Welcome to 2015

22 January 2015

Kia ora!

And welcome to 2015 with the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ.

This year is shaping up to continue the extremely positive last six months of 2014 with a range of productions happening.

We have the MTV series Shannara at Auckland Film Studios, Amblin TV’s Lumen pilot for TNT is underway, as is Disney’s feature Pete’s Dragon, and according to the trades and gossip, Rob Tapert is coming back with Ash vs Evil Dead later in the year. And these are just some of the international projects on the go.

On the domestic film front, the NZFC greenlit 5 projects at the end of last year and CEO Dave Gibson said there are 5 more possibly to come in the first half of this year. Tammy Davis’s first feature Born to Dance is in post production, and Jackie van Beek’s first feature The Inland Road will get under way later this summer.

In TV land, SPP has the second series of The Brokenwood Msteries, and Rachel Laing and Gavin Strauhan’s Filthy Rich gets its first run, amongst others on the drama front.

The digital realm is here to stay, and we’ll be seeing further series of Tomorrowland’s High Road, DEGNZ board member Roseanne Liang’s Flat 3, and more.

Internationally, Sony’s confirmation that its misfired feature The Interview has earned US$40 million online and On-demand is the mainstream film industry’s gamebreaker for digital distribution.

At DEGNZ, two major initiatives are in the wings for the first quarter. We will announce the successful recipient of the inaugural International Director’s Mentorship. This follows on from the International Editor’s Mentorship with Justine Wright (Locke, The Iron Lady, The Last King of Scotland), awarded to Cushla Dillon. And renowned Australian acting and directing coach Rob Marchand will run his 5-Day Character-based Improvisation Workshop in March–this thanks to financial assistance from NZFC, and support from Script to Screen. On top of this we will continue our busy professional development programme from last year with the Collaborator Series, Rehearsal Room, a Documentary Director’s International Mentorship, another International Editor’s Mentorship, Director’s Toolkit, a Directing Actors Workshop and more masterclasses. And don’t forget our networking drinks each month with different guilds and industry bodies.
Big picture, we still have some work to do:

  • Get memberships up–and you can help by encouraging your colleagues to join, enticing them with everything we have to offer.
  • Talk with government–new Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams and Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry should now be settled in. We’ll be communicating with them and others who have a major influence on policy and legislation that affects us.
  • Maintain and improve dialogue with NZFC and NZOA–Dave Gibson has given clear indications that he wants to talk to industry through the guilds and DEGNZ will be making the most of this. Jane Wrightson has an open door policy that we welcome.
  • The stratospheric approach of Minister Steven Joyce with the NZ Screen Advisory Group needs to be brought closer to earth, as DEGNZ operates at the coal face of professional development for directors.

These are just some of the more important tasks that we will be taking on in the coming months.

There are and will be some new faces at DEGNZ to help with this work. TV Commercials director Kezia Bennett will take up an advisory role with the guild, bringing her advertising knowledge and connections to bear on our behalf. Leah Goffe Robinson started this month as our Marketing and Events Coordinator, and we are seeking two new interns to assist us. (Role outline on The Big Idea.)

Please remember that as a member, we are a resource for you to utilize. We take our commitment to ensuring your creative, cultural and financial wellbeing seriously. So get in touch if you need to. And have a fantastic 2015!

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director