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Well done to our member Becky Kuek, who has just been announced as a recipient of the very first Every Voice initiative, run by NZ On Air, Screen Australia, and Tik Tok. Becky has received funding for her 10-part scripted comedy series Long x Xia, which she will be co-writing and co-directing alongside Gwen Lin.

Long x Xia follows Ruby and CJ (a.k.a Long and Xia), two cousins who find themselves embracing the vigilante life after hijacking a live lobster from a Chinese restaurant.

Every Voice is aimed at supporting “diverse and distinct creators” to create innovative content exclusively for the platform TikTok. Four teams from New Zealand have been chosen and three from Australia. Each team receives up to AUD $50,000 to cover development and production costs for their projects. In addition to this funding, recipients like Becky will participate in virtual workshops to develop their storytelling skills, and learn how to create the best content for TikTok.

Amie Mills, Head of Funding for NZ On Air says they are “thrilled to support each of the talented emerging creative teams to tell their unique stories, in their own voices, in authentic and exciting new ways.”

Lee Naimo, Screen Australia’s Head of Online, sees exciting potential in supporting the development of these projects; “These distinct scripted and documentary series all reflect one of the greatest strengths of TikTok – that it is a platform for creators to connect with audiences and build their online communities.”

Spotlighting Asian Artists in Aotearoa, Portraits is a new 12-part micro-documentary series with six episodes directed by DEGANZ member and participant of the 2021 Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator, Nahyeon Lee.

Presented by Asian arts organisation Oryza, Portraits is a nuanced snapshot of Asian Artists in Tāmaki Makaurau and the intersection of creativity and identity in the diaspora. Filmed last year, the series has just launched the first episode, directed by Nahyeon and featuring Rosabel Tan, the founding editor of Pantograph Punch.

“It started with the big questions that I’m always asking myself, about how to respectfully tread the intersection between identity and creativity, how to ensure the artists are uplifted in the process, not flattened into a prescribed identity,” writes Nahyeon.

“I wanted this process to be a collaboration, where I would let the artists lead the conversation on how they wanted to define themselves and their work instead of thrusting assumptions and labels onto them.

“I’m so proud of this lil series and feeling really grateful for all the artists who trusted me and let me into their worlds to discuss their work.”

Nahyeon also directed episodes with filmmaker Roseanne Liang, interdisciplinary designer Michael McCabe, producer Puteri Raja Ariff, actor Pamela Sidhu and zine-maker Helen Yeung. Well done Nahyeon!

Episodes drop weekly on Oryza’s Instagram and website.

Edited by DEGANZ member Chia Chi Hsu, web series Inked is a milestone in Aotearoa’s television history — our first funded Chinese bilingual drama. That may seem surprising given that Chinese have been in New Zealand since the 1860s, the first non-European and Pacific Island immigrants to arrive. Although Inked reflects the lives of more recent Chinese immigrants, it speaks to generations of Asian New Zealanders.

The eight-episode series follows Jiayue, a 1.5 generation pharmacy student secretly apprenticing at a tattoo studio while she struggles to connect with her unhappy father. Technically, Inked contains four dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, Cantonese, Nankinese and Shanghainese. It has subtitles in both English and Simplified Chinese.

Chia cut the web series while completing a DEGANZ Drama Editor Attachment with editor Dan Kircher. When we spoke to Chia about her attachment, she said, “Bit by bit, what I had picked up from the attachment, I was able to apply them directly to what I was working on: from how to organise a project for a drama, how to tackle the notes, to tactfully dealing with tricky situations.”

Chia was part of a diverse, Asian-led cast and crew. Playwright Renee Liang, who had a small cameo, wrote on why Inked is significant for Aotearoa and what it was like behind the scenes.

According to Renee, “There is comedy throughout, but the observations in Inked – especially of the complex negotiation of family relationships when those involved are trying not to fall into the gaps between cultures – are insightful, deep and above all, real.”

The series debuted as a single package on Prime in late September. It is now available to stream on Neon and Sky Go.


Following the success of feature films Waru and Vai comes Kāinga. With funding through NZ On Air, Kāinga will be an anthology of short films led by Pan-Asian filmmakers that celebrates the experience of eight different Pan-Asian women as they navigate what it means to become ‘at home’ in Aotearoa.

The movie will be produced by Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for RNZ.co.nz. It closes a  film trilogy written and directed by underrepresented female filmmakers in the New Zealand screen industry.

We are delighted that DEGANZ members are among the eleven female creative leads in this project!

Writer Mia Maramara 

Director Michelle Ang 

Writer/director Ghazaleh Golbakhsh 

Director Julie Zhu 

Writer/director Nayheon Lee