Time to Change It Up

Kia ora and welcome to 2017!

I hope that you all had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s holiday period, whether you were working or relaxing.

Next week I am going to be talking with my counterparts at the Australian Directors Guild (ADG), the Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC) and the Directors Guild of America (DGA). It will be a good opportunity to discuss the issues affecting directors in each of our territories. More importantly, it will be a reminder that we are all part of a global network of bodies representing directors in the screen industry. And this prompts me to look at a change-up in the editorial for the newsletter in the year ahead.

While I will continue to voice my thoughts and opinions on local issues, I also want to link into the mix international news, issues and developments that will hopefully be of interest and that may well affect directors and editors in New Zealand.

We are working now in a global economy in the screen industry. International productions are a mainstay of the New Zealand production scene. At the same time, we have more and more Kiwi screen workers and companies travelling the globe pedalling their services and products.

As many of you know, I have made a considered effort to strengthen our relationship with the Australian Directors Guild, and more recently Australian Screen Editors. As part of this we have as previously announced securing a seat on the ADG-affiliated Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collection Society (ASDACS) board for DEGNZ board member Grant Campbell, thanks to the kind invitation of the ADG. (All DEGNZ directors should be members of ASDACS–it’s free and there could be a pot of gold (small) at the end of this rainbow.)

As screen working relationships strengthen across the Tasman, we need to be well positioned to represent the membership effectively. For this reason, I will be talking more frequently about our Australian colleagues activities.

To kick things off, I made mention last year of the fight the ADG had with Freemantle Media, who had hired a Canadian director to work on iconic TV series Picnic at Hanging Rock. After much action on the ADG’s part there was a shift in Freemantle’s previously intransigent position as outlined here.

It’s comforting to see that Screen Australia proposes changing its guidelines to guarantee that direct funded television projects are required to use Australian or resident writers and directors. We expect the same from NZ On Air.

I have just learned that the long-time National Executive Director of the DGA Jay Roth has announced his retirement. Jay has been responsible for many considerable achievements at the DGA including managing the organisation through the incredible change that has come about due to digitization. You can read about Jay here.

A couple of other issues I have mentioned frequently are copyright and fair remuneration. Our British colleagues at Directors UK were recently in Strasbourg lobbying the European Union as the European Parliament considers amendments to the EU draft directive on the Digital Single Market. You can read more from Directors UK on this here.

The issue of fair remuneration is much closer to home for us as ADG have been working with Writers and Directors Worldwide on their and our behalves to help ensure fair remuneration for directors, particularly around secondary rights.

I hope in the newsletters to come you feel a greater sense of community with your directing and editing colleagues internationally, and realize that thinking globally and acting locally is particularly relevant for us here now at DEGNZ as the screen industry worldwide continues to morph.

Wishing you the best in the year ahead.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director