Posts

We have had the great pleasure of running our Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator programme over this past year in spite of a few COVID challenges along the way. Congratulations to our 2020 Incubator alumni Michelle Ang, Charlotte Evans, Pennie Hunt, Stella Reid, Rachel Ross, Jessica Grace Smith and Kathleen Winter!

Many thanks goes to our facilitator Philippa Campbell, all our special guests and speakers and our funder, the New Zealand Film Commission.



Speed dating with producers at the Incubator

View from the Top banner

With the Big Screen Symposium about to kick off tomorrow, it’s yet another recent event at which to be thankful for, for our Government’s response to COVID. We can gather in big numbers will little concern for the spread of the virus, while in many other places around the world the statistics of COVID sickness and death are horrific. I was extremely pleased to hear yesterday that our Trans-Tasman cousins can now travel interstate, relatively freely.

 

And talking of our Aussie cousins, we have a new head at the Australian Directors’ Guild in Alaric McCausland. Alaric has a screen executive background in Australia and internationally, bringing a slightly different focus over his last two predecessors. As always, DEGNZ seeks a strong relationship with the ADG, with my first call with Alaric cordial, informative and supportive.

 

NZFC, NZ On Air and TMP obviously got more feedback than they bargained for in regard to the Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund. They are now late in getting the final criteria out—perhaps they will show at BSS. I have to imagine the number of applications to the fund is going to be as voluminous as the feedback was.

 

I heard yesterday that TV3 is now officially in the hands of Discovery. A Stuff article here. Being run as an Australasian service, it will be interesting to see what opportunities come for local content makers in the trans-Tasman tie, with Discovery’s global network and the planned launch of a streaming service here making for exciting possibilities.

 

Over at Sky they’ve got a new CEO in Sophie Moloney. Martin Stewart wears the blood splashes of his restructuring as he heads back to the UK, and Moloney offers an experienced, friendly, female and kotahitanga approach as she takes Sky forward. Unity is certainly needed in an organisation reeling from job losses.

 

TVNZ’s GM Local Content Nevak Rogers came with Drama and Scripted Comedy Commissioner Steve Barr to talk to our Emerging Women Filmmakers participants at their fifth and final workshop. Nevak was pleased to tell me that TVNZ is now spending around $100 million on local content, which is besting the highest spend during the Charter years at TVNZ. For those not old enough to know what the charter was, this from Wikipedia:

 

The Labour Government introduced a “TVNZ Charter” in 2002. This was a list of objectives for TVNZ which specified it must broadcast a wide variety of New Zealand-made content; the broadcaster was given public responsibility to provide news, drama, documentaries and “promote understanding of the diversity of cultures”. In 2008 the Government announced that the broadcaster was to become “more public-service” like. TVNZ responded by launching two commercial free channels; TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7. By 2011 Prime Minister John Key announced the closure of these channels. 6 in 2011, and 7 in mid-2012, with much of their content put into TVNZ Heartland and TVNZ Kidzone24 which are only available behind a Sky TV paywall. The National Government abolished the Charter in 2011. Political opponents accused the Government of reducing TVNZ’s commitments as a public broadcaster.

 

Just this week at the NZ On Air end-of-year function, Broadcasting Minister Chris Faafoi reaffirmed his commitment to public broadcasting via a video address. Back in October, Faafoi announced that the TVNZ – RNZ merger discussion was back on the table. The partially completed and partially redacted PWC consultant’s report released in September, however, didn’t outline the benefits of combining the broadcasters into a single entity or state how TVNZ or RNZ’s services would change if the proposal was approved. Just what is going to happen and when seems entirely open to discussion. Dealing with COVID and its impacts provides wonderful cover for doing nothing for quite a while yet. Let’s hope something good comes of it sooner.

 

Finally, the DEGNZ Workflow Best Practice Guide, driven by board member and  long-time, drama and documentary editor Annie Collins, continues to win rave reviews. If you want to save your production time and money and yourself stress, become very familiar with the content, available on our website here.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

 

2020 DEGNZ Incubator

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is delighted to introduce the seven directors selected for the fourth DEGNZ Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator:

Michelle Ang, Charlotte Evans, Pennie Hunt, Stella Reid, Rachel Ross, Jessica Grace Smith and Kathleen Winter

From June onwards, the directors will take part in five one-day workshops tailored to provide specific knowledge, networks, skills, and inspiration to enable them to advance themselves and their careers. The 2020 programme is organised by DEGNZ, facilitated by producer Philippa Campbell and made possible with the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission. Philippa is an Emmy, Golden Globe and PGA award nominee as the producer of Jane Campion’s international hit television series Top of the Lake and Top of the Lake: China Girl.

We look forward to mentoring this talented group of filmmakers!

 

MICHELLE ANG is an Emmy and Logie nominated actress with work spanning New Zealand, Australia and the USA. She won Best Actress at the New Zealand Film Awards for My Wedding And Other Secrets. She has had the privilege of working with top directors such as Jane Campion, Jodie Foster, John Hillcoat and Steven Soderbergh. Her performances have been seen at festivals including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin. She produced her first feature For Izzy, attended the Sundance Director Lab 2018 and has directed music videos. She is currently in post-production for her self-funded short film NAI (Milk), which she wrote, directed and produced in Los Angeles. She was accepted into the MAP Screen Development Producer Training course and is working on creating a slate of projects.

Michelle Ang

CHARLOTTE EVANS is a Film Director based in Auckland, NZ. She started her film career in London in 2008 where she trained as a film editor for 2 years under the guidance of award-winning film editor Rick Waller. Charlotte has created music videos for a number of prominent artists such as Kimbra, Aldous Harding, Benee and Marlon Williams. In 2018 Charlotte’s directed an all-female team to create a film that commemorated 125 years of suffrage in New Zealand, with funding from NZ On Air. This project received an Honoree Webby Award, Silver at the NZCINE awards, Silver at Best Design Awards and Won Best Costume Design at NZTV awards. Four of Charlotte’s music videos made official selection at the Clipped Music Video Festival 2019. Recently Charlotte and her team of female filmmakers were selected for Loading Docs 2020 for their Short doco on Chlöe Swarbrick, who will also be the subject for a longer-form documentary. She is currently in production on a short doco about Rob Tennent and in development on a short film with comedians Hamish Parkinson and Brynley Stent.

Charlotte Evans

PENNIE HUNT is a writer and director based in Port Chalmers, Dunedin. She began making films during her nine years living and working in Germany with her shorts Earth, Hell, Heaven (financed by the Bavarian Film Commission) and Freakwave showing internationally including at Palm Springs, Hof and Aesthetica.

In 2016 Pennie returned to New Zealand and embarked on a Postgraduate Diploma in Filmmaking while working on her third short Milk. Funded by grants from Short Film Otago and the Dunedin City Council, as well as a successful crowdfunding campaign, Milk continues its run at festivals around the world.

With a slate of female-centric screenplays across several genres, Pennie is an accomplished storyteller. Her debut feature Riding Blind was the recipient of an Otago Southland Writer’s Residency and a NZWG Seed Grant in 2019.

Pennie Hunt

STELLA REID, wahine Pākehā, hails from Te Whanganui-A-Tara. A graduate of Toi Whakaari, Stella has won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Stage UK Acting Excellence Award, and was a 2019 nominee for Wellingtonian of the Year (Arts). Her NZ On Air, NZ Film Commission and The Body Shop funded short film, Drop Down Globe, which was a Someday Story, can be viewed on Māori Television OnDemand. A lifelong love affair with short stories has slowly developed into an anthology webseries, BURBS, of which she directed and wrote several episodes. The series, a love letter to Wellington, has tens of thousands of views on Youtube. Recently she has devised and performed in Small Ponds, a TV proof of concept, by Duncan Sarkies. Before lockdown she was the acting coach on the feature film Poppy, and developing a short film with writer Eamonn Marra for an anthology based on the book Headlands. She is looking ahead to being the Write Room Wellington Screenwriter Resident for 2020.

Stella Reid

RACHEL ROSS’ shorts credits include 2011’s Taylor receiving top mention in its category at Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, 2017’s NZIFF premiere and MIFF selection Have You Tried, Maybe, Not Worrying? and NZ Show Me Shorts Premiere and BAFTA-Qualifying Aesthetica for comedy piece Number Two. Rachel was selected for the 2017 Accelerator Lab in Melbourne with Have You Tried, Maybe, Not Worrying? Earlier in 2017 Rachel was the recipient of a 2017 New Zealand Film Commission’s Talent Development Grant. This $10,000 screenwriting grant enabled her to spend 8 weeks at the New York Film Academy developing her first feature screenplay.

In June 2019 Rachel was the recipient of the New Zealand Film Commission Grant, Catalyst He Kauahi. This grant dedicates $75,000 towards her short Green (on top of $8,000 Boosted funding) and $10,000 towards further script development for her feature Exhale. Rachel is now in post-production for Green and in development with Exhale.

Rachel Ross

JESSICA GRACE SMITH is a New Zealand actor, writer and director currently based in Auckland. Jessica graduated from Toi Whakaari in 2009 and over the past ten years acting she has observed many different directing styles. Of these she has integrated those which most resonated with her as a performer and storyteller in her own directing work. Her directorial debut, Everybody Else Is Taken (2017) won a Jury Award at the Academy-Award accredited Palm Springs International ShortFest and went on to screen at many festivals worldwide. Her second short FLIP (2019), funded by the NZFC, premiered at Toronto After Dark and just won an award (TBA) at ConCarolinas Short Film Festival in North Carolina. Her most recent work is Bondi Slayer, a Screen Australia funded digital series, shot on location in Sydney. Jessica has a passion for working on female driven projects, and makes a considered effort to approach women first when forming her crew.

Jessica Grace Smith

KATHLEEN WINTER is an independent filmmaker of Irish and Pākehā descent based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. She is a graduate of the New Zealand Film and Television School and Robin Laing Scholarship recipient.

Her short documentary and web-series work has centered politically challenging stories that reflect real lives and uplift communities.

Topics her recent work has explored include:

  • Takatāpuitanga and Pride spaces (in the short film He Kākano Ahau – From The Spaces In Between)
  • The experiences of women working minimum-wage jobs in Aotearoa (in the web-series Minimum, supported by NZOnAir for RNZ)
  • Colonisation and Pākehā responsibility (in the web-series Land of the Long White Cloud, supported by NZOnAir for The NZ Herald and RNZ).

She is interested in stories of gender and sexual diversity, local history and grassroots movements, nerd culture, tino rangatiratanga and re-indigenisation, working-class and women’s stories, and ultimately – revolution.

Kathleen Winter

We are excited to announce that the DEGNZ Women Filmmakers Incubator will be going online in 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis and will resume face-to-face workshops when safe to do so.

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is now accepting applications from female directors to take part in the fourth year of this talent development programme.

Background

The overall vision of the DEGNZ Women Filmmakers Incubator is to empower the participating directors with the confidence, knowledge and connections that they can use to go on and direct a feature film, drama or scripted series.

The Incubator is intended primarily for emerging debut directors of feature film (drama or documentary), but will also consider those wishing to establish careers in TV drama and scripted content.

Applicants must apply with a project, but the Incubator is primarily focused on filmmaker development, not project development.

The objectives of the Incubator are:

  • Increase the number of women directing features and TV drama.
  • Connect producers, broadcasters and funders with female directors with a view to getting more female-centric stories into and through development.
  • Create networking opportunities for women directors to further their projects and careers.
  • Inspire and encourage women directors to passionately pursue feature film and drama directing careers through interaction with successful women who serve as role models.
  • Improve directors’ understanding of the business of film and television drama.

The Incubator comprises five one-day workshops across 2020 with the first scheduled to take place in May 2020. Participants need access to a computer (recommended) or mobile to participate in online workshops via Zoom. If it becomes safe to resume public gatherings, remaining workshops will be held in Auckland. A travel allowance will be available for participants based in other regions.

The workshops are individually themed to provide specific knowledge, networks, skills, and inspiration that enable participants to advance themselves and their careers. As the global screen industry undergoes constant change during this turbulent time, DEGNZ will remain flexible as to the actual content of the programme, seeking to incorporate information and opportunities that are relevant.

Eligibility

All applicants will be expected to have a good level of directing experience with scripted content, such as acclaimed web series, shorts with festival success, TV commercials, or broadcast content.

Applicants must:

  • Have an active project (feature film, documentary feature, telefeature, TV/online drama or scripted series) in development that has never been presented to a broadcaster or funder. It is preferable that the project is at least at first draft script but if not available, there must be a detailed treatment for the project.
  • Have experience as a director of scripted content (drama, comedy) or documentary in the form of the project they are submitting, i.e. if you are applying with a narrative drama project, you must have experience directing narrative drama or if it’s comedy, experience directing comedy, etc.
  • For feature film, be a debut director.
  • Be available to participate in all workshops.
  • Be a NZ Citizen or permanent resident.

Membership

Selected participants must be DEGNZ members for the duration of the Incubator programme; they can be on either a Full or Associate membership level until 1 October 2020 as the Guild has reviewed its memberships in response to COVID-19. After 1 October, participants are required to be Full members, unless the Guild has decided to extend its Membership Holiday programme.

Selection Process

A selection panel will shortlist candidates. Shortlisted candidates must be available for a one-on-one interview via Zoom to be held around the end of April 2020. Getting an interview does not imply that you have been selected for the Incubator.

If shortlisted, you will be expected to immediately supply prior to the interview a detailed treatment of your project (different to your 1-page synopsis). The treatment needs to be within a minimum of 5 pages to a maximum of 10 pages.

The Incubator participants will be selected from the shortlist following the interview.

Decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

How to Apply

Application Deadline: 5PM, Friday 17 April 2020

Application Requirements:

  1. Completed DEGNZ Women Filmmakers Incubator Application Cover Sheet. Available here
  2. A one-page synopsis of the project with the ending revealed.
  3. A maximum two-page letter stating what your career goals are and why you want to participate in this Incubator.
  4. A one-page bio (not a CV).
  5. A filmography and links to completed work that supports the project you are including with this application.

Compile your documents into one single PDF* in the order matching requirements 1 – 5.

Give the single PDF the following naming convention: (YourName)_DEGNZWomenFilmmakersIncubator_2020

Send your application to admin@degnz.co.nz with DEGNZWFI2020 in the subject line.

 

* Online PDF merge tool

 

The Incubator is made possible thanks to the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

NZFC

Congratulations to the five directors who have completed DEGNZ’s third Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator. Our newest Incubator alumni are Anna Duckworth, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Jessica Sanderson, Claire van Beek and Ursula Williams. You can read more about them here

The directors attended five, tailored workshops over the year. It has been a pleasure fostering these talented filmmakers to make strong career choices, and ‘incubating’ babies Violet and Margot in the process too! Big thanks to the NZFC and Vista Foundation for supporting the Incubator, and to facilitator Shuchi Kothari and all the special guests who came to speak to the directors.