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Essie Davis and Thomasin McKenzie in The Justice of Bunny King

On July 29, following its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, DEGNZ is excited to be hosting a screening of The Justice of Bunny King, in association with Rialto Cinemas. The film follows Bunny King (Essie Davis), a mother of two who’s a rough cut diamond with a sketchy past. While battling the system to reunite with her children, a confrontation leads her to take her niece Tonyah (Thomasin McKenzie) under her wing. With the world against her and Tonyah, Bunny’s battle has just begun.

Following the screening, audiences will be joined by director Gaysorn Thavat for a Q&A session, moderated by Lucy Wigmore.

We look forward to seeing you there!

When: Thursday 29 July, 6pm
Where: Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland

Film Industry Member tickets only $12

Book now

This past Queen’s Birthday weekend saw the annual Wairoa Māori Film Festival take place, a festival that celebrates Māori cinema, with multiple films by DEGNZ members showcased.

Chantelle Burgoyne with Ocean and Jaimee Poipoi with Guess You were a part of the Mana Wahine Shorts programme.

Karma by Sam Li and Flip by DEGNZ Incubator alumna Jessica Grace Smith screened as part of the festival’s Midnight Madness programme. Flip was edited by Guild member Alex Boyd.

Meanwhile, Hannah Marshall’s Frankie Jean & The Morning Star, edited by Luke Haigh, played in the Aotearoa Shorts programme.

Matariki on the Move

Keep an eye out for Cian Elyse White’s Daddy’s Girl (Kōtiro), edited by Annie Collins, which will screen in local Auckland cinemas as part of the festival’s Matariki on the Move programme (June 24 – July 6). It will play alongside other short and feature-length films, including Merata Mita’s Mauri.

Kia Ora Shorts

Wairoa Māori Film Festival has also curated a list of the best Māori short films in their Kia Ora Shorts programme, screening in Auckland on July 8 – 9. Ngariki Ngatae’s Te Wao Nui, edited by Tia Taurere-Clearsky (DEGNZ), will feature alongside Frankie Jean & The Morning Star and Daddy’s Girl (Kotiro).

If you’re in Tāmaki Makaurau, check out the full programmes and where to watch them here.

A new multi-million dollar film studio has been given resource consent to begin building in Christchurch. Once fully developed, it would be a $100 million facility that could eventually be responsible for 2000 jobs.

DEGNZ member Jordon Mauger is behind the development. Speaking to Stuff, he states that he is currently talking to investors but the plan is to have the studio operational in early 2022.

There is still big international demand to film in Aotearoa and Mauger believes that this new studio will attract big money into the region.

View from the Top banner

Go back fifteen years and it was pretty easy to figure out what success was for screen content. For the small screen it was the Nielsen ratings. For the big screen it was the box office. The show that knocked it out of the ratings park or the film that pulled significant box office clearly indicated it had found a lot of eyeballs. These measures only account though in essence for popularity.

What about the Māori news or information programme on a Sunday morning that Māori loved? Or the arthouse feature that had its world premiere at the A-list festival in Berlin and then did well at the A and B-list festival circuit but only did $250k at the NZ box office. This content reached its intended audiences, but they were niche not broad.

We all recognised this, though. Figure out your audience, broad or niche, and target your content at them. Even for niche audiences, you could still learn whether or not you were successful.

Nowadays, however, in a fragmented market, it’s not so easy to identify what success really is.

A series intended for Free-to-Air that doesn’t rate could find a much bigger audience when it’s moved to On-Demand. A film that does average box office in New Zealand could end up selling or being licensed to a global streamer and potentially be seen by millions more people than was ever thought possible.

The old indicators still work, but it’s simplistic to use them as the only measures of success, especially when popularity is the only yardstick being championed.

The digital world of content distribution has changed the paradigm and complicated how to measure real success, especially when those who control the means of distribution. Netflix, for example, rarely reveal what the very accurate data they alone have access to indicates about audience specifics.

To define a new measurement for screen content success, New Zealand company Parrot Analytics developed a 360 measurement system to take into account multiple points of digital activity around the world. This system is used by, amongst others, TVNZ, CBS, Disney, Sky, and WarnerMedia. Without the data from the content platforms available, this would seem a very valuable service. Perhaps something NZ On Air might want to consider to support their funding decisions if they don’t already utilise it.

But film sits in a very difficult position amongst this digital measurement system. The shared theatrical experience is considered first and foremost for film, unless you are making a telefeature. Filmmakers want their films to go on the big screen before they find their way to the small. Look at the ructions Warner Bros. created when they decided to send their entire 2021 slate straight to HBO Max at the same time as the theatrical release.

Even with the NZFC playing in the series drama space, NZ film is very much its raison d’etre. But the audience for New Zealand film just isn’t there like it used to be. The writing was on the wall before COVID arrived.

NZ film has had a tropical vacation in theatres while Hollywood has been on hold due to COVID, but winter is coming with the onslaught of backed up blockbusters about to hit us.

Amongst all the other changes needed at NZFC right now, defining success for NZ film is another thing that needs to go on the agenda. A paradigm shift in thinking is required because we can’t rely solely on box office numbers any more. Even more so because film is both art and business. There has to be room for both.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

We’re excited to be hosting a screening of James and Isey, in association with Rialto Cinemas, before its nation wide release on May 6. The documentary is a Northland celebration of life & aroha like no other, inviting audiences into the lives of ninety-nine year old Isey and son James, during the week leading up to Isey’s 100th birthday.

Following the screening, audiences will be joined by director/producer Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition, Land of the Long White Cloud, Love Story), for a Q&A session moderated by Zöe McIntosh.

We look forward to seeing you there!

When: Thursday 24 April, 5:45pm
Where: Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland

Film Industry Member tickets $12

Book now