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An exciting new film festival is coming to Auckland! Showcasing films featured at this year’s NZIFF, as well as international talent, In The Shade will commence early next year on January 19 and runs until February 1. Fiona Clark: Unafraid is part of the line-up.

DEGANZ member Lula Cucchiara directed the documentary, with Shailesh Prajapati as assistant editor. The film explores radical photographer Fiona Clark and her work, which captured the burgeoning gay liberation movement and vibrant queer scene in 1970’s New Zealand.

The festival will be exclusive to Academy Cinemas and the Hollywood in Avondale, and will include international films sourced from some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, such as Sundance, Cannes and Toronto.

When speaking of the current state of Auckland’s cinema scene, In The Shade commented that “Auckland is currently in the throes of a big screen drought, the like never seen in our moviegoing lifetimes”. Therefore, quenching Aucklander’s “insatiable hunger for the very best cinema from around the world” is what the festival hopes to do.

Fiona Clark: Unafraid has recently enjoyed a run as part of NZIFF, and will no doubt be an exciting addition to the new In The Shade film festival as well. Other films announced as part of the programme can be found on the festival’s website, with more titles being added in the coming weeks.

My first job right out of film school was to take over an overnight unpaid assistant editing job on a low budget feature… and I had no idea what I was doing.

Film school gave me friends in the same industry, and a good grasp on how to use Avid and what editing was about creatively, but at the time there was little instruction on the technical aspects that the assistant editor role required. I think we only had one day on how to assist!

I was given a short overview of the job by the previous assistant and was left to it. It was a little bit of a trial by fire but (thank goodness for the internet) I was able to google answers to just about everything I had questions for.

I communicated with the editor via a notepad, and he offered something amazing—if I wanted to cut some of the rushes, he would watch and give me feedback. So I spent half of the night importing, syncing and organising, and the other half cutting! It was an excellent learning experience and when we eventually met in person, he told me that he always offered that to his assistants, but nobody ever took him up on it! My next three projects were with the same editor, since at the time nobody else knew who I was.

My first job outside of my editing mentor came through Women in Film and Television (WIFT). I met a producer at a networking event who needed an assistant. My following job also came through attending a WIFT meeting, though kind of sideways… I had been offered a data wrangling job via email but the message went to my spam folder! Luckily the person who messaged me saw me at a WIFT event and asked me about it.

My first job, the unpaid overnight one, was in December 2009. The data wrangling job came in July 2010, and it allowed me to finally quit delivering pizza and move into the film industry full-time.

Kerri with her first editor carpark as an editor on The Brokenwood Mysteries / Photo: Supplied

My first bit of advice, and I know this may be super obvious, is to make sure you do your job reliably. You don’t have to go overboard, but producers and editors expect you to get your work done. Make sure you know what they need from you—and do it well. If you make their working life easier, they’ll call you again.

I assisted full-time from 2010 until 2016. During this period I cut as many side projects as possible in my spare time. At the beginning, most were unpaid (or lightly paid) passion projects from other creatives who were also in the early stages of their careers. It took a lot of energy, and it sucks that most of these early jobs are unpaid, but working on so many short films and music videos really honed my storytelling skills. I should also shout out the DEGANZ editing masterclasses! I had the opportunity to attend two of them and they were so valuable in helping me upskill.

Making the move from assistant to editor was really scary. I was at a point in my assisting career where I was very busy. I was also occasionally getting offers for small editing jobs that I had to turn down because I was already occupied by assistant work. You could make a great career out of assisting, but that’s not what I wanted, so I had to stop taking assistant work and focus on selling my skills as an editor. My first year exclusively editing was slow, and as a result I took a big pay cut. But I kept pushing and slowly built a good reputation as an editor and started getting return calls.

My advice for people entering the industry is to say yes to opportunities as often as you can without burning yourself out. Work hard, practise your craft, and be kind. Be comfortable turning down work that won’t take you where you want to be. And let the people you work with know what your goals are—you’d be surprised how much support you will find!

I’ll always be grateful for the willingness of New Zealand editors to be mentors, to give their time and to uplift anyone who wants to give it a go. I hope I can pay it forward!

 


About Kerri Roggio

Kerri is an Auckland-based editor. In the last few years, she has edited the comedy horror film DEAD; on TV series Mystic (season 2), My Life is Murder (season 2) and The Brokenwood Mysteries (seasons 4-7); as well as short films, documentaries and music videos.

kerriroggio.com

How I Got Started in the Industry is a new guest blog series from the Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand (DEGANZ). Our members reflect on how they made their way into assistant editing, editing, and directing—with no two stories the same. They offer advice for those starting out. Get in touch with admin@degnz.co.nz if you’re a member and would like to share your story.

Congratulations to DEGANZ members whose films have been selected for this year’s Hawai’i International Film Festival (HIFF) in November. Furthermore, several films will be having their US Premieres.

Annually, an average of 150 narrative features, documentaries and shorts are chosen from around 1,500 films. HIFF endeavours to recognise new and emerging talent. In addition, the festival spotlights work that explores social and cultural issues.

High Tide, Don’t Hide is a full-length documentary about teenagers discovering that activism, authority and awareness make for a steep learning curve in the race for existence. The film was written by Niva Kay, DEGANZ member and participant in our Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator 2021. Niva is one of four producer-directors on this film, which is having its US Premiere at HIFF.

Earlier this year, High Tide, Don’t Hide had its World Premiere at the New Zealand Doc Edge Festival, where it won an award for Best New Zealand Editing and a Special Mention in the Best New Zealand Feature category.

The short film Disrupt (pictured above) follows the aftermath of a burglary gone wrong. In it CJ must choose between his whānau or his next fix. DEGANZ member Lisa Greenfield was the editor with Margot Francis (DEGANZ board member) as the supervising editor.

Celia Jasper, writer, director and editor of short film Milk, explores what happens when a young girl sees an old man unable to pay for his milk. It recently won Best Editing at the Venezia Shorts in Italy and is nominated for Best Screenplay at Show Me Shorts.

Teine Sā is a supernatural anthology series based on legends of the Pacific. After centuries of slumber, the ‘Teine Sā’ or ‘the ancient ones’ have been evoked to come into the world once again. Having its US Premiere at HIFF, Teine Sā has a couple of DEGANZ members behind it. Jack Woon was the editor, while Zoey Zhao worked on episode 3 as his assistant editor. Zoey is part of our Incubator 2021.

Inspired by the Black Panther Party in the USA, a group of young radicals from New Zealand follow suit in The Panthers. The six-part mini series made history as the strongest opening week for a drama on TVNZ OnDemand. DEGANZ member Vea Mafile’o directed two episodes.

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On Wednesday evening I participated in our online Editors and Assistant Editors Gathering. There were about 35 of us. It was an opportunity to discuss issues that affect editors and assistant editors, and to network.

One of the questions that often came up from students studying screen, and one that I regularly encounter, is: How do you get a job in the industry?

This is a question we are wrestling with at the Guild as we put our efforts into the Reform of Vocational Education, to provide both a clear pathway into work as well as to outline educational structures and content that will help to ensure learners are as prepared as they can be to work within the screen sector.

The Gathering also got me to look back at how I got into the screen sector, and I thought I would relate that pathway here.

I was living in Tokyo Japan working with an American and Canadian friend in their small agency as a writer and rewriter of copy for advertising and communications content. A good chunk of the work was taking the Japanese to English translations the Canadian and others were doing of corporate video scripts and brushing them up for re-narrating in English.

The American had gone to film school in California and had a mate who was working as an Editor at Entertainment Tonight, a daily entertainment show on CBS. My friend managed to convince his mate and his mate’s bosses they needed a stringer (contract) crew in Japan to do entertainment stories for the show. They agreed, so he went out and bought camera and sound gear, roped his Canadian partner, me and another friend in, and very quickly we were filing stories for them. It was fun work. In the early days it was occasionally covering well-known bands coming to Japan to play concerts before it spun into much broader entertainment content and more regular work.

Meanwhile I had been travelling back to NZ once a year for breaks. On one trip I met a young Kiwi student studying at Auckland University who was a good Japanese speaker. He told me that he had been getting work with a couple of Japanese line producers, one living in Auckland the other in Sydney. They were coordinating Japanese TV commercial crews coming down to NZ for shoots. This made me think that there was an opportunity to get into this work as my English-speaking Japanese girlfriend (now wife) worked regularly as an interpreter, and my sister was a travel agent. We set up a company and for a few years worked with Japanese crews, most often in Central Otago and Southland shooting commercials.

During this time we returned to NZ to live and continued running the company, but I decided that I wanted to make content rather than just help others to make it. I made up a list of production companies in Auckland (there weren’t many at that time) and started banging on doors. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do too much knocking before I was hired to work as a production assistant for television and film producer Robin Scholes. So began my climb up the ladder through various roles as a writer, director, producer and executive producer doing corporate, TV, travel, and news for companies, including a couple of my own, before I launched into narrative drama.

Everybody has their own path into the screen industry. Every once in a while from now on I’m going to ask someone to write about their own experience. I’m hoping it will at least be interesting if not helpful for readers, while the Guild works to make it less about who you know and more about what you know, and formalise how to get there to kickstart a career.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

We’re hosting gatherings in Auckland and Wellington and we’d love for you to attend! All editors and assistant editors welcome.

Catch-up with new and familiar connections (beyond the water cooler) and meet the editors on our board: Francis Glenday, Margot Francis, Steven Chow and Annie Collins. A short part of the evening will provide you with the opportunity to share your thoughts on how the Guild can further serve our professions.

Nibbles will be served
Cash bar

Auckland – Wednesday 11 August 2021, 7pm
Register now >

Wellington – Wednesday 1 September 2021, 6:30pm
Register now >

Members and Non-members – Free