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Jessica Hobbs on Zoom with Rob Sarkies

In a recent interview delivered by Script to Screen, Kiwi director Jessica Hobbs (The Crown, Apple Tree Yard, Broadchurch) spoke to DEGNZ member Rob Sarkies. Hobbs touches on a variety of topics, from early days stepping out into the industry, to her experiences directing the award-winning series, The Crown.

Tune in to hear what it’s like working on a series drama in the UK right now, Jessica’s approach to directing, and her ambitions for the future.

Lockdown border laws may keep us restricted to Aotearoa but Lap of Luxury, directed by Bryn Evans (DEGNZ) and offline edited by Steven Chow (DEGNZ) and Anthea Ede Smith, transports us to the world’s most glamorous places. Thanks to Evans, Chow and the production team behind the series, kiwis can indulge in the deluxe landscapes and architecture plotted around the globe.

New episodes released every Tuesday.

Watch now

DEGNZ member Ben Wildish is the Kaiwawahi Korero (editor) on the series. The series follows kiwi icon, Stan Walker through 2020 as he juggles the role of musician, activist, son, brother and friend. With whanau on both sides of the Tasman, the show offers an unfiltered look into the lives of Stan and his whanau.

New episodes are released every Monday.

Watch now.

NZ On Air, DEGNZ and Greenstone TV logos

DEGNZ invites applications from directors for two TV Drama Director Attachments with Greenstone TV on the TVNZ 2 drama series Vegas.

Vegas will be produced by Greenstone TV Ltd in collaboration with 10,000 Company and Steambox Film Collective with support from NZ On Air. An action thriller, Vegas follows a young, untested leader who wants to free his people from the curse of methamphetamine, but finds he can’t do it on his own. The story is based on the novel Inside The Black Horse, and will be filmed in Rotorua.

The aim of the attachment programme is to:

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

These attachments are for New Zealand directors who want to move into directing drama for television and already have significant directing experience.

Greenstone TV will train a first step director and a second step director. Each attachment will be present for the duration of the director’s block. Both attachments will attend HOD meetings, will be present for the whole of the director’s prep, receive training on preparation for the shoot, script mark-ups and rehearsals. Each attachment will have time in the edit suite with the director, and will be present for some of the on-line, including the grade and sound mix.

The prep and shoot for both directors will take place in Rotorua. Both attachments will be paid and their accommodation and per diems covered.

First Step Attachment

The successful candidate will attach to lead director Kiel McNaughton and needs to be available for prep and shoot from 21 September to 2 November 2020.

At the full discretion of the director and producer(s), the First Step attachment may be offered the opportunity to direct some scenes within the block.

Second Step Attachment

This Second Step attachment is intended for those directors with significant narrative experience who are ready to make the move into fast-turnaround TV drama, including those who have already done a First Step attachment under the DEGNZ TV Drama Attachment Scheme. The successful candidate will attach to director Mike Smith and needs to be available for prep and shoot from 12 October to 22 November 2020.

At the full discretion of the director and producer(s), the Second Step attachment may be offered the opportunity to direct a full episode within the block.

Eligibility

Applicants must have past dramatic narrative directing experience and a keen interest in television drama.

To be eligible, you MUST:

  1. Be a FULL member of DEGNZ, and
  2. Be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and
  3. Have either:
    • Two short film credits publicly screened to a paying audience at an NZFC recommended short film festival*, OR
    • Held a position as the first assistant director of a publicly distributed and released feature film or TV drama series, OR
    • Significant experience directing scripted short-form narrative content (short film, webseries or commercials), OR
    • Won an award for a short film at an NZFC recommended film festival*.

*NZFC recommended film festivals

To apply

Please download the application cover sheet and checklist (PDF 126KB), and submit the following in a single PDF by 5PM, Wednesday 26 August 2020 to admin@degnz.co.nz with ‘Vegas Attachment’ in the subject line:

  1. Completed Application Cover Sheet with links to examples of your directing work. You may provide excerpts from longer-form work. NO showreels.
  2. A CV with a bio and filmography
  3. A reference (from a senior screen industry practitioner)
  4. A maximum 1-page letter that tells us why you think you are suitable for the attachment and what you hope to gain from it.

We will ask you to indicate on the cover sheet which attachment you are most interested in applying for. Shortlists will be developed from applicants. An interview may or may not be required.

DEGNZ will notify you as to whether or not your application has been successful at the latest by 7 September, but no further correspondence will be entered into regarding your application and the decision will be final.

Questions?

Please contact us if you have any questions about the attachments or application requirements.


This initiative is made possible with the support of NZ On Air and Greenstone TV Ltd.

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Just when you thought we were all stuck in our ways, along came COVID-19. Now changes are flowing thick and fast to adapt to the brave new world this deadly virus has inflicted upon us.

The Resource Management Act is being given the flick to allow for shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Tourism operators are now having to give a toss about Kiwi tourists. (I’m surprised nobody has questioned yet whether we really want all those international tourists to return and put the strain back onto our environment and infrastructure.) The Australian and New Zealand governments are figuring out how to hold hands and sing kumbaya in a Trans-Tasman bubble. We might even have a new National Party leader by the end of the week.

Just look at the changes the NZ screen sector has gone through in two months. We have temporary Terms of Trade at NZFC that say, amongst other things, goodbye to the NZ theatrical distribution requirement and hello to a VOD platform. TVNZ is commissioning Maori and Pacific genre drama with its supernatural anthology RFP. Domestic production has all of a sudden become vitally important to crew.

South Pacific Pictures took the bit between its teeth and developed its own COVID Health & Safety (H&S) protocols signed off by WorkSafe to allow Shortland Street to get back up. We now have the WorkSafe-approved COVID Protocols and Standard thanks to the hard work of individuals from the Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa (Techos), the NZ Advertising Producers Group and a number of others.

And the draft Screen Sector Strategy unleashed on us during the lockdown? Well after further ‘feedback’ it’s going through some additional ch-ch-changes as well.

But what’s happening out there in the big wide screen world? Iceland, South Korea and Sweden are already in production, with Iceland unveiling details on how international productions can get back up and running there with a special immigration channel and quarantine rules. Some Eastern European countries, which get a lot of US and UK runaway projects, are restarting with the Czech Republic and Poland leading the way.

The UK government is allowing film and TV production to restart. A coalition of Britain’s top platforms have published a guide for TV production, while The UK’s new protocols for film and high-end drama are expected at the end of May. In the US, though, production is still at a standstill. Directors Guild of America board member and Contagion director Steven Soderbergh has been put in charge of the guild’s efforts to address COVID. According to an article in the LA Times, it’s the guilds and the unions that will determine when production will start there.

Across the ditch, Neighbours is up and running and Wentworth is supposedly about to restart. The guilds there have been working hard on their COVID-19 H&S protocols and expect government sign off on them shortly.

Thankfully, Level 2 is allowing production in film and TV here to get going, so we’re in a good place. But there’s much further to go, and more changes that need to occur before we can have the New Zealand screen industry humming again. Each one of us has a part to play in making this happen, whether it’s helping to effect the changes necessary, or just washing our hands, maintaining social distance and staying home when sick.

As we head into this next phase of life under COVID, stay safe, stay well and remember you can call on us here at DEGNZ at any time. We will do our best to help you out.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director