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Our congrats goes to Tom Augustine (DEGANZ) who is one of five recipients selected to take part in the 2022 Tāhuna Writers Residency. The residency was created by Great Southern Television and the Queenstown Lakes District Council, with the support of the NZFC and NZOA.

The one month residency will include workshops with leading screen practitioners, accommodation and coverage of living costs. The writers will each develop a concept for a scripted drama series to be based and produced in the Queenstown Lakes.

Philip Smith, CEO of Great Southern Television, states how thrilled they are by the calibre and range of participants in their inaugural workshop. They are eager to take these writers on the journey and provide them with the resources and the insights to make their creative visions reality.

DEGANZ Incubator alumna Marina Alofagia McCartney has received funding for her project The Return. The short film follows Lupesina who answers the call from her ancestors, and must prove her worthiness as a Samoan woman or stay stuck in the in-between.

Congratulations, Marina! She is the first woman writer/director of Moana Pasifika heritage to secure Catalyst funding in over a decade and the majority of the creative HOD’s on The Return are of Moana Pasifika descent too.

Catalyst He Kauahi supports NZ filmmakers to progress their talents to the next stage and make exceptional, high end narrative short films. The NZFC have funded three teams a total of $100,000 each ($90,000 towards their short film and $10,000 towards development of the feature film concept). Marina’s team are currently developing a feature that will continue the poetic character exploration of a NZ-born Samoan woman’s identity journey.

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What a horrible bloody year it’s been for the New Zealand screen industry.

Lockdowns interrupting domestic and international production here. Local films having their releases shortened or delayed. The New Zealand International Film Festival cancelled in Auckland. The LOTR TV series moving to the UK. Cowboy Bebob cancelled after one season. The list of woes goes on.

At the Guild, COVID has impacted significantly on our professional development programme, although we have managed to do some talks and workshops online. At least we have still been able to make progress on members’ rights, the Screen Industry Workers Bill, and the Reform of Vocational Education amongst other things, but it’s fair to say we, and I’m sure many others, are Zoomed out.

A lot of us have gone to the wall mentally, emotionally and financially in 2021. And as we close out the year we have the threat of the Omicron variant to prolong our COVID concerns. But as the US, the UK and Europe face massive rises in infection rates and increases in deaths, I believe we can still consider ourselves fortunate. Yes, some things could have been done better here in the face of this pandemic, but with our now close to 90% nationwide vaccination rate for those 12+, we seem to be in good shape to square off against the viral uncertainties of 2022.

Christmas and New Year are almost upon us and the festive cheer in some ways has never been more welcome.

It was any eye opener for me, having been isolated to the rural outskirts of Auckland for the last few months, to be in Ponsonby for Xmas lunch yesterday with the DEGANZ team. Aucklanders are out. Dollars are flowing into businesses and out into the regions, hopefully unaccompanied by COVID.

Film and TV production is back up, with crew looking to be busy as the year ends and through the summer.

NZFC told us today that a good bunch of our films—features and shorts—have had international success this year. Further, domestic production will be way up next year, thanks in part to the Premium Production Fund, and the level of international production spend forecast in NZ for 2022 looks set to match the average of previous years.

As you all hopefully take a restorative and enjoyable break across the weeks ahead, I’d like to thank you for your ongoing support of DEGANZ, whether as a member or collaborator with us in the guild’s purpose and activities. We couldn’t do it without you.

Meri Kirihimete!

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Script to Screen have announced the 12 participants selected for their initiative Strength in Numbers, including two of our members. Congratulations to Becky Kuek and her company Mooncake Ltd and Matasila Freshwater (DEGANZ 2021 Incubator alumna) of Tomorrow, Rain!

Strength in Numbers is a series of workshops running from February to June 2022. Its aim is to arm participants with the tools they need to build a sustainable screen business.

The course is led by David Court who founded the Compton School, Australia’s first creative business school. He is the former Head of Screen Business at AFTRS, and worked on the Jackson/Court review of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Well done to Christchurch filmmaker Gaylene Barnes (DEGANZ) whose project Ladies, A Knife was selected as winner of the 2021 South Pacific Pictures ‘Big Pitch’. Gaylene was one of six hopeful teams applying for the $2,500 award. The prize will go towards development, in addition to a complimentary registration to the 2022 SPADA Conference.

The judging panel featured Kelly Martin and Andrew Szusterman of South Pacific Pictures, Steve Barr (TVNZ), Jo Smith (NZFC), Thomas Robins (Sky Originals), and guest judge Jon Landau.

Gaylene said that “the idea has been lingering for quite a few years, and it’s perhaps a story New Zealand doesn’t know it needs right now.”

SPP CEO Kelly Martin called Gaylene’s pitch “a potentially multicultural story which can allow us to talk about what’s happening now by looking back into the past.” Martin said Ladies, A Knife has the potential to “develop characters that New Zealanders can really identify with.”

Congrats Gaylene!