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After premiering at NZIFF last year, Mark Hunt: The Fight of His Life is set to release in NZ cinemas on February 3. Directed by DEGANZ member Peter Brook Bell, this compelling documentary follows one of New Zealand’s sporting superstars, kickboxing and MMA fighter Mark Hunt, and his rags-to-riches story.

When making any documentary, trust between the subject and filmmaker is important. In an interview with Flicks, Peter explained that the biggest challenge of filming was building that trust between himself and Mark, so that he would open up on camera. Time that was well spent. Catch Mark Hunt: The Fight of His Life in theatres next month.

 

Edited by DEGANZ member Luke Haigh, American romantic comedy The Royal Treatment premieres on Netflix today. Shot in Dunedin, the film follows hairdresser Izzy, played by Laura Marano (The Perfect Date), as she takes on a job working at the wedding of a charming prince played by Mena Massoud (Aladdin), but things get complicated when sparks between them fly.

Watch the trailer below and make sure to add it to your weekend watch-list.

 

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What a horrible bloody year it’s been for the New Zealand screen industry.

Lockdowns interrupting domestic and international production here. Local films having their releases shortened or delayed. The New Zealand International Film Festival cancelled in Auckland. The LOTR TV series moving to the UK. Cowboy Bebob cancelled after one season. The list of woes goes on.

At the Guild, COVID has impacted significantly on our professional development programme, although we have managed to do some talks and workshops online. At least we have still been able to make progress on members’ rights, the Screen Industry Workers Bill, and the Reform of Vocational Education amongst other things, but it’s fair to say we, and I’m sure many others, are Zoomed out.

A lot of us have gone to the wall mentally, emotionally and financially in 2021. And as we close out the year we have the threat of the Omicron variant to prolong our COVID concerns. But as the US, the UK and Europe face massive rises in infection rates and increases in deaths, I believe we can still consider ourselves fortunate. Yes, some things could have been done better here in the face of this pandemic, but with our now close to 90% nationwide vaccination rate for those 12+, we seem to be in good shape to square off against the viral uncertainties of 2022.

Christmas and New Year are almost upon us and the festive cheer in some ways has never been more welcome.

It was any eye opener for me, having been isolated to the rural outskirts of Auckland for the last few months, to be in Ponsonby for Xmas lunch yesterday with the DEGANZ team. Aucklanders are out. Dollars are flowing into businesses and out into the regions, hopefully unaccompanied by COVID.

Film and TV production is back up, with crew looking to be busy as the year ends and through the summer.

NZFC told us today that a good bunch of our films—features and shorts—have had international success this year. Further, domestic production will be way up next year, thanks in part to the Premium Production Fund, and the level of international production spend forecast in NZ for 2022 looks set to match the average of previous years.

As you all hopefully take a restorative and enjoyable break across the weeks ahead, I’d like to thank you for your ongoing support of DEGANZ, whether as a member or collaborator with us in the guild’s purpose and activities. We couldn’t do it without you.

Meri Kirihimete!

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director