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The trailer for the highly-anticipated TVNZ drama series, The Panthers, has been released. The six-part series, two episodes of which have been directed by DEGNZ member Vea Mafile’o, is based on the Polynesian Panthers. Guild members Peter Roberts and Margot Francis were also editors on the series.

A group inspired by the Black Panther movement in the US, The Polynesian Panthers formed to fight the system and became history-making revolutionaries.

There is no release date yet for The Panthers on TVNZ 1 and TVNZ OnDemand, so keep an eye out.

Watch the trailer

DEGNZ member Gal Hochman has directed, written and produced the third episode of Re: and TVNZ’s documentary series, Young and… Titled Young and Can’t Cum, Gal talks to a group of women to uncover what is really happening under the sheets, and why women struggle to orgasm. Gal has also written a companion piece for Re: News, involving the women from the documentary.

The series follows a range of young voices, offering a unique and fresh perspective on what it’s really like to be in your twenties in 21st century Aotearoa, in this collection of compelling, stand-alone documentaries.

Watch it here

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Mark Jennings, co-editor of online news platform Newsroom, and former head of News at TV3, has penned an article on Discovery’s plans for TV3.

As Jennings writes, after Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia., TV3 is now part of the second largest media business in the world after Disney. That in itself is a serious game changer for New Zealand.

TV3 has had an up and down history, moving from private ownership into the Canadian-owned hands of media conglomerate Canwest, before shifting to private equity ownership with Ironbridge Capital and then Oaktree Capital Management. It’s financial fortunes also swung about, going from high profitability before plunging twice into receivership.

TVNZ and SKY in more recent times have kept TV3 impoverished but no longer.

Already the owner of NZ’s Choice TV and HGTV and with six of its own channels on the SKY service, Discovery has, as Jennings points out, brought its might to bear on acquisitions by driving down the prices it pays for content for TV3. With staff cutbacks and other efficiencies, AUNZ GM for Discovery Glen Kyne told Jennings that the channel will be looking to more domestic shows as it competes with TVNZ and Prime in the domestic free-to-air market for viewers.

But what kinds of shows are they after? Kyne didn’t exactly reveal what they are looking for.

In April Juliet Peterson, former GM TVNZ Digital Content, was appointed as Senior Director, Programming at Three, while Australian Darren Chau was appointed Senior Director, Production. Chau has been in New Zealand recently having meetings with some New Zealand producers. Undoubtedly, others have been banging on Juliet’s door. They are certainly looking for ideas.

With its merger with WarnerMedia, Discovery has moved from reality and factual into scripted film and TV as well, with an annual US$20 billion commissioning chest—bigger than Netflix’s. There has been speculation as to whether or not the new CEO of the combined organisation, David Zaslav, is going to adapt when it comes to scripted. This could well play out in TV3’s commissioning stance.

Supposedly, Three is looking for NZ content that can travel internationally as well. It will be interesting to see, though, whether or not the network will continue to rely primarily on NZ On Air and NZ Screen Production Grant funding to get content made in New Zealand. Hopefully, they’ll ante up more than low license fees and become equity investors in NZ shows that could go on one or more of the international distribution channels the newly-branded Warner Bros. Discovery conglomerate owns.

Will it be new beginnings for NZ’s free-to-air market or just more of the same? Watch this space.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

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.

Congratulations are in order for member Michelle Ang, an alumni of DEGNZ’s Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator, as NZ On Air has confirmed funding for Riddle Me This, an animated journey of eight four-minute episodes that chronicle tamariki using their powers of critical thinking and imagination to solve intriguing riddles.

Michelle’s A Grain of Rice Productions received $265,950 in funding. The series will be released on NZ On Air and TVNZ’s HEIHEI channel.