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DEGNZ Best Director and Best Editor Goes to…

Best Director Armagan Ballantyne with DEGNZ President Howard Taylor

Congratulations to our member Armağan Ballantyne for taking home the DEGNZ Best Director award for her short film Hush, presented at the Show Me Shorts 2019 Auckland Opening & Awards Night on October 5th. Hush tells the story of Ava, a young woman who surprises her brother and friends when she suddenly turns up in her small home town with a secret.

Congratulations to Annie Collins for winning DEGNZ Best Editor for 16-minute thriller . In the film, a pregnant woman finds herself alone and in a dangerous situation with a violent gang member.

Annie told the audience that she will be giving her space on stage to emerging editors from now on – short films should be cut by emerging editors. Annie continues to be a mentor to many and lead DEGNZ’s efforts for editors and assistant editors.

 

Annie Collins with DEGNZ President Howard Taylor

Past Winners:

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ has proudly supported excellence in directing and editing at Show Me Shorts since 2009.

 

2018 DEGNZ Best Director Summer Agnew – The Brother
DEGNZ Best Editor Betsy Bauer – Cleaver
2017 DEGNZ Best Director Zoe McIntosh – The World in Your Window
DEGNZ Best Editor Tom Eagles – Do No Harm
2016 DEGNZ Best Director Ned Wenlock – Spring Jam
DEGNZ Best Editor Bryan Shaw – Shout at the Ground
2015 DEGNZ Best Director Alyx Duncan – The Tide Keeper
DEGNZ Best Editor James Cunningham – Accidents, Blunders and Calamities
2014 DEGNZ Best Director Hamish Bennett – Ross & Beth
2013 SDGNZ Best Director Joe Lonie – Honk If You’re Horny
SDGNZ Best Editor Thomas Gleeson – Home
2012 SDGNZ Best Director Sam Kelly – Lambs
SDGNZ Best Editor Jeff Hurrell – Lambs
2011 SDGNZ Best Director Jack Woon – The Great Barrier
SDGNZ Best Editor Lewis Albrow – 3 Hours
2010 SDGNZ Best Director Mark Albiston & Louis Sutherland – The Six Dollar Fifty Man
SDGNZ Best Editor Hayley Lake – Make Me
2009 SDGNZ Best Director James Cunningham – Poppy
SDGNZ Best Editor Paul Swadel and James Cunningham – Poppy

Photos courtesy of Show Me Shorts.

Eye On Asia

View from the Top banner

I had the good fortune to attend the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) for the official launch of the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Writers and Directors (AAPA) last week. Guild president Howard Taylor signed the MOU for DEGNZ’s participation in this alliance in Tokyo in May.

AAPA is dedicated to serving as an independent and impartial advocate on behalf of the audiovisual creators community in the Asia-Pacific region and seeking to strengthen copyright protection.

Already we are benefitting from belonging to this Alliance with considerable support coming from Writers & Directors Worldwide (W & DW) and the International Federation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), under whose umbrellas the Alliance sits.

Present at BIFF were two guild members with their films: David Stubbs with his feature Daffodils, and Sam Kelly with Savage, which had its world premiere in Busan. It has been a while since a New Zealand feature was selected for BIFF, so it’s quite a coup to have two here. Congratulations to David and Sam for their achievements in getting their features into what is arguably still the most prestigious film festival in Asia.

While there, I took the opportunity to look at the feature film projects being pitched from around the Asian region, both by young emerging filmmakers and those more established. It was interesting to note the similarities and differences between what is happening across Asia and in New Zealand.

One of the first things that struck me was that like many aspiring New Zealand writer/directors, many Asian writer/directors expect to write a script from their treatment and have it move into production within one year. The average time for a film to move from initial idea to completion (if it does get made) in New Zealand and Australia is five to seven years. Case in point is Sam Kelly’s film Savage, which spent over six years in development. I asked Professor Darcy Parquet, who lectures in Korean film at the Busan Asian Film School, if in Asia it was unrealistic to expect such rapid progression. He agreed that it was.

Budgets also vary considerably. In speaking to one Japanese producer, I was told that indie film budgets in Japan typically sit in the range of US$30,000 – 300,000. Korea is a highly commercial market where indie films struggle as they do in Japan. Korean independent films have slightly higher indie budgets than Japan, but nowhere near the typical US$5 million budget a Korean commercial film gets. Elsewhere in Asia, indie film budgets seem to range from US$200,000 to US$600,000 – 750,000. An important consideration to remember is that there is not a lot of government support for film around Asia, unlike in New Zealand and Australia.

We are certainly not alone in wanting to tell dark dramas. In a number of pitches I heard, cancer and suicide featured frequently and there were quite a few tough films wanting to be told. This was balanced by genre or genre hybrid projects—a reflection I believe of the lower budgets, lack of government funding and a need to get returns for investors, as well as a desire to tell more genre stories.

Highly obvious at the Asian Film Market that sits alongside BIFF is the European presence. Many European organisations and producers are seeking to strengthen ties with Asia for co-production, which is the mainstay of the European film industry. There is also a fascination with Asia and its stories. Europeans, who are masters of co-production and have access to a variety of soft-funding sources, are searching out talented Asian filmmakers with strong stories to support. It’s such a pity that co-production in New Zealand and Australia is so limited by both attitudes and resources, as well as isolated by geographic distance. New Zealand has co-production agreements with South Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan, but these are rarely used.

I’d have to say that I’ve never before met as many film festival programmers from other festivals before as I met here. That can probably be attributed to the fact that it’s a smaller market than others I’ve been lucky enough to attend. I think, however, that it’s another sign of the European interest in the region.

Streamers are having the same impact in Asia as is happening elsewhere, with the future of indie film still very uncertain. SVOD still hasn’t picked up the slack that DVDs used to bring in terms of revenue. That doesn’t seem to have slowed the Asian passion for indie features though. Everyone still seems to be rushing forward. But nobody it would seem is yet sure if it’s towards oblivion or a brighter future.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

NZIFF 2019: DEGNZ Member Round Up

NZIFF 2019

Tonight, the New Zealand International Film Festival opens and with that, we congratulate members of the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ who have films in this year’s programme.

For My Father’s Kingdom

For My Father’s Kingdom premieres at home at the Civic Theatre after its Berlinale world premiere earlier this year. This debut feature documentary is co-directed by Vea Mafile’o (DEGNZ) and Jeremiah Tauamiti, and follows the story of Vea’s father Saia Mafile’o. The film is edited by Guild board member Margot Francis.

Vea and Jeremiah were part of our Documentary Editing Masterclass with their film in 2017 with US editor Doug Blush.

Join them for a Q+A after at screenings in Auckland and Wellington (August 10). Flicks also asked the directors eight questions about their film.

 

For My Father's Kingdom

New Zealand’s Best 2019

Congratulations to our members whose short films have been selected by Jane Campion for the only competitive programme at NZIFF, New Zealand’s Best 2019. Egg Cup Requiem is co-directed by DEGNZ’s Prisca Bouchet with Nick Mayow. Krystal is edited by Cushla Dillon and Hinekura is the new film from director Becs Arahanga about a young woman’s rite of passage upon her first menstruation in 1600s Aotearoa.

Tickets are officially selling fast for the Auckland screening on Saturday 27 July.

 

Egg Cup Requiem, Krystal, Hinekura

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2019

Ngā Whanaunga features Liliu, edited by former DEGNZ president Peter Roberts and Rū, cut by longtime board member Annie Collins.

Ways to See is written and directed by Jessica Sanderson, edited by Anastasia Doniants and made under Fresh 30. We do love a DEGNZ director-editor team up. Ways to See follows the attempts of a young Māori girl to reconnect with her absent father. Anastasia Doniants is also the editor on a second film here, Ani.

 

Liliu, Ways to See, Ru, Ani

Short Connections

Already sold out in Auckland and Wellington, Short Connections includes director Armagan Ballantyne’s collaboration with Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, Hush. Walk a Mile is edited by Janine Frei, and Memory Foam by editor Chia Hsu.

Across all the shorts programmes, it’s exciting to see so many Guild editors with work playing at this year’s festival.

 

Hush, Walk a Mile, Memory Foam

Herbs: Songs of Freedom

The curtains will close on the Auckland NZIFF programme with the World Premiere of Herbs: Songs of Freedom, an affectionate tribute to the iconic Kiwi band Herbs. The documentary is the latest editing collaboration between DEGNZ board member Francis Glenday and director/editor Tearepa Kahi, following POI E: The Story of our Song. POI E opened NZIFF 2016 and was nominated for Best Documentary Editor at the Rialto Channel NZ Film Awards.

Herbs: Songs of Freedom is bound to be another uplifting (and super catchy) local cinematic pleasure.

 

Herbs: Songs of Freedom

 

As a film community, support your fellow filmmakers and enjoy your time at NZIFF!

Members, don’t forget you can receive discounts on select screenings and the Masterclass with Thom Zimny. Check your inbox for the DEGNZ discount code in current newsletters.

Tema Pua
Events & Marketing Manager

NZIFF 2018: 12 Short Films from DEGNZ Members

Last Summer

Previously, we rounded up eight feature films from DEGNZ members in part 1 and part 2. This year, our members have also been generously featured in all four short film programmes at the New Zealand International Film Festival, ranging from the competitive New Zealand’s Best to the stylish and eclectic collection of Eight Uneasy Pieces.

Here is a handy list of all the shorts from our members to watch out for at the festival.

New Zealand’s Best

New Zealand’s Best is NZIFF’s only competitive category for short films. NZIFF programmers have reviewed 84 submissions to make a shortlist of 12 short films, from which director and cinematographer Leon Narbey has selected six finalists. The winner of the audience vote takes away the Audience Choice Award, consisting of 25 percent of the box office from the main-centre NZIFF screenings. 

Here are three short films from our members to root for in this year’s New Zealand’s Best competition.

MY FRIEND MICHAEL JONES is co-directed by DEGNZ member Samson Rambo and edited by DEGNZ member Luke Haigh. Set within an Otara school where bullying is ritualised into normality, an unlikely friendship between a high school misfit with OCD and a popular classmate forms the basis of this uplifting tale of acceptance.

CHARMER, edited by DEGNZ member Paul Wedel, is a portrait of a dating couple’s first real encounter. NZIFF notes the film for the languor of its pace and the sensitivity of its performances as it touches on essential issues of sexuality, isolation, and age.

SAIL AWAY, edited by DEGNZ member Dione Chard, is a cabaret romp about a young man who leaves his job at Quality Control to become a deep-sea sailor. Inspired by the likes of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, yet infused with a unique humour, this short film is about following your dreams into the unknown.

Read more about this programme >

My Friend Michael Jones

My Friend Michael Jones

 

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts

A curated collection of the year’s best Maori and Pasifika short films.

In the heartfelt documentary NATIVE IN NUHAKA, award-winning director and DEGNZ member Hiona Henare explores the close-knit community behind the Wairoa Maori Film Festival, the first New Zealand festival to be run by a Maori whanau. Craig Fasi writes, “Beautiful and undeniably real, Native in Nuhaka encourages more natives to use film as their statement of choice.”

THE MESSIAH, edited by DEGNZ members Cushla Dillon and Fauze Hassen, is an urban coming of age story about a young Polynesian boy’s encounter and experience with a self-proclaimed 14-year-old Messiah. A modern aesop infused with a unique cultural perspective, Leo Koziol calls this film ‘a sublime, dreamy, and surreal Polynesian parable.’

Read more about this programme >

Native in Nukaha

Native in Nukaha

 

Foreign Correspondents

International stories with a Kiwi eye.

Inspired by her own time staying in Japan with her grandmother, DEGNZ member Asuka Sylvie directs LAST SUMMER, an atmospheric drama about a young boy’s summer with his grandmother who is beginning to show signs of dementia. It featured in the Short Film Programme at Toronto International Film Festival. 

THE HORNS OF KOLKATA is a documentary by DEGNZ member Andrew Scott that explores the essentiality of honking and horns on the streets of Kolkata, India.

DEGNZ member Shailesh Prajapati co-produces SHIT ONE CARRIES, set in India, about the awkward intimacies between a father and son as old age approaches and caregiver roles are reversed by necessity.

Read more about this programme >

Last Summer

Last Summer

 

Eight Uneasy Pieces 

‘The Cinema of Unease’ explores the nooks and crannies of New Zealand.

In BATS, DEGNZ member Michelle Savill directs a stylish ensemble portrait of hard-partying twenty-something Wellingtonians as they crash their way through a neon night of sex, freedom, and friendship.

THE BROTHER, edited by DEGNZ member Luke Haigh, is a tense tale of a prodigal son’s hunt for atonement, set against the rugged backdrop of the South Island.

DEGNZ member Lauren Porteous premieres an extended cut of her 48Hours Grand Final Winner UNDER THE BRIDGE, a drama about a runaway’s encounter with a homeless man that addresses one of the most pertinent issues in New Zealand today with cinematic flair.

Read more about this programme >

Bats

Bats

 

Shorts with Features

I WILL NOT WRITE UNLESS I AM SWADDLED IN FURS, directed by DEGNZ member Wade Shotter and based on the comedic short piece of the same name by John Babbott, is a portrait of a fussy writer’s battle with his own ego and procrastination. Catch this short as it screens before Juliet, Naked.

I Will Not Write Unless I Am Swaddled in Furs

I Will Not Write Unless I Am Swaddled in Furs

NZIFF 2018: More Features to Watch from DEGNZ Members

She Shears

The full Auckland programme for the New Zealand International Film Festival has been officially unveiled and we are very excited for what’s ahead. Wellington follows suit with a programme launch at 7pm tonight.

In part 1, we spotlighted four features from our members amongst the festival’s Early Announcements. Here, we roundup four more from our talented members to look forward to at NZIFF.

Auckland tickets are on sale from Friday 9am and Wellington from 5 July. For info on other centres around the nation, check out the NZIFF website.

She Shears – Director Jack Nicol

World Premiere

In DEGNZ member Jack Nicol’s documentary, five female sheep shearers take on the competition at the Golden Shears in a sport where men and women compete together. NZIFF writes, “Jack Nicol applies camera poetry to the agility, strength, skill and rhythmic grace of women wielding blades of steel.”

“What we wanted to do was show off the shearing world and the shearing community in a way it’s never been seen before.” — Jack Nicol, interview with The Country.

Read more  >

She Shears

SHE SHEARS / Photo: Rebecca McMillan

 

Dog’s Best Friend – Director Eryn Wilson

NZ Premiere

After discovering online the work of Jacob Leezak, Sydney founder of the Canine Behaviour Expert Dog Psychology Centre, thanks to his mum, DEGNZ member Eryn Wilson saw the opportunity he had been looking for to direct his first feature-length documentary. Dog’s Best Friend is a tender film about the troubled dogs taken in at this centre and the couple who have made rehabilitating them their life’s work.

“Between them they’re so empathetic … you imagine a couple of humans that have experienced damage that they’re working through, and here are these damaged dogs. It’s no coincidence that they’ve taken on this kind of work.”
– Eryn Wilson, on The Project.

Read more  >

Dog's Best Friend

DOG’S BEST FRIEND / Photo: Irma Calabrese

 

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen – Consulting Editor Annie Collins

World Premiere

Beginning in the late 70s, editor and DEGNZ board member Annie Collins collaborated with Merita Mita on four documentaries that included The Bridge (1982) and Patu! (1983). Annie contributes to a new documentary on Merata Mita’s life as consulting editor.

Merata Mita, pioneering Māori filmmaker and international champion of women in indigenous film, is celebrated by her son Heperi Mita in this richly personal portrait.

Read more  >

Merata

MERATA / Photo: Gil Hanly

 

Mega Time Squad – Editor Luke Haigh

NZ Premiere

DEGNZ member Luke Haigh (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) has three editing credits – one feature, two shorts – in this year’s NZIFF.

Playing in the Incredibly Strange section, Mega Time Squad (dir. Tim van Dammen) is a high-meets-low mash up of Kiwi humour, sci-fi and mad cap crime thriller about a small-town criminal who stumbles on a mystical artefact with time travelling powers.

Read more  >

Mega Time Squad

MEGA TIME SQUAD / Blur and Sharpen, Candlelit Pictures