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NZ On Air’s Where Are the Audiences Survey 2023 confirmed what previous reports have been warning of—the death of linear television in New Zealand. (WATA research here.)

Three telling points were highlighted in the document that attest to this:

• All traditional media continue to show consistently declining audiences, with TV no longer attracting the biggest audiences during its traditional peak time of 6-10.30pm.
• For the first time the study is showing significant declines in traditional media use among 60+ year olds, and 40-59 year olds are now at the cross-over point where digital media audiences overtake traditional media.
• 2023 also represents the cross-over point when New Zealanders overall start to spend more time using digital media than traditional media.

I’m in one of those older demographics, and I can tell you that I spend more time watching YouTube than I do watching broadcast TV.

If you look at the most popular channels, sites and stations graph, you can see that I’m one of the people who has in 2023 made YouTube the biggest attractor of New Zealand audiences each day at 44%, with Netflix sitting just behind at 42%. TVNZ 1 has gone from 48% in 2014 to 34%, while TVNZ 2 doesn’t even do well enough to get on the graph, at 11%–a death rattle if ever I’ve heard one. TV3 is the bottom player on the graph, going from 34% in 2014 to 17% this year. The rising TikTok sits two percentage points above at 19%. No wonder NZ On Air is throwing money at TikTok in pursuit of the elusive yoof audience.

New Zealand’s bastion of commercial TV media, our public broadcaster TVNZ, after a post -COVID advertising recovery under the canny watch of former CEO Kevin Kenrick, is in throes of its own. With a projected loss of $15.6 million in the 2023/2024 year due to slumping advertising revenue, the belts there are being severely tightened. Head of Drama and Scripted Comedy Steve Barr got the push under a restructure, and now Chief Transformation Officer Kate Calver (Slater) has left to take up the CEO role at Great Southern TV. A positive for TVNZ is that TVNZ+ on the NZ on Air graph has seen its audience reach grow from 14% in 2016 to 32% in 2023, sitting just under TVNZ 1. I think some acknowledgement for this needs to go to former TVNZ CEO Rick Ellis and his digital strategist Simon Aimer, who drove TVNZ into the digital era with their “Inspiring on Every Screen” strategy. With an interim CEO still in place after the departure of Simon Powell following the collapse of the RNZ – TVNZ merger, and a new chair in current NZFC Chair Alastair Carruthers, there’s undoubtedly more transformation to come in that balliwick.

Back at the NZFC ranch, Dana Youngman has been appointed Change Manager by new NZFC CEO Annie Murray, to bring about transformation that the filmish screen industry has been baying for, for years. Change there is also driven by the recent budget cuts NZFC has suffered or will face in the near future. We shall find out what comes in this space in the not-to-distant future, but for the time being we’ll just have to wait… like we’ve been doing since Annabelle Sheehan departed in 2021.

Competition has seen Netflix and some other streamers on the advertising-driven bandwagon for some time now. Netflix has just introduced title sponsorships and binge ads to its advertising offerings. At the same time, its subscription prices for their ad-carrying service and their ad-free service have gone up in the US and will soon in the UK, France, and undoubtedly elsewhere. It’s ironic when you think about it: you used to get advertising for nothing on Free to Air TV. Now you have to pay for it on advertising-carrying subscriber services.

Consolidation is coming in the streamer world is the catch cry we hear more and more these days. We are also being told that peak TV is over, with streamer budgets and commissioning shrinking. Not only has NZ completely missed the Golden Age of Television Drama globally, but it’s become increasingly harder for us to play catch up with the same old or decreasing domestic budgets–we shall see if the New Zealand Screen Production Rebate changes this.

Exacerbating the uncertainty for the NZ screen industry is the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. I’ve heard international productions are backed up, wanting to get into NZ to shoot. Yes, the writers are writing but nothing can be done without actors. The actors’ down-tools has gone past the 100-day mark with no real end in sight. Both the guilds and the studios while still talking do seem to be at considerable loggerheads.

I guess the only thing to do at this point is to smile and sing a little tune:

Try not to get worried, try not to turn on to
Problems that upset you, oh
Don’t you know
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine…

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 26 October 2023

Welcome to the 2023-2024 DEGANZ Board, elected at the recent AGM on 21 October!

Thank you to returning members Robyn Paterson (President), Steven Chow (Vice-President), Phil Gore (Treasurer), Margot Francis, Rāhera Herewini-Mulligan (Ngāi Tūhoe/Ngāi Tai/Te Whānau a Apanui), Celia Jaspers, Te Rurehe Paki, Ben Powdrell, and Gaysorn Thavat together with our three new members for taking on another year of advocating for Aotearoa’s directors, editors, and assistant editors.

We warmly welcome new members, Chris Dudman, Justin Scott (Ngāpuhi), and Rebecca Tansley.

Chris Dudman

Chris Dudman

Chris Dudman’s film-making career started in 1990 when ‘Blackwater Summer’, his graduation film at the Royal College of Art in London, was nominated for a Student Oscar and went on to win numerous international awards. He spent several years directing and editing arts documentaries for television in the UK before moving back to New Zealand. He has written and directed one off documentaries and documentary series for New Zealand television including New Zealand at WarZooProtecting the Border and the critically acclaimed, The Day That Changed My Life. He directed two NZFC short films – The Graffiti of Mr. Tupaia and Choice Night – and he was also the lead director and co-writer of Harry, the gritty TV3 crime series starring Sam Neill and Oscar Kightley. More recently directed two episodes of James Patterson’s true crime anthology drama series Murder Is Forever for Discovery ID USA and the dramatic sequences in the award-winning TVNZ docu-drama By the Balls. Chris has also directed Television commercials throughout his career, firstly with Silverscreen and then through his own production company Robber’s Dog Films. His latest offering is New Zealand’s favourite ad of the moment, the three-legged dog for Trustpower.

Justin Scott

Justin Scott (Ngāpuhi) is a Director and Producer who prides himself in sharing stories from underrepresented communities. As a Queer, Māori, Neurodiverse man living with ADHD, his practice often touches upon stories from these communities and explores intersectionality. Currently, Justin is working as a director and associate producer for upcoming TVNZ series Four Go Flatting – following four young men with intellectual disabilities tackling flatting and independence for the first time. He has been working as a director for Sunday morning series Attitude for the past four years, also directing on the company’s children’s show George and Me for HEIHEI, and intersectional series What’s the Disabili-tea for RNZ. Alongside his directing work, Justin has produced numerous short films with a Te Ao Māori focus including He Hekenga Tūhura and HAKA HAHA. Both of these films have had successful international festival runs, with both premiering internationally at the world’s largest indigenous film festival ImagineNATIVE in Toronto. Prior to his work in the documentary space, Justin cut his teeth working in Children’s television including Let’s Get Inventin’ and Sticky TV.

Rebecca Tansley

Drawing on a long career in storytelling across the media Rebecca has been focused on telling stories for the screen for more than ten years as a director, writer and producer working across documentary, drama and the performing arts. Her award-winning documentaries Crossing Rachmaninoff and The Heart Dances have screened at festivals around the world, in cinemas throughout New Zealand and on Netflix and HBO respectively. Her film of a live opera, Semele, won a 2022 NZTV award for best Entertainment Programme while her short film of the same year, The Finding enjoyed more than a dozen festival outings including Academy Award-accredited In the Palace and Show Me Shorts. Her latest film with NZ Opera, The Strangest of Angels, premiered in the New Zealand International Film Festival in 2023 and was awarded Special Mention for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement at the 60th Golden Prague International Television Festival. Rebecca is currently developing her third feature documentary and has a feature screenplay in development.

A special thank you to Caroline Bell-Booth, Sam Kelly, and Annie Collins, who are stepping away after dutifully serving on the board.

You can see this year’s board’s bios here!

Last updated on 26 October 2023

The New Zealand Television Awards (NZTVA) announced the finalists for 2023, with over 20 DEGANZ members’ mahi receiving nominations.

Each year, the NZTVA recognise and honour the excellence, special skills, and unique talents of those working in television. This year, the awards will be held in Tāmaki Makaurau on 5 December.

Check out the DEGANZ finalists in the list below:

Screen Auckland Best Director: Drama / Comedy Drama

Jesse Griffin

Educators 

South Pacific Pictures / TVNZ+ and TVNZ 2

Best Editing: Documentary or Factual

Cushla Dillon

No Māori Allowed

Kindred Films / TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+

Emma Patterson

Kids Wired Differently

Ruckus / TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+

Best Editing: Drama / Comedy Drama

Jonno Woodford-Robinson

One Lane Bridge

Great Southern Television / TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+

NZ On Air Best Drama

The Brokenwood Mysteries

South Pacific Pictures / TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+

Directors: Katie Wolfe (Ep1), David de Lautour (Ep2), and Jacqueline Nairn (Ep5)

Editor: Kerrie Roggio (Ep1 and 5)

The Gone

Kingfisher Films / Keeper Pictures / Southern Light Films / TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+

Director: Peter Burger (Ep3 and 6)

Best Comedy

Homebound 3.0: Season 1 Episode 1

Kevin & Co / Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ / ThreeNow and Three

Starring: Michelle Ang (Incubator 2020)

Educators: Season 3 Episode 1

South Pacific Pictures / TVNZ+ and TVNZ 2

Director: Jesse Griffin

Co-Creator: Jackie van Beek

NZ On Air Best Documentary

No Māori Allowed 

Kindred Films / TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+

Editor: Cushla Dillion

Best Original Reality Series

The Walkers: Season 2 Episode 3

Hi Mama Productions / TVNZ 2 and TVNZ+

Editor: Huhana Ruri-Panapa

Best Format Reality Series

The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes

Great Southern Television / TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+

Editors: Tibor Riddering and Steven Chow

The Dog House NZ 

South Pacific Pictures / TVNZ 2 and TVNZ+

Assistant Editor: Megan Robinson

NZ On Air Best Children’s Programme

Mystic

Libertine Pictures & Slim Film + TV / TVNZ 2 and TVNZ+

Director: Peter Burger (Ep5-8)

NZ On Air Best Pasifika Programme

Inky Pinky Ponky: Season 1

Tikilounge Productions / The Coconet / Whakaata Māori

Co-director: Ramon Te Wake

Best Sports Programme

Scratched : Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends

Hex Work Productions / The Spinoff

Field Director: Piata Gardiner-Hoskins

Best Entertainment Programme

Ka Pō, Ka Ao Rob Ruha with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Satellite / Whakaata Māori

Editor: Ben Chesters

 

It’s great to see so many familiar names on the list!

Last updated on 26 October 2023

The Top of the South Film Festival is returning for its ninth year, with films from DEGANZ members Danika Leigh Ciullo and Brian Gill in the ‘The Savage and Savage Aotearoa‘ programme.

Danika’s short, Shredded, follows two young men when one must race the clock to find a missing phone number to save his best friend’s life.

In Solitaire, written and directed by Brian, a desperately lonely security guard’s playing cards come to life during a game of solitaire.

The festival is Top of the South Filmmakers Incorporated’s (TSF) primary annual fundraiser. This year’s festival director, appointed by the TSF Executive Committee, is fellow member Douglas Brooks.

TSF is a non-profit collective of filmmakers from across the Nelson, Marlborough, and Tasman regions looking to push the boundaries of creativity in film. The society aims to support the growth of the film industry in the region by facilitating professional development opportunities for filmmakers and providing opportunities for them to showcase their films and techniques.

Last updated on 26 October 2023

The Misty Flicks Film Festival is featuring multiple DEGANZ members’ mahi this November. The festival highlights films shot in the Waikato and Central Aotearoa regions or that have a connection with these regions through cast and crew. Other films can also screen at the festival if the team behind them will attend the festival to present a workshop at the festival.

The programmers chose films of various genres and styles to bring an eclectic visual experience for festival attendees. Along with the numerous screenings, the festival also hosts workshops, panels, and social events for filmmakers and film buffs to enjoy.

Shorts Programme 1

Mothering Sunday

A horror, dark comedy short where terrifying revelations are made during a Mother-Daughter argument.

Director: Liv McClymont

Under Cover

In this dark comedy thriller, two women are tasked with unravelling the mystery behind their friend’s shady boyfriend, only to stumble upon a web of shocking secrets.

Director: Guillaume Arnoulet

Minimally Invasive

An anxious patient fears his concerns are being ignored when his routine operation yields unexpected findings.

Director & Editor: Adam Harvey

Shorts Programme 2

Proud Hooligan

In this AI-generated story, James and his unlikely companion, Helen, must stand up to the proud hooligan, Roy Randall. I mean, who else is going to defend those elderly ladies? Along the way, James learns about love, true friendship, and the need to get better at hiding his deadly knives.

Director & Editor: Guillaume Arnoulet

For Thom

An isolated teenage girl suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression tries to reconnect with her best friend Milly in an attempt to fix her fragile mental state.

Director: Rafa Yam

Editor: Guillaume Arnoulet

Feature Film

Real Cowboy

A fresh new comedy! Jimmy wants to be a Real Cowboy, but there is so much to learn, staying on your feet and well, staying alive for a start!

Director: Kevin R. Luck

 

In addition to screening in their respective programmes, both Minimally Invasive and Proud Hooligan are featuring in the festival’s Short Film Showcase. These films represent the best of the shorts programmes and are finalists for the Best Short award this year.

Congratulations to everyone selected!

Last updated on 26 October 2023