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I had a holiday in November but it seems such an age ago, having arrived back to the turbulence of the New Zealand screen industry.

But as we close out 2022, some good news for a change.

Avatar: the Way of Water is worth seeing, and it will transport you away from everyday life to, as film critic Mark Kermode puts it somewhat derisively, the world of the wet smurfs. Fortunate to have seen it yesterday prior to its NZ premiere today, I’m much more complimentary of the film than Mr. Kermode.

If you are into fantasy, this one is definitely for you. There were a couple of moments where my suspension of disbelief was interrupted, but I was soon transported back into the world by the film’s driving pace. It’s visually astounding, and to know that much of it has been made here in New Zealand is a source of pride, for me at least. Considering an estimated 2400 kiwis worked on the film, the credits went by surprising quickly—Seeing them on an Imax screen made them so much easier to read. Overall, a rollicking good time where good wins out over evil with some teary moments. Just what was needed.

Out my way in West Auckland, the official opening of the two new sound stages at Auckland Film Studios is a cause for celebration. Thankfully the damage from fire to one of them was not devastating. They’ve added an additional 44,000 sq ft of space to Auckland’s studio infrastructure, and already have bookings for 2023.

Meanwhile down South, UK-based Target3D has announced it will construct a multimillion-dollar digital studio in a $45 million Queenstown research and innovation facility. This, on top of the proposed massive Silverlight Studios to be built near Wanaka and the University of Canterbury’s Digital Screen Campus including a virtual production studio, is going to transform the South Island’s studio offering.

On the local production side, we are still seeing funding flowing into projects from the latest NZ On Air, NZFC and TMP funding decisions.  A special nod to the Guild’s illustrious President Robyn Paterson and DEGANZ member, editor and now Robyn’s business partner, Jai Waite. The two have secured funding for their new production entity Sweet Productions for their documentary series Wheel Blacks: Bodies on the Line. Swish! Further good news about other members’ efforts later in the newsletter.

As I recently wrote in an email to someone recently, 2022 has been a demanding year for us all. We certainly need a break and Christmas and New Year will hopefully give you all time to rest, recover, and get inspired and creative for 2023.

Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hau

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 15 December 2022

The Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand is now accepting applications for the seventh Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator.

In 2023, the talent-focused development programme will mentor a selection of women directors from Aotearoa New Zealand.


The vision of the Incubator is to empower participating directors with confidence, knowledge and connections. The Incubator is intended for emerging debut directors of feature film (drama or documentary) and will also consider those wishing to establish careers in TV drama and scripted content.

Applicants must apply with a project; however, the Incubator will be focused primarily on filmmaker development rather than project development.

The objectives of the Incubator are:

  •   Increase the number of women directing features and TV drama.
  •   Connect producers, broadcasters, funders and other industry professionals with women directors with a view of getting stories from women’s perspectives into and through development.
  •   Create networking opportunities for women directors to further their projects and careers.
  •   Inspire and encourage directors to passionately pursue feature film and drama directing careers through interaction with successful women who serve as role models.
  •   Improve directors’ understanding of the business of film and television drama.


Participants will attend five one-day workshops across 2023, the first of which is scheduled to take place in March. All workshops are intended to be held in Auckland, and a travel allowance will be available for participants based in other regions.

The workshops are individually themed to provide specific knowledge, networks, skills, and inspiration that enable participants to advance themselves and their careers. As the global screen industry continues to undergo change, DEGANZ will remain flexible as to the content of the programme and aim to incorporate information and opportunities that are relevant.



All applicants should have a considerable level of directing experience with scripted content, such as acclaimed web series, shorts with festival success, TV commercials, or broadcast content. 

Applicants must:

  1. Have an active project (feature film, documentary feature, telefeature, TV/online drama or scripted series) in development that has never been presented to a broadcaster or funder. It is preferable that the project is at least at first draft script but if not available, there must be a detailed Writer’s Treatment (10 – 20 pages) for the project, if a narrative feature, or a pitch document for a documentary feature. A Director’s Treatment that includes style, tone, imagery, etc. is not requested, but can be supplied in addition to the Writer’s Treatment. For a TV or web series, a pitch deck with series outline, character descriptions and synopsis of first episode is required. The applicant does not have to be the writer on the project.
  2. Have experience as a director of scripted content (drama, comedy) or documentary in the form of the project they are submitting (i.e., if you are applying with a narrative drama project, you must have experience directing narrative drama, or if it’s comedy, experience directing comedy, etc.)
  3. Have a directing credit on one of the following:
  • a short film selected for one of the NZFC’s Recommended Short Film Festivals, the New Zealand International Film Festival, Show Me Shorts Film Festival or Doc Edge Festival.
  • a commissioned, scripted one-off or series by a broadcaster or digital platform.
  • a self-funded web series that has won or been nominated for an award at a recognised festival.
  1. For feature films, applicants must be a debut director.
  2. Be available to participate in all workshops.
  3. Identify as a woman.
  4. Be an NZ Citizen or permanent resident.


Successful applicants must be DEGANZ Full members for at least the duration of the Incubator programme.


Selection Process

A selection panel will shortlist candidates. Shortlisted candidates must be available for a one-on-one interview via Zoom in mid-February. Getting an interview does not imply that you have been selected for the Incubator.

If shortlisted, you will be expected to immediately supply the required written documents prior to the interview.

The Incubator participants will be selected from the shortlist following the interview.

Decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.


How to Apply

Application Deadline: 10AM, Friday 27 January 2023


Application Requirements:

  1. A completed DEGANZ Women Filmmakers Incubator Application Cover Sheet.
  2. A 1-page synopsis of the project with the ending revealed.
  3. A maximum 2-page letter stating what your career goals are and why you want to participate in this Incubator.
  4. A 1-page bio (not a CV).
  5. A filmography and any additional links to completed work that supports your experience and the project you are including with this application.


Compile your documents into a single PDF file* in the order matching requirements 1 – 5.

Give your PDF the following naming convention:




Send your application to with DEGANZWFI2023 in the subject line.

* Online PDF merge tool


The Incubator is made possible thanks to the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.


Questions about the Incubator?

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
+64 21 659 950

Last updated on 15 December 2022

The Steering Group at Screen Industry New Zealand (SINZ) has completed the Screen’s Pan Sector Body: A Recommendation Report.

A quick recap as background:

Stage One of the work was undertaken by Matthew Horrocks, with the financial support of the following organisations:

  • Actors Agents Association of New Zealand
  • Auckland Screen Alliance
  • Australia New Zealand Screen Association
  • Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Film Auckland
  • Film Otago Southland
  • Ngā Aho Whakaari
  • New Zealand Writers Guild
  • NZ Game Developers Association
  • Pacific Island Screen Artists
  • Script to Screen
  • Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Screen Production and Development Association
  • Staples VR
  • Stunt Guild of NZ
  • Women In Film and Television New Zealand

Matt delivered the Screen Industry New Zealand – Pan Sector Body Model paper in October of 2021.

Following a review of the paper, the Steering Group agreed further funding was required to distil the research and present a proposed model. Our thanks to the following organisations for the additional funding support to undertake this work:

  • Actors Agents Association of New Zealand
  • AMO Studios Ltd
  • Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Firefly Films ltd
  • Notable PicturesLtd
  • New Zealand Writers Guild
  • Queenstown Camera Company
  • Screen Otago Southland
  • Screen Production and Development Association
  • Television New Zealand
  • Women In Film and Television New Zealand

Stage Two
The Steering Group commissioned Janette Serle to write the research and the recommendation report. This was delivered in November of 2022. Upon completion of this work there is a balance of $9,800.00 in the SINZ bank account.

For further reference here is a copy of the Aotearoa New Zealand Screen Sector Strategy 2030, released in August 2020.

Last updated on 15 December 2022

The Justice of Bunny King, directed by DEGANZ board member Gaysorn Thavat and edited by fellow member Cushla Dillon, has earned a spot in Rotten Tomatoes’ top movies of 2022. With its Certified Fresh score of 95%, the film ranked #32 out of the site’s 100 top-rated films of the year.

The film premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and has since made the festival rounds, screening in Australia, the UK, and America.

The Justice of Bunny King (2021) - IMDb

It follows the titular character Bunny King (Essie Davis), as she battles the system to reunite with her two children. When a familial confrontation leads her to take her niece Tonyah (Thomasin McKenzie) under her wing, Bunny discovers her troubles have only just begun.

See the rest of the rankings here.

Last updated on 14 December 2022

Directed by Matthew Saville and edited by DEGANZ member Peter Roberts, Juniper has been invited to screen at the 2023 Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) in the festival’s World Cinema Now selection.

Juniper has struck a chord with audiences, offering an intimate insight into the relationship between a troubled teen with his equally troubled grandmother. Starring academy-nominated actress Charlotte Rampling, the pair clash as Sam must care for his cantankerous grandmother. Yet, with their time spent together, they find unexpected common ground.

PSIFF is one of the largest festivals in North America and has garnered a reputation for being the starting point for campaign trails leading to the Academy Awards.

Congratulations to Peter and the rest of the team on the exciting news!

Last updated on 14 December 2022