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What a horrible bloody year it’s been for the New Zealand screen industry.

Lockdowns interrupting domestic and international production here. Local films having their releases shortened or delayed. The New Zealand International Film Festival cancelled in Auckland. The LOTR TV series moving to the UK. Cowboy Bebob cancelled after one season. The list of woes goes on.

At the Guild, COVID has impacted significantly on our professional development programme, although we have managed to do some talks and workshops online. At least we have still been able to make progress on members’ rights, the Screen Industry Workers Bill, and the Reform of Vocational Education amongst other things, but it’s fair to say we, and I’m sure many others, are Zoomed out.

A lot of us have gone to the wall mentally, emotionally and financially in 2021. And as we close out the year we have the threat of the Omicron variant to prolong our COVID concerns. But as the US, the UK and Europe face massive rises in infection rates and increases in deaths, I believe we can still consider ourselves fortunate. Yes, some things could have been done better here in the face of this pandemic, but with our now close to 90% nationwide vaccination rate for those 12+, we seem to be in good shape to square off against the viral uncertainties of 2022.

Christmas and New Year are almost upon us and the festive cheer in some ways has never been more welcome.

It was any eye opener for me, having been isolated to the rural outskirts of Auckland for the last few months, to be in Ponsonby for Xmas lunch yesterday with the DEGANZ team. Aucklanders are out. Dollars are flowing into businesses and out into the regions, hopefully unaccompanied by COVID.

Film and TV production is back up, with crew looking to be busy as the year ends and through the summer.

NZFC told us today that a good bunch of our films—features and shorts—have had international success this year. Further, domestic production will be way up next year, thanks in part to the Premium Production Fund, and the level of international production spend forecast in NZ for 2022 looks set to match the average of previous years.

As you all hopefully take a restorative and enjoyable break across the weeks ahead, I’d like to thank you for your ongoing support of DEGANZ, whether as a member or collaborator with us in the guild’s purpose and activities. We couldn’t do it without you.

Meri Kirihimete!

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 16 December 2021

Script to Screen have announced the 12 participants selected for their initiative Strength in Numbers, including two of our members. Congratulations to Becky Kuek and her company Mooncake Ltd and Matasila Freshwater (DEGANZ 2021 Incubator alumna) of Tomorrow, Rain!

Strength in Numbers is a series of workshops running from February to June 2022. Its aim is to arm participants with the tools they need to build a sustainable screen business.

The course is led by David Court who founded the Compton School, Australia’s first creative business school. He is the former Head of Screen Business at AFTRS, and worked on the Jackson/Court review of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Last updated on 16 December 2021

Shows Rūrangi, Educators and Homebound 3.0 promise entertainment and comic relief for Kiwis with funding from NZ On Air.

Rūrangi

The award-winning Rūrangi has been greenlit for a second season (5 x 22 mins) with recent funding from NZ On Air. DEGANZ member Max Currie directed and co-produced the first season, which tells the story of a transgender activist who returns home to the remote, politically divided dairy community of Rūrangi in hopes of reconnecting with his estranged father.

Season 2 will screen on Prime and Māori Television. Hulu picked up the first season for distribution in the US, among other international sales to Australia, the UK and France.

Rūrangi is a finalist in the 2021 New Zealand Television Awards for NZ On Air Best Drama Series.

The series was also cut into a feature film that screened at NZIFF in 2020 and the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, winning an Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. The film recently took home the award for Best International Feature at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Educators

Returning for a third season is the hit improvised comedy show, Educators. Set in a secondary school, the show centres around the dysfunctional teachers in charge of educating the next generation.

Entirely unscripted and featuring some of New Zealand’s top comedians, Educators is directed by Jesse Griffin (DEGANZ) who also co-writes the storylines. Recently, we hosted an online talk with Jesse and Educators editor Stuart Boone, delving into their process of writing, directing and editing the series. The talk was recorded for the DEGANZ podcast so if you missed it, you can catch it online or wherever you get your podcasts!

Homebound 3.0

DEGANZ 2021 Incubator alumna Hweiling Ow is part of the team behind new comedy Homebound 3.0, written by writer/actor Sam Wang. The project won the South Pacific Pictures Big Pitch at the 2019 SPADA Conference and will now become an exciting reality produced by Kevin and Co for Three.

The half-hour comedy revolves around a struggling 30-something unpublished writer forced to move back home and deal with the disappointment of his Chinese parents.

Read more on NZOA’s funding decisions

Last updated on 18 January 2022

Our congratulations goes out to the team of Being Chlöe, which has received production funding through NZ On Air! The 90-minute documentary will be directed by member Charlotte Evans (DEGANZ Incubator 2020), produced by Letisha Tate-Dunning (DEGANZ) with executive producers Mark McNeill (DEGANZ) and Philippa Campbell. The film will be edited by Simon Coldrick.

Set to appear on Three after the next election, Being Chlöe will explore the political and personal life of Chlöe Swarbrick, currently New Zealand’s youngest MP. The project was earlier on granted NZ Film Commission script development funding.

In the meantime, audiences can watch OK Chlöe, a 9-minute film made by Charlotte and Letisha through Loading Docs, for a taster of the documentary to come.

Last updated on 20 December 2021

DEGANZ logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15 December 2021

The Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand (DEGANZ) welcomes the review of the New Zealand Government’s Investment in The Screen Sector.

“The screen industry is rapidly changing,” said DEGANZ President Robyn Paterson, “so it is timely that the Government is looking to better leverage its investment in the New Zealand screen industry to improve outcomes for Aotearoa’s screen workers, businesses, and our own stories.”

In 2018 the Sapere Report, ‘Evaluating the New Zealand Screen Production Grant’, highlighted a gross additional economic benefit of $542 million directly attributable to NZSPG. This was later confirmed in a review of the Sapere Report by Infometrics.

The Infometrics evaluation also supported Sapere’s findings that the NZSPG has contributed greatly to the development of the film and television industry and all of the associated activities.

“The economic benefit of the NZSPG to New Zealand is undoubted”, added Paterson. “As is the positive impact it is having on the development of parts of the New Zealand screen industry.”

“The real opportunity with this review, however, is to determine how to make it more effective for the development of local IP including with our Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations, the creation of New Zealand stories for the international market place, and the sustainability of Aotearoa’s creative workers. This includes prioritising New Zealand-led productions for the international market, and looking at ways in which international productions that choose to film here may be encouraged to employ and develop our local directors, editors and other creatives.”

Infometrics questioned the long-term sustainability of the New Zealand screen sector without the NZSPG, and pointed to the need for indirect benefits to accrue, such as skills development, technology transfer, tourism and cultural benefits.

“A revised NZSPG with an emphasis on developing and growing our domestic capability while protecting its attractiveness to international productions, can deliver increased economic, cultural, technical and employment benefits for New Zealand well into the future,” Paterson went on to say; “It’s important that we build a stronger, less vulnerable, and more sustainable local sector.”

ENDS

For further information contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director, Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand
tui@deganz.co.nz
021 659 950

Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand is a not-for-profit Incorporated Society and Union that represents Directors, Editors and Assistant Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors, Editors and Assistant Editors of feature drama and documentary; television drama, documentary and factual programmes; short films; video art; animation; commercials and web content.

DEGANZ’s two primary roles are advocacy and professional development. We:

  • are dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts of directing and editing.
  • foster collegiality and unity within the screen industry.
  • promote members’ creative and economic rights.
  • work to improve industry working conditions and remuneration.
  • offer professional advice and information on contracts and industry standards and practice.
  • offer professional development events, networking opportunities, career advice, dispute resolution, mentoring, workshops, training, discounts and regular news bulletins for members across all levels of expertise, from novices to seasoned professionals.
  • are a voice for Directors, Editors and Assistants in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of various pan‐industry bodies, and by making submissions to government and public officials.
  • internationally work co-operatively with other directors’ guilds.
  • belong to the International Affiliation of English‐Speaking Directors’ Organisations, Writer’s & Directors Worldwide, Alliance of Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Writers and Directors, and the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers.

DEGANZ is Auckland-based with an office in Grey Lynn.

Contact Details:
Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa NZ
Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent
Grey Lynn
PO Box 47294, Ponsonby
AUCKLAND
admin@deganz.co.nz
+64 9 360 2102
+64 21 659 950

Last updated on 15 December 2021