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Shows Rūrangi, Educators and Homebound 3.0 promise entertainment and comic relief for Kiwis with funding from NZ On Air.

Rūrangi

The award-winning Rūrangi has been greenlit for a second season (5 x 22 mins) with recent funding from NZ On Air. DEGANZ member Max Currie directed and co-produced the first season, which tells the story of a transgender activist who returns home to the remote, politically divided dairy community of Rūrangi in hopes of reconnecting with his estranged father.

Season 2 will screen on Prime and Māori Television. Hulu picked up the first season for distribution in the US, among other international sales to Australia, the UK and France.

Rūrangi is a finalist in the 2021 New Zealand Television Awards for NZ On Air Best Drama Series.

The series was also cut into a feature film that screened at NZIFF in 2020 and the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, winning an Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. The film recently took home the award for Best International Feature at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Educators

Returning for a third season is the hit improvised comedy show, Educators. Set in a secondary school, the show centres around the dysfunctional teachers in charge of educating the next generation.

Entirely unscripted and featuring some of New Zealand’s top comedians, Educators is directed by Jesse Griffin (DEGANZ) who also co-writes the storylines. Recently, we hosted an online talk with Jesse and Educators editor Stuart Boone, delving into their process of writing, directing and editing the series. The talk was recorded for the DEGANZ podcast so if you missed it, you can catch it online or wherever you get your podcasts!

Homebound 3.0

DEGANZ 2021 Incubator alumna Hweiling Ow is part of the team behind new comedy Homebound 3.0, written by writer/actor Sam Wang. The project won the South Pacific Pictures Big Pitch at the 2019 SPADA Conference and will now become an exciting reality produced by Kevin and Co for Three.

The half-hour comedy revolves around a struggling 30-something unpublished writer forced to move back home and deal with the disappointment of his Chinese parents.

Read more on NZOA’s funding decisions

Member director Michelle Savill (DEGANZ Incubator 2018) spoke about her film Millie Lies Low in a recent interview with RNZ. The film is playing at the New Zealand International Film Festival, and opened for a special preview season for the festival in Wellington.

Millie Lies Low tells the story of anxiety-ridden architecture grad Millie who misses her flight to a prestigious internship in New York. Faced with no money for another ticket and too ashamed to admit her blunder, Millie fakes being in New York through social media prowess while lying low in her hometown.

Michelle shared how her own experiences inspired the making of this film; “The idea came about when the last short film I made, Ellen is Leaving, was screening at a festival in France. I missed my flight, and my first thought was ‘I’m going to have to hide for three weeks and pretend I’m in France’.”

Michelle also drew from her own struggles with mental health to portray anxiety and panic attacks in the film; “I struggle with anxiety a lot, and depression off and on, so I’m always working from ‘write what you know’… so I guess that’s the fountain of creativity that I’m drawing from.”

Tickets to Millie Lies Low are available on the NZIFF website, and you can listen to the full interview on RNZ.

Congratulations are in order for the winners of the DEGANZ Best Director and DEGANZ Best Editor awards at the 2021 Show Me Shorts Film Festival. The award for Best Editor went to Peter Roberts and Dwayne Cameron for June. Isaac Bell took out the prize for Best Director for his short film Space Invader.

A tale of raw despair, carnal natures, and transcendent occurrences, June follows the story of Willow and David as their world disintegrates while trying to grapple with the news of a serious diagnosis from their doctor.

Isaac Bell’s comedy Space Invader follows young Max, a small boy with a big imagination, and his co-pilot father. Feeling threatened by the addition of a new woman in his father’s life, Max must do whatever it takes to confront this intruder before his father is lost forever.

Since 2009, the Guild has proudly sponsored both of these awards at Show Me Shorts, an Academy Awards-accredited festival.

Check out the full list of this year’s winners at the Show Me Shorts Facebook page here.

Snakeskin, directed by DEGANZ members Gillian Ashurst and co-edited by Cushla Dillon, returns to the big screen as part of a specially curated line-up of retrospective films to honour Bill Gosden, former director of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF).

Starring Melanie Lynskey, Snakeskin follows two people bored of mundane suburbia who hit the road in search of adventure. Gosden wrote of Snakeskin when it ran at the Festival in 2001, “Bold, funny, sexy and macabre, Gillian Ashurst’s juicily cinematic first feature boots the cinema of unease into the new century…”

Snakeskin is one of eight films selected to screen as part of The Bill Gosden Tribute. The Tribute is a collection of some of Bill’s favourite films screened previously during his 40-year reign as director. In addition, a book to mark one year since his passing, titled The Gosden Years, is available for purchase from November 11 and is a record of his enormous legacy at the helm of NZIFF, including curated film notes and programme introductions.

We are delighted at the chance to see Snakeskin once again on big screens in parts of the country. To see if it’s screening in your town, head to the NZIFF website. Congratulations Gillian and Cushla!

The New Zealand International Film Festival has announced that local shorts will also screen before selected feature films in Auckland and Wellington, on top of the NZ’s Best and the Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika short film sections. Keep an eye out for these five short films by DEGNZ members.

The Man Downstairs

Director/producer and DEGNZ member Grant Lahood will have his short The Man Downstairs  screened this year during the festival. The premise is mysterious as young couple Jess and Tom move into the perfect new apartment upstairs from their landlord Colin, but then things start getting strange.

Marieville

Grant Lahood also has another short film screening, one he wrote, directed and produced called Marieville. Marieville is centred around Karen and a sudden encounter with an icon from her past that conjures evocative memories of her late father and his passion for a model Mississippi paddle boat.

The Meek

The storyline for The Meek simply couldn’t be more timely: in a twist of chromosomes and fate, young Izzy may also be the key to humanity’s future in a world ravaged by a deadly virus. The short film set to screen at this year’s festival is directed and written by DEGNZ member Gillian Ashurst and edited by Jonathan Woodford-Robinson.

Munkie

DEGNZ board member Steven Chow will see his film Munkie screened in Auckland and Wellington during the festival too. Steven wrote, directed and edited Munkie which tells the story of Rose and her violent plan for revenge against her domineering tiger parents.

Peninsula

In the film Peninsula, Mark is pushed out of his comfort zone while trying to reconnect with his estranged son Toby and deal with his new neighbour Amber who does things differently. Written and directed by Fiona McKenzie and edited and produced by Scott Flyger, Peninsula has done extremely well internationally and we are excited to have it screen on our shores again.