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The New Zealand International Film Festival has announced that local shorts will also screen before selected feature films in Auckland and Wellington, on top of the NZ’s Best and the Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika short film sections. Keep an eye out for these five short films by DEGNZ members.

The Man Downstairs

Director/producer and DEGNZ member Grant Lahood will have his short The Man Downstairs  screened this year during the festival. The premise is mysterious as young couple Jess and Tom move into the perfect new apartment upstairs from their landlord Colin, but then things start getting strange.

Marieville

Grant Lahood also has another short film screening, one he wrote, directed and produced called Marieville. Marieville is centred around Karen and a sudden encounter with an icon from her past that conjures evocative memories of her late father and his passion for a model Mississippi paddle boat.

The Meek

The storyline for The Meek simply couldn’t be more timely: in a twist of chromosomes and fate, young Izzy may also be the key to humanity’s future in a world ravaged by a deadly virus. The short film set to screen at this year’s festival is directed and written by DEGNZ member Gillian Ashurst and edited by Jonathan Woodford-Robinson.

Munkie

DEGNZ board member Steven Chow will see his film Munkie screened in Auckland and Wellington during the festival too. Steven wrote, directed and edited Munkie which tells the story of Rose and her violent plan for revenge against her domineering tiger parents.

Peninsula

In the film Peninsula, Mark is pushed out of his comfort zone while trying to reconnect with his estranged son Toby and deal with his new neighbour Amber who does things differently. Written and directed by Fiona McKenzie and edited and produced by Scott Flyger, Peninsula has done extremely well internationally and we are excited to have it screen on our shores again.

View from the Top banner

On Wednesday evening I participated in our online Editors and Assistant Editors Gathering. There were about 35 of us. It was an opportunity to discuss issues that affect editors and assistant editors, and to network.

One of the questions that often came up from students studying screen, and one that I regularly encounter, is: How do you get a job in the industry?

This is a question we are wrestling with at the Guild as we put our efforts into the Reform of Vocational Education, to provide both a clear pathway into work as well as to outline educational structures and content that will help to ensure learners are as prepared as they can be to work within the screen sector.

The Gathering also got me to look back at how I got into the screen sector, and I thought I would relate that pathway here.

I was living in Tokyo Japan working with an American and Canadian friend in their small agency as a writer and rewriter of copy for advertising and communications content. A good chunk of the work was taking the Japanese to English translations the Canadian and others were doing of corporate video scripts and brushing them up for re-narrating in English.

The American had gone to film school in California and had a mate who was working as an Editor at Entertainment Tonight, a daily entertainment show on CBS. My friend managed to convince his mate and his mate’s bosses they needed a stringer (contract) crew in Japan to do entertainment stories for the show. They agreed, so he went out and bought camera and sound gear, roped his Canadian partner, me and another friend in, and very quickly we were filing stories for them. It was fun work. In the early days it was occasionally covering well-known bands coming to Japan to play concerts before it spun into much broader entertainment content and more regular work.

Meanwhile I had been travelling back to NZ once a year for breaks. On one trip I met a young Kiwi student studying at Auckland University who was a good Japanese speaker. He told me that he had been getting work with a couple of Japanese line producers, one living in Auckland the other in Sydney. They were coordinating Japanese TV commercial crews coming down to NZ for shoots. This made me think that there was an opportunity to get into this work as my English-speaking Japanese girlfriend (now wife) worked regularly as an interpreter, and my sister was a travel agent. We set up a company and for a few years worked with Japanese crews, most often in Central Otago and Southland shooting commercials.

During this time we returned to NZ to live and continued running the company, but I decided that I wanted to make content rather than just help others to make it. I made up a list of production companies in Auckland (there weren’t many at that time) and started banging on doors. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do too much knocking before I was hired to work as a production assistant for television and film producer Robin Scholes. So began my climb up the ladder through various roles as a writer, director, producer and executive producer doing corporate, TV, travel, and news for companies, including a couple of my own, before I launched into narrative drama.

Everybody has their own path into the screen industry. Every once in a while from now on I’m going to ask someone to write about their own experience. I’m hoping it will at least be interesting if not helpful for readers, while the Guild works to make it less about who you know and more about what you know, and formalise how to get there to kickstart a career.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Congratulations to our member Jaimee Poipoi who has been selected to partake in Write Room Wellington 2021. Jaimee will join the programme’s mentor team as this year’s Producer intern.

Mentors include DEGNZ members Rob Sarkies (Out of the Blue, Scarfies) and Max Currie (Rūrangi, Everything We Loved), as well as Briar Grace Smith (Cousins, The Strength of Water), Karin Williams (SIS, Mou Pirir: A Rarotongan Love Song) and Vicky Pope (Savage, Two Little Boys).

The deadline for submissions to Write Room Auckland has been extended till August 30, 5pm. Write Room Auckland provides industry-leading mentorship for one Auckland-based writer working on a feature film script. Find out more here.

The latest Loading Docs season titled Tumanako/Hope is set to premiere online on August 26. Eight short documentaries make up the collection, including films made by our members director Mia Maramara and producer/editor Bianca Delalic.

Mia Maramara directed Only Human, which follows the youngest liberal daughter of an old-fashioned father, who can no longer accept their irreconcilable differences. In this personal story, she has to decide whether to cut her father out of her life for good.

Only Human by Mia Maramara


Bianca Delalic is the producer of When Nobody Was Looking, a short documentary about Dr. Oliver Sutherland who discovers disturbing cases of abused children in state care, including imprisonment and torture of children as young as nine. Fighting a racist system, this insect scientist stands up to expose abuse in the notorious Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital, but will justice ever be served?

Dr. Oliver Sutherland is the subject of When Nobody Was Looking. Photo: Sally Symes, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections


Co-founded by DEGNZ member Julia Parnell, Loading Docs is a unique initiative that produces short documentaries that captivate and inspire audiences locally and internationally, while developing and promoting New Zealand filmmaking talent.

DEGNZ member Julia Parnell’s new short documentary series Waiata / Anthems is now streaming on TVNZ OnDemand. Directed and produced by Julia, the seven episode series follows iconic Kiwi musicians as they share untold stories of fear and discovery while they translate and record their hit songs in te reo Māori.

Following on from the number one album of the same name, Waiata / Anthems follows musicians Hollie Smith, Che Fu, Annie Crummer, Bic Runga, Drax Project, Logan Bell, MELODOWNZ and Don McGlashan.

Speaking in a press release, Julia stated how proud she is to share these stories and how she hopes “this series will impact the deepening of our relationship with te reo and act as a springboard for more Māori music in the charts”.

Watch the series and see the accompanying live performance music videos, released on Youtube by TVNZ.