14 September 2015

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ), NZ On Air and Screentime New Zealand Limited are pleased to announce the first attachment through DEGNZ’s TV Drama Director Attachment Scheme.

Matthew Saville will attach to director Ric Pellizzeri on Screentime’s telefeature Bombshell: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior for TV One, which will begin production in October.

The DEGNZ TV Drama Director Attachment Scheme is an industry professional development initiative funded by NZ On Air and the production company involved and managed by DEGNZ. It will see three emerging directors attached to New Zealand drama productions in the 2015/2016 year.

“It’s a great opportunity to observe a director at work on a major drama production and learn,” said Saville. “I’m excited by the opportunity and the project, and thanks to DEGNZ, NZ On Air and Screentime for making it happen.”

“We’re delighted to have Matthew on the production team. We believe he will be a great asset and hope we can provide experiences for him that will enrich his skill base,” said Screentime’s Managing Director Philly de Lacey.

”As the funding agency for television  we have a significant vested interest in ensuring great talent is coming through the ranks; it will determine the quality of the projects we may fund in the future. We are really keen to see Matthew’s progress through this attachment,” said Jane Wrightson, Chief Executive of NZ On Air.

Saville is an experienced actor and screenwriter who has directed two highly successful short films. His first, Hitch Hike, premiered at the internationally recognized Tampere International Film Festival in 2012. Dive, Saville’s second short, was long listed for the Academy Awards for winning best short film and best screenplay at New Zealand’s Show Me Shorts Film Festival, and selected for the prestigious Telluride International Film Festival amongst others.

Initiated by DEGNZ, the Drama Director Attachment scheme is intended to give emerging drama directors the opportunity to shadow an experienced director through the pre-production, production and post-production process as a means to improve their craft skills. The ultimate outcome is to increase the talent pool of drama directors available to domestic and international productions in New Zealand.

This scheme follows on from DEGNZ’s recent AVED Director Attachment initiative, which was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission and Ash vs. Evil Dead Limited. It saw New Zealand directors Regan Hall, Roseanne Liang, Louise Leitch, Joe Lonie and Rene Naufahu attach to the Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert Ash vs. Evil Dead TV series, shot in Auckland and now in post production.


For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu

Executive Director

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ


Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is a not-for-profit membership organisation that represents Directors and Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors and Editors of feature drama and documentary; television drama, documentary and factual programmes; short films; video art; animation; commercials and web content.

DEGNZ’s two primary roles are advocacy and professional development. We:

  • are dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts of directing and editing.
  • foster collegiality and unity within the screen industry.
  • promote members’ creative and economic rights.
  • work to improve industry working conditions and remuneration.
  • offer professional advice and information on contracts and industry standards and practice.
  • offer professional development events, networking opportunities, career advice, dispute resolution, mentoring, workshops, training, discounts and regular news bulletins for members across all levels of expertise, from novices to seasoned professionals.
  • are a voice for Directors and Editors in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of the pan‐industry group SINZ (Screen Industry New Zealand), and by making submissions to government and public officials.
  • Internationally work co-operatively with other guilds and we belong to the International Affiliation of English‐Speaking Directors’ Organisations (IEASDO).

DEGNZ is Auckland-based with an office in Grey Lynn.

Contact Details:

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent

Grey Lynn

P.O. Box 47-294, Ponsonby




Screentime NZ Limited

Screentime NZ Ltd is one of New Zealand’s premier producers of blue chip drama and documentary content. It is known for specialising in true life and true crime storyies. The company has been in business since 1996, and is part of the International Banijay Group.

Join us tomorrow Tuesday September 8th in conversation with internationally acclaimed director Paul Haggis, the director behind the Oscar winning film of 2004, Crash. 

Paul is also an accomplished writer, with a number of credits including Crash, Quantum of Solace and Million Dollar Baby to his name.

Be at Horse & Trap, 3 Enfield St Mt Eden, from 6 – 7pm. 

DEGNZ members only. RSVPs essential – please email samantha@degnz. Cash bar. 



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Professional development is an important part of the guild’s activities. A number of the opportunities have limits on participants, so we are constantly having to screen applications and respond to questions about what’s required, and “Why wasn’t I successful?”

While there are many factors that come into play when decisions are made by us, and those who help us select or who do the choosing for us, the two key questions that are first asked are: “What has the person done?” and “How good was it?”

The screen industry is all about turning out product, whether it be a video, documentary, commercial, TV episode, film, web series or other. At the bottom end it can be an audio-visual sausage, at the top end a piece of art. Intellectualism can have a big part to play, or not as Michael Bay has proved, but success comes firstly from creating the product, and then is hopefully followed by critical acclaim, box office success, increased sales, high ratings or whatever else is the measure that defines that particular product’s success or failure.

What strikes me with the screen industry is that it’s in the doing rather than in the knowing that success comes.

Recently, we had a Collaborators Series event at which director Lee Tamahori spoke. And last night I attend the NZ Cinematographers Society’s event with cinematographer Michael Seresin. Both are highly acclaimed internationally for their work. I was struck by the similarities between the two. But even more so by how they got into the industry—at the bottom. Lee was given a job by Don Reynolds as a boom operator even though he admitted he didn’t know what a boom operator did. Michael’s father got him a job with John O’Shea at Pacific Films as a gopher to save him from a wayward lifestyle. Both worked their way up with no film school education or knowledge of the industry to being at the top of their careers internationally by being on-set, being smart and doing it. Their learning came on the job.

Before film schools came along, TVNZ and the National Film Unit were the training grounds for people aspiring to careers in the screen industry. People learned there by doing.

Today, with education a massive business, we have courses, diplomas and degrees for people wanting a career in the industry.

I was asked a week or so ago to attend an industry focus group organised by an educational institution that is looking to respond to the industry by shaping their screen degree for the future, and melding it in a way that responds best to industry needs. Admirable.

But as often happens when seasoned industry people sit around and discuss work opportunities for new people entering, it wasn’t long before moans about the attitudes of film and media school graduates surfaced. Most criticisms centre on the sense of entitlement graduates have with their piece of paper in hand, which to most of those there means little or nothing. Getting in and doing it with smarts and a proactive, can-do approach on even the lowliest of tasks still counts over a formal screen education it seems. Just like Lee and Michael and many others in the screen industry have done as they worked their way to lofty heights and good pay packets from the bottom of the ladder.

Old school attitude. Sure. But one that still matters when it comes to those hiring and firing in the industry today. Which brings me back to the guild’s professional development programme.

Thanks to the New Zealand Film Commission, we offer a comprehensive professional development programme with a wide variety of opportunities. We have added to this with our latest Drama Director Attachment initiative, supported by NZ On Air and local drama production companies. We hope in the future to offer others.

These are presented by people in the industry doing it. Passing on skills and knowledge—much of it practical— that many of them use on a daily basis.

We always get a good response to our professional development opportunities. But we’d like to see more. It shows to our funders that what we are doing offers real value. And we believe they bring real value to the participants who can leverage off the learning experiences to help them go further with their career and next project.

Formal education does have its place these days. Our professional development programme goes a few steps further we feel. But it’s hard to go past the Nike maxim in the screen industry. Doing it really does count. Making it good, even better.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Calling all past, present and potential DEGNZ members! Join as at our Open Night for Directors, where you can network with fellow film-makers, chat to current members and ask any nagging questions you have about DEGNZ membership in an informal setting. We provide the delicious nibbles – just bring yourself!

Please indicate your attendance on our Facebook event page.

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If you’re a director looking for more experience working with actors, our Rehearsal Room offers the perfect fix. How often do you get the chance to workshop scenes in a supportive environment with an experienced mentor to give guidance, advice and priceless nuggets of wisdom?

You can register here for the next Auckland Rehearsal Room, which is taking place on Saturday August 8, or look ahead and register for Auckland and Wellington events scheduled for later in the year.

Check out our previous posts on the Rehearsal Room for a taste of what happens at this awesome event and learning experience.

This event is brought to you through the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission.