Congrats to the DEGANZ members selected for the first 2023 round of the New Zealand Writers Guild’s (NZWG) Seed Grants! Pulkit Arora (DEGANZ) and Joseph J. U. Taylor (DEGANZ) are two of the six Seed Grant recipients. Fellow members Hweiling Ow (Incubator 2021) and Rouzie Hassanova are the two Seed Advanced Grant recipients.

NZWG offers these grants to writers for the opportunity to be innovative and write a feature they believe in. While the Seed Grant is for emerging and unproduced writers, Seed Advanced acknowledges experienced writers by offering a larger grant and more flexibility around development costs.

Applications are judged through a blind-read process against the three criteria of idea, craft, and voice. This process ensures that the projects selected tell a compelling story and have an audience. It also determines if the writers have a clear and original voice and can turn their idea into a strong screenplay. This round’s judges panel featured Karol Griffiths, Briar Grace-Smith, Victor Rodger, and Nicole Dade.

Check out the projects that DEGANZ members will be working on with the grants:


Pulkit Arora


Away from his home in India for the first time, a teenage boy spends a month learning to be a man from his domineering elder brother in New Zealand. But will his tenderness survive the transition to manhood?

Joseph J. U. Taylor

The Rider

A teenage woman flees her backwater village to become a daredevil rider on ‘The Wall of Death,’ but with international stardom within reach, tragedy strikes, forcing her home to the prospect of never riding again.


Hweiling Ow

Pohpoh Wants to Die

When a grandmother turbo charges her bucket list after her husband’s funeral, her highly strung daughter desperately tries to rein her in from the world of drugs, casual sex, and social media stardom.

Rouzie Hassanova


11 year old Sefa Hasan is struggling to find her feet in Aotearoa New Zealand, but in order to fit in, she needs to embrace her true self.

Last updated on 29 June 2023

DEGANZ member Jolin Lee (Incubator 2022) is truly embodying the Directors and Editors Guild, having directed and edited the new music video Where My Asians At?!

The new single by Tāmaki Makarau based singer/songwriter RESHMA celebrates and highlights the unique perspectives that the pan-Asian community brings to the arts. Her lyrics reflect on the prejudices within the Asian community about pursuing the arts but are ultimately a call to action for Asian creatives to continue to create, share stories, and uplift each other.

Jolin came on board as the video’s director and editor, channeling the song’s superhero final boss energy. It features K-pop-esque group choreography, firey visual effects, and mesmerising editing. On their Instagram, Jolin shares that this was their first time working with a choreographer and extensive VFX, and thanks the team that helped pull it all together.

Check out the music video on all platforms now!

Last updated on 27 June 2023

DEGANZ member Arka Gupta is looking for crowdfunding support for his upcoming short film, Cookies and Cream.

The film peeks into the lives of Phoebe, a five-year-old experiencing the early stages of hearing loss, and Rachel, her young working mother. While trying to balance a turbulent home life as the family’s sole provider, Rachel struggles to accept her daughter’s disability. However, when Phoebe is able to find human connection through unspoken gestures, Rachel comes to accept her daughter’s condition, realising that it won’t prevent her from living a full life.

Through exploring childhood deafness and the challenges and stigmas that surround it, the story aims to raise awareness. Arka, the project’s writer and director, is dedicated to authentically representing Phoebe’s disability. With the help of Deaf Children NZ, the production team ran a nationwide audition search for young actors to play Pheobe and her friend, Madelyn.

The production has received some support from the Palmerston North city council, which has helped cover location and gear rental costs. However, they need help for the final stretch. Through crowdfunding, they aim to cover the costs of on-set catering, artist kohas, post-production, and ongoing fees.

If you are able to help bring this story to life, you can visit the IndieGoGo page. You can also follow their socials on Instagram and Facebook.

Best of luck to Arka and the Cookies and Cream team!

Last updated on 26 June 2023

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Over the last two and a half months, we have been having educational evenings on the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA) across four sub-sectors:

  1. Advertising & Marketing Content
  2. Factual & Entertainment
  3. Scripted
  4. Film – Narrative & Documentary

Directors, editors, and assistant editors have been coming together to learn what the Act is about, how it affects them, what rights they have, don’t have, and could have, and what they can contribute to, allowing us to define the ‘claims’ (i.e. the minimum pay rates, terms, and conditions), which we will negotiate for in collective bargaining. Working groups are forming with four to six members in each, one for directors and one for editors, in each of the sub-sectors except for Film, which will have separate working groups for Narrative and Documentary. Each working group is led by a highly experienced practitioner in that sub-sector.

Up to the end of September, the working groups will be formulating thoughts, taking input, asking for feedback, and shaping potential claims, with the aim to put a draft set of claims in front of as many directors, editors, and assistant editors as possible within each of the sub-sectors. The feedback we receive on these draft claims we hope will allow us to settle on the final claims we will take into bargaining. We will also hold additional hui to update you on progress as we go.

We would like you to start interacting with the working group leaders/members in the sub-sectors that are relevant to you. We need to get as much input and feedback as possible to ensure that we are truly representing your interests and desires when it comes to helping determine the minimum pay rates, terms, and conditions that will govern your work once collective agreements are in place. Please contact me directly at the Guild to find out who is in the sub-sector that you wish to communicate with.

I would like to extend my thanks to the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society for their financial support as we go through this entire process. ASDACS is a vital organisation that works with us to improve directors’ rights and remuneration and to administer the collection and disbursement of royalties due to directors for the screening of their work.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 23 June 2023

Look no further for LGBTQIA+ content to check out this Pride Month! We’ve compiled a list of LGBTQIA+ projects by or featuring DEGANZ members:


Fiona Clark: Unafraid

This feature documentary celebrates one of Aotearoa’s most renowned and radical photographers, Fiona Clark. Best known for her portraits of the drag community in the 1970s, Fiona’s work challenged prejudices and gave visibility and voice to the socially marginalised. Fiona reveals the stories behind her iconic and haunting art and the personal stories that underpin them all. DEGANZ member Shailesh Prajapati worked as the film’s assistant editor.

Watch it now on NZ Film On Demand.

Daughter of God

DEGANZ member Maza White‘s short explores the familial relationship of an Iranian-Kiwi daughter. When her parents spring an arranged marriage on her, Zarah calls her girlfriend for help but is forced to choose between family and the love of her life.

Don’t miss the film’s premiere at NZIFF in New Zealand’s Best programme.

Nathan Joe: Homecoming Poems

Directed by DEGANZ member Nahyeon Lee (Incubator 2021), this short film meditates on poet Nathan Joe’s sense of home and homecoming. Through three poems, he explores queerness, being Chinese-Kiwi, and feeling caught between Christchurch and Auckland.

Available to watch on Nathan’s website.

Joey’s Heart

This short, directed by Louise Lever (DEGANZ), follows Joey, a self-proclaimed ‘gay Bridget Jones’ who’s rapidly losing hope of finding her special someone. Then she meets Alice, and suddenly she thinks maybe her luck will change.

Watch the trailer and keep an eye out for any screenings near you.



Burnt-out trans activist Caz Davis returns to the rural dairy community of Rūrangi to reconnect with his estranged father, who hasn’t heard from him since before Caz transitioned. While there, Caz finds himself swept up in the environmental fight that politically divides the town, and reconnects with old friends. Not only is it Aotearoa’s first transgender drama series, but the production also has one of the most gender-diverse casts and crews in the industry. The series is directed by DEGANZ member Max Currie.

You can find seasons 1 and 2 on Neon now.

What’s the Disabili-Tea

Executive produced by DEGANZ Board President Robyn Paterson and edited by fellow member Brendan Chan, this docu-series explores the lives of queer and disabled people in Aotearoa. While highlighting issues of accessibility, like being misgendered in the healthcare system, the series ultimately celebrates and uplifts the queer disabled community.

Catch the series on Attitude.


Current Incubator participant Victoria Boult‘s TikTok series opens strong with gay fan fiction. This part of the anthology series, set in the early 2000s, dives into Nikau’s fantasy of his crush, Tāmati, and revels in the embarrassing and awkward moments of teen love. The show is now heading to ThreeNow and Three as a new comedy series with Great Southern Television.

Check out season 1 on TikTok for more Y2K shenanigans.

The Creature

Jake Tabata (DEGANZ) is making his directorial debut with this coming-of-age horror web series. Aidan is ecstatic when he matches with his ‘dream man’ after being stuck in the online dating rut of endlessly swiping with no results. But in order to leave for his date, he must first face the perturbed Creature that lurks in the dark. The series explores grappling with relationship anxiety in the digital era.

The Creature is currently in post-production with plans to release later this year. In the meantime, you can follow the project’s Instagram.

Self Help

This web series, co-directed by DEGANZ member Michelle Ang (Incubator 2020), comedically unpacks the growing pains that stem from young heartache. After being dumped by his boyfriend, Nikau fumbles through the advice of his friends and whānau as they try to pull him out of the heartbreak rut. He tries everything from getting ripped to floating in a sensory deprivation tank as he navigates the healing and self-improvement journey.

Watch the eight-part series on YouTube now!

Inky Pinky Ponky

When a young fakaleiti (transgender) high school student falls in love at St Valentine’s Highschool, she must navigate her way through a world of intolerance and bigotry to find happiness – in an unexpected place. This single hour-long episode co-directed by DEGANZ member Ramon Te Wake, offers a new take on the classic high school romcom, cementing itself in the hearts of young LGBTQIA+ and Pasifika viewers.

View it now on MĀORI+2 before it streams internationally on The Coconet TV on 20 July!


Are you a DEGANZ member and have worked on LGBTQIA+ content? Flick an email, and we’ll add you to this list!

Happy viewing!

Last updated on 6 July 2023