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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.”

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.