Heaven (financed by the Bavarian Film Commission) and Freakwave showing internationally including at Palm Springs, Hof and Aesthetica.
In 2016 Pennie returned to New Zealand and embarked on a Postgraduate Diploma in Filmmaking while working on her third short Milk. Funded by grants from Short Film Otago and the Dunedin City Council, as well as a successful crowdfunding campaign, Milk continues its run at festivals around the world.
With a slate of female-centric screenplays across several genres, Pennie is an accomplished storyteller. Her debut feature Riding Blind was the recipient of an Otago Southland Writer’s Residency and a NZWG Seed Grant in 2019.
STELLA REID, wahine Pākehā, hails from Te Whanganui-A-Tara. A graduate of Toi Whakaari, Stella has won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Stage UK Acting Excellence Award, and was a 2019 nominee for Wellingtonian of the Year (Arts). Her NZ On Air, NZ Film Commission and The Body Shop funded short film, Drop Down Globe, which was a Someday Story, can be viewed on Māori Television OnDemand. A lifelong love affair with short stories has slowly developed into an anthology webseries, BURBS, of which she directed and wrote several episodes. The series, a love letter to Wellington, has tens of thousands of views on Youtube. Recently she has devised and performed in Small Ponds, a TV proof of concept, by Duncan Sarkies. Before lockdown she was the acting coach on the feature film Poppy, and developing a short film with writer Eamonn Marra for an anthology based on the book Headlands. She is looking ahead to being the Write Room Wellington Screenwriter Resident for 2020.
RACHEL ROSS’ shorts credits include 2011’s Taylor receiving top mention in its category at Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, 2017’s NZIFF premiere and MIFF selection Have You Tried, Maybe, Not Worrying? and NZ Show Me Shorts Premiere and BAFTA-Qualifying Aesthetica for comedy piece Number Two. Rachel was selected for the 2017 Accelerator Lab in Melbourne with Have You Tried, Maybe, Not Worrying? Earlier in 2017 Rachel was the recipient of a 2017 New Zealand Film Commission’s Talent Development Grant. This $10,000 screenwriting grant enabled her to spend 8 weeks at the New York Film Academy developing her first feature screenplay.
In June 2019 Rachel was the recipient of the New Zealand Film Commission Grant, Catalyst He Kauahi. This grant dedicates $75,000 towards her short Green (on top of $8,000 Boosted funding) and $10,000 towards further script development for her feature Exhale. Rachel is now in post-production for Green and in development with Exhale.
JESSICA GRACE SMITH is a New Zealand actor, writer and director currently based in Auckland. Jessica graduated from Toi Whakaari in 2009 and over the past ten years acting she has observed many different directing styles. Of these she has integrated those which most resonated with her as a performer and storyteller in her own directing work. Her directorial debut, Everybody Else Is Taken (2017) won a Jury Award at the Academy-Award accredited Palm Springs International ShortFest and went on to screen at many festivals worldwide. Her second short FLIP (2019), funded by the NZFC, premiered at Toronto After Dark and just won an award (TBA) at ConCarolinas Short Film Festival in North Carolina. Her most recent work is Bondi Slayer, a Screen Australia funded digital series, shot on location in Sydney. Jessica has a passion for working on female driven projects, and makes a considered effort to approach women first when forming her crew.
KATHLEEN WINTER is an independent filmmaker of Irish and Pākehā descent based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. She is a graduate of the New Zealand Film and Television School and Robin Laing Scholarship recipient.
Her short documentary and web-series work has centered politically challenging stories that reflect real lives and uplift communities.
Topics her recent work has explored include:
- Takatāpuitanga and Pride spaces (in the short film He Kākano Ahau – From The Spaces In Between)
- The experiences of women working minimum-wage jobs in Aotearoa (in the web-series Minimum, supported by NZOnAir for RNZ)
- Colonisation and Pākehā responsibility (in the web-series Land of the Long White Cloud, supported by NZOnAir for The NZ Herald and RNZ).
She is interested in stories of gender and sexual diversity, local history and grassroots movements, nerd culture, tino rangatiratanga and re-indigenisation, working-class and women’s stories, and ultimately – revolution.