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6 Key Developments to Note

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There have been a significant number of developments that have occupied our time recently that are worthwhile highlighting.

Firstly, the Copyright Act Review Issues Paper submission.

DEGNZ made a submission, the primary focus of which was the call for recognition of director’s copyright in audiovisual content and cinematographic film. Directors are the authors of their audiovisual works and this needs to be recognised in New Zealand in the Copyright Act, as it is in many other countries around the world. With copyright, directors will be able to negotiate and receive income beyond solely fees that will help them to generate more creative work, and better sustain themselves in their careers. We have a long road to go to convince Government on this, and we need everyone’s help to do so. I hope that many of you were able to make your own personal submissions to assist us with our case. In future we will be looking to you again to support our efforts, particularly with personal statements about how the lack of recognition for directors in respect to copyright has adversely affected you economically and creatively in seeking sustainable careers for yourselves as directors.

Second, the Screen Industry Strategy.

Some of you may be aware of the formation of a body to respond to the Government’s call for industry to develop a 10-year screen industry strategy. DEGNZ has been extremely unhappy about how this group was formed and the lack of any real consultation and communication with the wider screen industry as it was set up. We have called on the proposed chair of this body, former broadcaster and now lawyer Linda Clark, to ensure clear communication and transparency with all parties in the screen industry as it goes about its work. DEGNZ board member and director Michael Duignan was invited into the facilitation group appointed to work alongside this body in response to our request for involvement. In the coming months we will have more to communicate with you about this very important initiative.

Third, unionisation.

Following the almost unanimous vote at the Annual General Meeting last year to unionise, DEGNZ has been working with legal representation to ensure our constitution meets the requirements of a union. The redrafting of the constitution has been completed and will be presented at this year’s AGM for adoption. This will formalise the Guild’s existence as a union and we will affiliate with the Council of Trade Unions soon after. Many of you will be aware that DEGNZ participated in the Film Industry Working Group along with a number of other guilds and bodies. It was convened by the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway, to find a way for screen industry workers to collectively bargain, and made its recommendations to the Minister after many months of discussion. We look forward to the Government following through and making the changes necessary to allow collective bargaining to occur. Unionisation is one facet of our preparations for the work the Guild will have to do when that happens.

Fourth, sexual harassment and intimacy on set.

DEGNZ board member and director Louise Leitch has been leading the Guild efforts in regard to sexual harassment and protocols around intimacy, simulated sex and nudity content. As Louise outlined in this column a couple of weeks ago, she has been working closely with Equity NZ on their Guidelines for Nudity and Intimacy on Stage and Screen. She also participated in the full workshop programme run by UK Intimacy Coordinator Ita O’Brien. It’s the Guild’s intention to offer an ongoing training programme for directors led by Louise and calling on highly experienced actor, instructor and Equity NZ president Jennifer Ward-Lealand, another full participant at Ita O’Brien’s workshops. At the same time, the Guild is maintaining close communication with the Screen Women’s Action Group as they go about their efforts to ensure a safe, sexual harassment-free workplace for screen industry workers.

Fifth, DVD library.

DEGNZ board member and director Gabriel Reid brought to the board’s attention the potential loss of a significant audiovisual resource with the closure of Auckland’s Videon DVD store this year. Videon had a broad collection of many arthouse, auteur director and hard to obtain DVDs. We all know that DVD stores have suffered immensely from the impact of streaming, with many closing down, and a lot of the DVDs that were available from Videon cannot be accessed digitally, or easily. Now Wellington institution Aro Video is suffering as Videon did. The DEGNZ board felt that something had to be done and quickly to preserve access for directors, editors and others to the rare and difficult to obtain films that Videon had on its shelves. In the fire sale that occurred at Videon, DEGNZ acquired over 3000 of their DVDs. We have these in storage and are currently negotiating a solution to see these held in an audiovisual library for access by anyone interested in these films for research purposes or entertainment. We will inform the membership how to go about this once negotiations are complete and the DVDs have all been catalogued.

Sixth, training for post-production.

DEGNZ board member and editor Annie Collins has been driving our strategic and tactical efforts around ensuring editors and others are trained appropriately for work during post-production. Annie is one of NZ’s most highly experienced narrative short, feature and documentary editors and is drawing on all of her accumulated knowledge as we structure current and future initiatives. The Assistant Editor workshops are one example of the outcomes from our focus in this area, the feature film editing attachments another. The work Annie is leading will hopefully introduce or stimulate other initiatives here.

I am thankful to have such a dedicated and supportive board working on behalf of the membership and their crafts. While our other board members haven’t been mentioned in this particular missive, I would also like to acknowledge board members Roseanne Liang, Phil Gore, Francis Glenday, and of course President Howard Taylor for their tireless efforts on behalf of the Guild. As well, we should recognise the invaluable contribution made by Advisory Board member and ex-board member Grant Campbell who represents the Guild on the board of the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society and input into our Copyright Submission.

Finally, we can announce that editor Margot Francis and director Robyn Paterson have joined the DEGNZ board, replacing directors Helena Brook and Zoe McIntosh, who both had to step down because of work/personal commitments.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Intimacy Guidelines a Win-Win

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UK based Intimacy Coordinator Ita O’Brien spent three days in Auckland last December sharing her highly acclaimed approach to intimacy on set.

The events gave actors, directors, producers, writers and crew from the stage and screen industries an opportunity to learn Ita’s best practice approaches to intimacy, simulated sex scenes, and nudity, implementing her Intimacy On Set Guidelines.

I attended the introductory seminar and two workshops: the first, for actors and directors interested in exploring clear guidelines when working with intimacy, and scenes with sexual content; the second, for potential intimacy coordinators.

I came away from the workshops with a clear framework for directing intimate scenes. Using the Intimacy on Set Guidelines helped remove any awkwardness and kept the work in a clearly professional space. I feel that I now have more tools in my director’s toolkit and greater confidence in working with intimate content.

Ita O’Brien recommends that Intimacy on Set Guidelines are used as standard practice for all intimate scenes. When a production calls for nudity, simulated sex and/or any sexual violence, Ita recommends productions engage an Intimacy Coordinator.

In many ways, an intimacy coordinator can be likened to a fight coordinator. Far from stepping on the creative toes of the director, the role of an intimacy coordinator, like a good fight coordinator, is to work with the director to help them realise their vision. By helping the director to choreograph, rehearse and stage a scene, intimacy coordinators keep performers safe and able to give their best. Action is broken down into achievable, repeatable beats over which directors and actors lay the emotional journey of the scene. In my opinion, it’s a win-win for directors, actors and the production as a whole.

Equity NZ are currently updating NZ’s Guidelines for Nudity and Intimacy on Stage and Screen. The intention is that these Guidelines become standard practice throughout our industry. At DEGNZ we have been working closely with Equity on updating the Guidelines and will keep our members informed of progress.

The Equity Foundation, who hosted Ita O’Brien’s visit to Australia and NZ, put together a short video of the Australasian events, which you can view here.

Louise Leitch
Director | DEGNZ Vice-President

Directing In the Intimate Zone

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Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Call for Applications.

Until now, many directors have given little thought to directing actors in scenes that involve intimacy, nudity and simulated sex. This needs to be addressed, as these scenes can make actors feel extremely vulnerable, particularly when this sensitive area of performance is not given the preparation and care it is due.

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ encourages members of the Guild to apply for our one-day workshop on directing intimacy with Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira.

In this workshop, we will discuss and work with actors on the process of developing an intimate scene for the screen using the best practice guidelines developed by UK intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien, who was brought over by Equity to run training workshops in Auckland late last year.

There are four places for directors to participate and up to 14 places for directors to observe.

Participant Directors upon selection will each be invited to submit a short, intimate scene – either with or without dialogue – for consideration ahead of the workshop. During the class, Participant Directors will take turns to direct and co-direct pairs of actors in intimate scenes under Jennifer’s guidance.

When: Sunday 10 March 2019, 9am – 5pm

Where: MTG RM, 2 Kingsland Terrace, Kingsland, Auckland
A travel allowance may be available to selected Participant Directors travelling from outside the Auckland region.

Cost: Free
Light refreshments provided.

About Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Since training at Auckland’s influential Theatre Corporate, Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for over 35 years. Jennifer is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable acting talents and a respected theatre director. She has taught for The Actors’ Program, Toi Whakaari and NASDA.

Jennifer is currently President of Equity New Zealand, Patron of Q Theatre, and serves as a trust board member of The Actors Benevolent Fund. In the 2007 New Years Honours List, she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre and the community. She was given the SPADA Industry Champion award in 2018 and in the New Year’s Honours List was made a CNZM, Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for services to theatre, film and television.

Eligibility to Apply:

This workshop is R18.

If you apply as a Participant and are not selected, you will be considered for a place as an Observer.

Participant Directors:

  • You must be a DEGNZ member.
  • You must have experience directing at least short films/dramatic content, and are working in/moving into longer-form drama/film.

Observer Directors:

  • You must be a DEGNZ member.
  • Preference will be given to those who are actively engaged in directing or preparing to direct narrative drama, especially if you are dealing with scenes of nudity, intimacy, and/or simulated sex.

To Apply

Application Deadline: 3PM, Friday 22 February 2019

STEP 1: Sign in below and submit the form.

STEP 2: You will be redirected to the File Upload page, which can also be found here. Upload your application file(s) in PDF. Submit before the deadline:

  • a CV/bio with filmography
  • a brief, maximum one-page letter summarising why you would like to participate/observe, what you hope to gain from the workshop, and any experience directing intimacy (not a requirement for selection).

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

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This initiative is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

NZFC