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We’re into the year and we’ve got a significant period of change coming.

The Government’s first hundred days are up in two weeks and it has already made good progress or is about to in terms of tertiary education, housing, child poverty, mental health and other social issues. Yet, it’s in the area of workplace relations that progress had been slow, and understandably so because the shift will be significant. However, today the Government announced a slew of employment law changes in favour of workers. Labour’s Fair Pay Agreements, which are still to come are potentially contentious with a fear that they’ll bring strikes and economic decline. Labour’s adamant they won’t.

In regard to the screen sector, following the attention-grabbing announcement that the Hobbit Law would be repealed, the government scrambled quickly to assure everyone that it did not want to affect attraction of international production to New Zealand. Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced the formation of a working group to consider options for replacing the legislation. The Film Industry Working Group will meet shortly and DEGNZ is a member. So for the moment,  film workers will not be able to collectively bargain, although the government fully intends for those workers to have that right.

Clare Curran confirmed at NZ On Air’s year-end celebration in December that Radio NZ will get a significant funding increase of around $20 – 30 million, and that NZ On Air and a new overarching public media funding commission would share the remainder of the $38 million fund, intended primarily for news and current affairs programming. This should start to flow this year.

The commitment has drawn the ire of Mediaworks CEO Ian Anderson, who complains it will weaken media diversity and hasten the end of Free To Air TV. Instead he suggests, turn TV1 into a true public broadcaster—Talk about flogging a dead horse. He also suggests that TVNZ has the TV business talent that Radio NZ does not. Many in the industry would think that puts Radio NZ in a good place not a bad one. And try telling that to former Maori Television CFO Alan Witherington and former MTS Head of Programming, and TV news and current affairs producer Carol Hirshfeld, both of who hold top management jobs at Radio NZ.

There’s been no mention of any additional funding for the New Zealand Film Commission, but we have to hope that NZFC would have put in a bid for additional funds for 2018/2019. The $13 million NZFC has to fund local production for 2017/2018 and the annual $16 million in Screen Production Grant funding for NZ films for the next four years won’t go far.

A major change at NZFC in 2018 is new CEO Annabelle Sheehan. An educator and bureaucrat with a production background, Sheehan can be expected to bring a different approach to the way the organisation operates from her predecessor producer Dave Gibson. As former head of the highly regarded Australian Film, TV and Radio School (AFTRS), we can expect she’ll have strong opinions on talent development. She will still though be reporting to the National Government-appointed NZFC board, and they were after all the ones she had to convince to get the job. We can expect Labour’s hand will come into play as board members on both NZFC’s and NZ ON Air’s boards reach their ends of terms and new appointments are made.

One of the big shifts at NZ On Air will happen in February or March when they announce their new drama strategy. After the incredible noise generated around the Filthy Rich and Dirty Laundry funding, primarily by Duncan Grieve, and the constant chatter around digital funding and the lack of support of emerging content makers, again very attributable to Mr Grieve, NZ On Air went into a major reassessment of scripted programming. No doubt the cracks that opened will widen. Interesting to note another change in Grieve stepping down as editor of Spinoff to focus on managing the company’s business, which includes two new TV shows.

On the international scene it’s a bloodbath. We are effectively saying goodbye to Hollywood studios and hello to high-tech companies. Once all the mergers and acquisitions are done, it’s likely Disney, who recently acquired Fox from Rupert Murdoch, will be the only one left standing and it’ll be competing with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and Google/YouTube. China funding in the US entertainment industry has dried up but the massive players in the Chinese online space are surging. Get used to saying Baidu, Tencent, iQiyi, Youku, Tudou and Sohu. News out of Sundance so far sees only one major acquisition going to new players Neon and AGBO, with a US$10 million spend to acquire all rights for Assasination Nation. Netflix and Amazon have yet to acquire anything.

It’s not looking any prettier for NZ film. The arthouse market where NZ film sits has dried up except for Europe, and its even tough there. Amazon was shedding a ray of light for independent film, particularly US indies, because of Ted Hope, who is a major supporter of auteur filmmaking. But online media intelligence site FilmTake has just reported that Amazon is moving away from small indies and into the $50 million budget space. And Netflix is supposedly proving a harder door to open now that it’s well established with a solid roster of content suppliers it already has relationships with.

On the domestic front it’s hard not conclude that the Australasian distribution system for NZ film is broken. Sure Wilderpeople and some of the more popular docos are still getting over the $1 million mark and small films like the recent Waru are punching well above their budget weight, but if you’re not making overtly commercial films you’re chucked out in two weeks to make way for the next Hollywood blockbuster, so there’s no chance for word of mouth to build up and grow an audience. That is if you can get theatrical distribution in the first place. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. Catering to niche audiences with good light entertainment as the Three Wise Cousins team is doing with their latest self-funded romcom Hibiscus & Ruthless is one model for the way forward.

On the guild front things are a little steadier. We have a lot of big picture work in front of us with the Film Industry Working Group, Copyright and the Code of Ethics to focus on. With professional development we will be running a full programme of training workshops for directors and editors, introducing a drama editor attachment scheme to complement the TV drama director attachment initiative we will do again this year, and putting one more intake through the Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator. We are also planning further events specifically targeted at young creators. To round things off we’ll have our regular networking events where you can hear speakers and connect with like-minded screen industry professionals.

DEGNZ is here to work on your behalves, so make yourselves known to us whether it’s for assistance or just to say hello. We appreciate your support both through membership and patronage at our events and look forward to connecting with you in 2018.

Finally our thanks go out to the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air, Vista Foundation and our other supporters Dominion Law, Resene, Seresin Wines, Pieter Holl & Associates, Event Cinemas, Reading Cinemas, Rialto Cinemas and Hoyts who support us in supporting you.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

DEGNZ invites applications for a Drama Director Attachment on Filthy Productions’ comedy drama TV series DIRTY LAUNDRY for TV One.

DIRTY LAUNDRY, produced by Britta Hawkins, will centre on a middle-class family whose mother is jailed for money laundering. If her children want to keep the lifestyle to which they’re accustomed, they’ll need to keep the family business going.

This paid attachment is currently scheduled to take place for eight weeks commencing March 13. It may include a small stand down period to allow for breaks in the schedule, with the aim of the Attachment getting to experience pre-production, production and post production on a major drama production.

The attachment will cover 1 block (3 episodes) and the director will be one of New Zealand’s most experienced drama directors and long-time DEGNZ member Peter Burger.

Payment will be determined by negotiation with the production company and the level of experience of the applicant.

An opportunity exists for the Attachment to direct a scene in the production, but this is entirely at the discretion of Filthy Productions and its producer(s) and director—it is not guaranteed.

The aim of the attachment is to:

  • develop and upskill new television drama directors and
  • contribute to the ongoing production of quality future television drama and
  • provide another training pathway to the limited opportunities currently available.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  1. Be a FULL member of DEGNZ, and
  2. Have a keen interest in television drama, and
  3. Either:-
  • Have 2 short film credits publicly screened to a paying audience at an NZFC accredited short film festival*, OR
  • Have held a position as the first assistant director of a publicly distributed and released feature film or TV drama series OR
  • Have won an award for a short film at an NZFC accredited film festival*, OR
  • Have proven dramatic narrative experience in a screen medium

*The NZFC list of accredited short film festivals here.

To apply, please download the application form cover sheet from the DEGNZ website here, and submit the following in electronic form ONLY (Word file or PDF) by 9am Monday 16 November, 2015 to admin@degnz.co.nz with DIRTY LAUNDRY in the subject line:

• Completed Application Form Cover Sheet with your FULL DEGNZ Membership No., including links to your publicly screened works
• A full CV & Filmography
• A reference (from a senior screen industry practitioner)
• A proposal of a maximum of 1-page outlining why you want to do the attachment.

A shortlist will be developed from applicants. An interview may or may not be required.

We will notify you as to whether or not your application has been successful, but no further correspondence will be entered into regarding your application and the decision will be final.

We look forward to receiving your applications. This initiative has been made possible with the support of NZ On Air and Filthy Productions.

 

MATTHEW SAVILLE DEGNZ DIRECTOR ATTACHMENT ON RIC PELLIZZARI’S BOMBSHELL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

14 September 2015

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ), NZ On Air and Screentime New Zealand Limited are pleased to announce the first attachment through DEGNZ’s TV Drama Director Attachment Scheme.

Matthew Saville will attach to director Ric Pellizzeri on Screentime’s telefeature Bombshell: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior for TV One, which will begin production in October.

The DEGNZ TV Drama Director Attachment Scheme is an industry professional development initiative funded by NZ On Air and the production company involved and managed by DEGNZ. It will see three emerging directors attached to New Zealand drama productions in the 2015/2016 year.

“It’s a great opportunity to observe a director at work on a major drama production and learn,” said Saville. “I’m excited by the opportunity and the project, and thanks to DEGNZ, NZ On Air and Screentime for making it happen.”

“We’re delighted to have Matthew on the production team. We believe he will be a great asset and hope we can provide experiences for him that will enrich his skill base,” said Screentime’s Managing Director Philly de Lacey.

”As the funding agency for television  we have a significant vested interest in ensuring great talent is coming through the ranks; it will determine the quality of the projects we may fund in the future. We are really keen to see Matthew’s progress through this attachment,” said Jane Wrightson, Chief Executive of NZ On Air.

Saville is an experienced actor and screenwriter who has directed two highly successful short films. His first, Hitch Hike, premiered at the internationally recognized Tampere International Film Festival in 2012. Dive, Saville’s second short, was long listed for the Academy Awards for winning best short film and best screenplay at New Zealand’s Show Me Shorts Film Festival, and selected for the prestigious Telluride International Film Festival amongst others.

Initiated by DEGNZ, the Drama Director Attachment scheme is intended to give emerging drama directors the opportunity to shadow an experienced director through the pre-production, production and post-production process as a means to improve their craft skills. The ultimate outcome is to increase the talent pool of drama directors available to domestic and international productions in New Zealand.

This scheme follows on from DEGNZ’s recent AVED Director Attachment initiative, which was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission and Ash vs. Evil Dead Limited. It saw New Zealand directors Regan Hall, Roseanne Liang, Louise Leitch, Joe Lonie and Rene Naufahu attach to the Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert Ash vs. Evil Dead TV series, shot in Auckland and now in post production.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu

Executive Director

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

tui@degnz.co.nz

021-659-950

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is a not-for-profit membership organisation that represents Directors and Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors and Editors of feature drama and documentary; television drama, documentary and factual programmes; short films; video art; animation; commercials and web content.

DEGNZ’s two primary roles are advocacy and professional development. We:

  • are dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts of directing and editing.
  • foster collegiality and unity within the screen industry.
  • promote members’ creative and economic rights.
  • work to improve industry working conditions and remuneration.
  • offer professional advice and information on contracts and industry standards and practice.
  • offer professional development events, networking opportunities, career advice, dispute resolution, mentoring, workshops, training, discounts and regular news bulletins for members across all levels of expertise, from novices to seasoned professionals.
  • are a voice for Directors and Editors in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of the pan‐industry group SINZ (Screen Industry New Zealand), and by making submissions to government and public officials.
  • Internationally work co-operatively with other guilds and we belong to the International Affiliation of English‐Speaking Directors’ Organisations (IEASDO).

DEGNZ is Auckland-based with an office in Grey Lynn.

Contact Details:

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent

Grey Lynn

P.O. Box 47-294, Ponsonby

Auckland

+64-9-360-2102

admin@degnz.co.nz

www.degnz.co.nz

www.facebook.com/degnz

www.linkedin.com/in/degnz

@degnz_online

Screentime NZ Limited

Screentime NZ Ltd is one of New Zealand’s premier producers of blue chip drama and documentary content. It is known for specialising in true life and true crime storyies. The company has been in business since 1996, and is part of the International Banijay Group.

For Immediate Release

4 August 2015

The Directors and Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) has received NZ On Air Industry Development Fund support for its DEGNZ Drama Director Attachment Initiative, which will see up to three paid director attachments to New Zealand drama productions in 2015/2016.

The initiative is designed to develop and up-skill new television drama directors, contribute to the ongoing production of quality future drama, and provide another training pathway to those currently available by placing emerging directors as attachments on local drama one-offs or series.

“We are focused on maximizing the work opportunities for established and emerging DEGNZ member directors in drama,” said DEGNZ Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu.

“We are extremely pleased that NZ On Air has come behind this training initiative at a time when the environment is buoyant for both local drama and international drama shooting here.”

“This domestic scheme enhances the already successful director attachment programmes DEGNZ has run on international productions Spartacus and Ash vs. Evil Dead thanks to producer Rob Tapert and the New Zealand Film Commission,” he added.

The cost for the attachments will be split between NZ On Air (60%) and the production company (40%), with DEGNZ administering the scheme and monitoring the directors through the attachments.

Working together with local production companies, DEGNZ will identify upcoming drama productions that could take director attachments. Calls for applications will be made with DEGNZ and NZ On Air feeding into the final selection, with the successful candidate ultimately being chosen by the production company.

While the attachment is primarily a director shadowing opportunity through preproduction, production and post-production across a maximum 12-week period, the attachment will get to direct on the production if he or she proves herself.

DEGNZ has already had initial discussions with some local production companies regarding the initiative and expects to make a call for the first attachment opportunity in the near future.

The criteria and calls for applications will be made available on the DEGNZ website when attachment opportunities become available.

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
tui@degnz.co.nz
021-659-950