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In series successes, we wish to congratulate the cast and crews of Rūrangi and Creamerie for being nominated for the 2021 MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards.

Directed by Max Currie (DEGNZ), Rūrangi is one of three finalists in the LGBTQIA+ / Scripted category. Season 1 is currently streaming on Hulu.

Creamerie is a finalist in the Race and Ethnicity – Scripted category, along with We Are Lady Parts and Dreaming Whilst Black. The six-part series for TVNZ was directed by member Roseanne Liang, and edited by Jochen Fitzherbet (DEGNZ) and Tom Eagles, who was awarded a DEGNZ International Editor’s Mentorship in 2016.

Now in its 5th year, the MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards are dedicated to championing and promoting diversity and inclusion in all its forms across the international television industry. The Awards ceremony is being held in Cannes on October 13.

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.

The 2021 Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival has announced an impressive lineup of New Zealand feature films. More than a few DEGNZ members have had their films selected and we would like to congratulate each and every member. We can’t wait to see your mahi on the big screen!

This is the first part of our NZIFF 2021 members round-up.

Millie Lies Low

Premiering to the world this year, Michelle Savill’s feature film directorial debut, Millie Lies Low (pictured above), tells the story of an architecture grad accepted into a prestigious internship who panics, misses her flight and fakes being in New York while hiding out in her hometown.

Rohe Kōreporepo – The Swamp, the Sacred Place

Over the past 150 years, 90% of Aotearoa’s swaps have been drained – a tragedy considering they are among the world’s most valuable and bio-diverse ecosystems. Exploring the re-flooding, re-creation and restoration of our wetlands, Rohe Kōreporepo – The Swamp, the Sacred Place is a documentary most befitting the global crisis of our time and was edited by Gaylene Barnes.

There Is No I in Threesome

Following a critically acclaimed US premiere on HBO max, the documentary There Is No I in Threesome returns home for its theatrical world premiere on the big screen. Another milestone for DEGNZ members, director Jan Oliver Lucks and our board member Francis Glenday who cut the film.

 

A Mild Touch of Cancer

Annie Goldson directed, produced and wrote the screenplay for A Mild Touch of Cancer. David Downs survived cancer and is dedicated to helping fellow New Zealanders face their own cancer journeys. These are their stories. A Mild Touch of Cancer will have its theatrical premiere at the festival this year. With an impressive twenty year career and multiple awards under Annie’s belt, we’re sure this will be an unmissable documentary.

Fiona Clark: Unafraid

Director Lula Cucchiara’s Fiona Clark: Unafraid unravels the legacy of a great New Zealand photographer whose work ensures that the history of marginalised queer communities in Aotearoa is never forgotten. This intimate portrait of a ground-breaking photographer will have its world premiere at NZIFF. This doco is edited by Anastasia Doniants, who was selected for our first ever DEGNZ Drama Editor Attachment in 2018, and Shailesh Prajapati was assistant editor.

Mark Hunt: The Fight of His Life

Described as an autobiographical rags-to-riches story, Mark Hunt: The Fight of His Life, shines a light on one of New Zealand’s most prolific sporting superstars. Veteran filmmaker Peter Brook Bell directs and Gary Sims edits this compelling and harrowing documentary, charting Hunt’s challenging childhood to his global success as the New Zealand MMA fighter and UFC champion.

Mothers of the Revolution

DEGNZ board member Margot Francis is one of four editors of the feature-length documentary Mothers of the Revolution, telling the story of a nineteen year protest where thousands of women from around the world came together at Greenham Common to take a stand against nuclear proliferation. This is the story of one of the longest protests in history!

Whetū Mārama – Bright Star

Aileen O’Sullivan is one half of the directing partnership of the documentary Whetū Mārama – Bright Star, telling the inspiring story of Sir Hekenukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi, aka Hek Busby, modern pioneer waka builder and navigator.

Patu!

To mark the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Springbok tour protests, Patu! will take to the big screen once more with this restored and remastered version, newly preserved by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. The team worked for nearly five years to bring this landmark film back to the big screen. First released in 1983 and cut by Annie Collins, we can’t wait to see it in the cinema once again!

We are beyond proud of DEGNZ Board member Steven Chow whose short film Munkie will have its United States premiere at the 20th edition San Diego International Film Festival (14 – 24 October).

Starting out as a thesis short film for his Masters of Arts in Screen Production at The University of Auckland, Munkie is now going global! The film had its world premiere at the ​​Fantasia International Film Festival last month in Montreal, and has been selected for Beyond Fest in Los Angeles.

Written, directed and edited by Steven, the film follows a vengeful daughter whose violent plan of revenge against her domineering “tiger parents” spins out of control.

View from the Top banner

On Wednesday evening I participated in our online Editors and Assistant Editors Gathering. There were about 35 of us. It was an opportunity to discuss issues that affect editors and assistant editors, and to network.

One of the questions that often came up from students studying screen, and one that I regularly encounter, is: How do you get a job in the industry?

This is a question we are wrestling with at the Guild as we put our efforts into the Reform of Vocational Education, to provide both a clear pathway into work as well as to outline educational structures and content that will help to ensure learners are as prepared as they can be to work within the screen sector.

The Gathering also got me to look back at how I got into the screen sector, and I thought I would relate that pathway here.

I was living in Tokyo Japan working with an American and Canadian friend in their small agency as a writer and rewriter of copy for advertising and communications content. A good chunk of the work was taking the Japanese to English translations the Canadian and others were doing of corporate video scripts and brushing them up for re-narrating in English.

The American had gone to film school in California and had a mate who was working as an Editor at Entertainment Tonight, a daily entertainment show on CBS. My friend managed to convince his mate and his mate’s bosses they needed a stringer (contract) crew in Japan to do entertainment stories for the show. They agreed, so he went out and bought camera and sound gear, roped his Canadian partner, me and another friend in, and very quickly we were filing stories for them. It was fun work. In the early days it was occasionally covering well-known bands coming to Japan to play concerts before it spun into much broader entertainment content and more regular work.

Meanwhile I had been travelling back to NZ once a year for breaks. On one trip I met a young Kiwi student studying at Auckland University who was a good Japanese speaker. He told me that he had been getting work with a couple of Japanese line producers, one living in Auckland the other in Sydney. They were coordinating Japanese TV commercial crews coming down to NZ for shoots. This made me think that there was an opportunity to get into this work as my English-speaking Japanese girlfriend (now wife) worked regularly as an interpreter, and my sister was a travel agent. We set up a company and for a few years worked with Japanese crews, most often in Central Otago and Southland shooting commercials.

During this time we returned to NZ to live and continued running the company, but I decided that I wanted to make content rather than just help others to make it. I made up a list of production companies in Auckland (there weren’t many at that time) and started banging on doors. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do too much knocking before I was hired to work as a production assistant for television and film producer Robin Scholes. So began my climb up the ladder through various roles as a writer, director, producer and executive producer doing corporate, TV, travel, and news for companies, including a couple of my own, before I launched into narrative drama.

Everybody has their own path into the screen industry. Every once in a while from now on I’m going to ask someone to write about their own experience. I’m hoping it will at least be interesting if not helpful for readers, while the Guild works to make it less about who you know and more about what you know, and formalise how to get there to kickstart a career.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director