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Following the success of feature films Waru and Vai comes Kāinga. With funding through NZ On Air, Kāinga will be an anthology of short films led by Pan-Asian filmmakers that celebrates the experience of eight different Pan-Asian women as they navigate what it means to become ‘at home’ in Aotearoa.

The movie will be produced by Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for RNZ.co.nz. It closes a  film trilogy written and directed by underrepresented female filmmakers in the New Zealand screen industry.

We are delighted that DEGANZ members are among the eleven female creative leads in this project!

Writer Mia Maramara 

Director Michelle Ang 

Writer/director Ghazaleh Golbakhsh 

Director Julie Zhu 

Writer/director Nayheon Lee

 

We are beyond proud of DEGNZ Board member Steven Chow whose short film Munkie will have its United States premiere at the 20th edition San Diego International Film Festival (14 – 24 October).

Starting out as a thesis short film for his Masters of Arts in Screen Production at The University of Auckland, Munkie is now going global! The film had its world premiere at the ​​Fantasia International Film Festival last month in Montreal, and has been selected for Beyond Fest in Los Angeles.

Written, directed and edited by Steven, the film follows a vengeful daughter whose violent plan of revenge against her domineering “tiger parents” spins out of control.

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.

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I attended the DEGNZ Rialto Film Talk last night of James Ashcroft’s Coming Home In The Dark.

Listening to James talk in the Q & A facilitated by DEGNZ member Hweiling Ow, it was clear to me that not only had James worked incredibly hard to earn the success he is having with his film, but that he has been very strategic in going about it.

Prior to the screening, James had mentioned to me that he’d made eight short films before directing his debut feature.

In response to a question from Hweiling, James told her that Coming Home In The Dark was the fifth feature film script he’d written with writing partner Eli Kent, and that he and Eli had written two more features after finishing the Coming Home In The Dark script. The majority of these done according to the NZFC funding data, without development funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

James also mentioned that when he left his job as the Tumuaki/CEO of theatre company Taki Rua at the end of 2013 to pursue his career as a film director, he was without any collateral to work with and show. So he optioned a number of books, found a writer he could work with in Eli, and started cranking out feature film scripts—one a year to now.

Eight years later, with his Sundance-selected film under his belt and a manager and agent to represent him, James and Eli are polishing a script for Hollywood indie Legendary Entertainment, with James tapped to direct. And all this prior to the theatrical release of his first feature, which went into theatres this week.

In the U.S. there’s no script development funding system for aspiring screenwriters. Hollywood reps expect their clients to have a body of work and to keep adding to it so that they have something fresh that they can market their clients with. Everybody essentially writes on spec. until they come up with a good enough script to get them noticed and commissioned to write… something else.  Or, they raise the financing from investors to put their script into production: there’s no cultural funding body there to provide production financing either.

In New Zealand it seems to me, too often aspiring screenwriters and writer – directors are more intent on getting Early Development Funding or NZWG Seed Funding to fund the learning of their craft on one passion piece than doing the work, repeatedly, that will hone their skills. And most of us look only to NZFC to finance our films. The self-funded feature here is rare. Those that do it should be applauded, not matter what the film turns out like.

Anybody can write a feature film script. I’ve written two myself. But not that many people can write a good one. James and Eli it would seem to me are a great example of that maxim, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

NZWG and DEGNZ are once again offering Virtual Table Reads for 2021.

Following the success of the virtual Table Reads during 2020, the 2021 Table Reads will take place online and script submissions are being accepted from NZWG and DEGNZ members around the country. The T&Cs as per our usual Table Reads apply.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity – this is a great development tool to help take your script to the next level. If you have a script ready with a director attached (or you are also directing) then submit it now. There are four reads this year, so note these deadlines in your diary:

Table Read One: 8 May 2021
Submit scripts by 30 April

Table Read Two: 3 July 2021
Submit scripts by 25 June

Table Read Three: 11 September 2021
Submit scripts by 3 September

Table Read Four: 20 November 2021
Submit scripts by 12 November

Learn more > 

Actors who would like to take part in a Table Read from the comfort of their own homes can apply here.