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Script to Screen have announced the 12 participants selected for their initiative Strength in Numbers, including two of our members. Congratulations to Becky Kuek and her company Mooncake Ltd and Matasila Freshwater (DEGANZ 2021 Incubator alumna) of Tomorrow, Rain!

Strength in Numbers is a series of workshops running from February to June 2022. Its aim is to arm participants with the tools they need to build a sustainable screen business.

The course is led by David Court who founded the Compton School, Australia’s first creative business school. He is the former Head of Screen Business at AFTRS, and worked on the Jackson/Court review of the New Zealand Film Commission.

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

Our congratulations goes out to the team of Being Chlöe, which has received production funding through NZ On Air! The 90-minute documentary will be directed by member Charlotte Evans (DEGANZ Incubator 2020), produced by Letisha Tate-Dunning (DEGANZ) with executive producers Mark McNeill (DEGANZ) and Philippa Campbell. The film will be edited by Simon Coldrick.

Set to appear on Three after the next election, Being Chlöe will explore the political and personal life of Chlöe Swarbrick, currently New Zealand’s youngest MP. The project was earlier on granted NZ Film Commission script development funding.

In the meantime, audiences can watch OK Chlöe, a 9-minute film made by Charlotte and Letisha through Loading Docs, for a taster of the documentary to come.

Member Mary-Lyn Chambers’ new short film, KARANGA, is set to have its world premiere on December 13 on Sky Arts. The film is a cinematic exploration of the Māori contemporary dance work of the same name, choreographed by Merenia Gray.

The work is a love letter to Gray’s late mother Tiahuia Te Puea Hērangi Ramihana Gray (Ngāi Tahu, Rangitāne, Tainui), who performed the karanga – an ancient Maori ceremony only performed by women. KARANGA involves dance and the spoken word, led by performer Miriama McDowell.

Normally to be found in the editor’s chair, DEGANZ member Adam-Luka Turjak, also worked on this multidisciplinary dance work as the projections designer.

Watch KARANGA at 8:30pm, December 13 on Sky Arts.

Peter Burger

Decisions are out for the Interim Production Round of Te Puna Kairangi Premium Fund. A panel made up of members from NZ On Air, NZFC and Te Māngai Pāho have made conditional offers to two drama series, one documentary series and a feature film.

We’re excited to see that DEGANZ member Peter Burger will direct the first block of new drama series The Gone (6 x 60 min), a co-production between New Zealand and Ireland.

Michael Bennett, Simone Nathan and Irish screenwriter Anna McPartlin will write the show. The Gone follows an Irish detective Theo Richter and Kiwi cop Diana Henare, who team up to find a young Irish couple after they vanish from an infamous rural North Island town. The project begins pre-production in January 2022.

The $50 million Fund supports the Aotearoa New Zealand production sector recovery from COVID-19 by supporting high-quality productions that tell New Zealand stories for global audiences. The four screen projects in the Interim Round will share over $11.5 million.

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