Documentary shorts Ultimately Lacks Polish and Nathan Joe: Homecoming Poems have premiered on the streaming platform Vidzing. Commissioned by the Going West Writers Festival, both documentaries focus on poets who take a radical approach to performance. Congratulations to our members who worked on these films!

Ultimately Lacks Polish was directed by DEGANZ Wellington-based member Kathleen Winter. Following New Zealand poet Freya Daly Sadgrove as she dares to combine poetry, punk, sex, and theatre, Polish also explores Freya’s mindful reflections on her artistry. Kathleen’s frequent collaborator Amanda Mulderry (DEGANZ) edited the documentary.

Auckland member Nahyeon Lee directed Nathan Joe: Homecoming Poems, where poet Nathan Joe explores his feelings about being caught between queerness and being a Chinese-New Zealander. In this magnetic three poem meditation, Nahyeon brings Nathan’s words to life with striking visuals.

Both documentary shorts are now available on-demand on Vidzing. The Going West Writers Festival is operating a pay as you want option, where viewers can watch for free or support their kaupapa with a donation.

Kirsty Hamilton, an alumna of the DEGANZ Women Filmmakers Incubator, is set to direct short film Save Me. 

Written by Suzanne Adamson, the short film follows a mother-daughter dynamic; when a teenage girl is blamed for her brother’s death by her grieving mother, she makes a sacrifice to win back her mother’s love.

Kirsty spoke about the project saying: “As a writer… I know that when a script fills my head with visceral, emotional images as Suzanne’s does, it’s a given I want to be on board and facilitate the screenplay to the best iteration on screen.”

Kirsty graduated from the inaugural intake of the Incubator in 2016. She has since gone on to direct various projects. 

Save Me is currently in pre-production. See the team’s Facebook page to follow their journey.

Today, the Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand is thrilled to announce the seven female directors selected for the Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator 2022.

They are Mary-Lyn Chambers, Mīria George, Jolin Lee, Magnolia Lowe, Mia Maramara, Fiona McKenzie and Alison Titulaer.

Now in its sixth year and thanks to ongoing support from Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commision and the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society (ASDACS), the Incubator aims to support each talented participant to advance their careers and projects. The programme brings the directors together for five workshops across the year to connect with each other and hear from established screen industry practitioners working in New Zealand and abroad.

We look forward to seeing the participants at our first workshop in May, and extend our thanks to every director who applied.

About the Participants

MARY-LYN CHAMBERS was born in Fiji and raised in Nauru and Aotearoa. She has worked in Los Angeles, London and Doha and is known for narrative stories about inequality in mixed languages. She spent a decade working at the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival. She is a directing Fellow from the Sony Pictures Television Diverse Directors Program, Film Independent, and the Alliance of Women Directors.

Prior projects include Karanga, a collaboration with choreographer Merenia Gray funded by CNZ and screened on Sky TV. Her Imagen Award-nominated pilot Tijuana screened at Slamdance, Bentonville, HollyShorts and Content London. Plural of Blood won Best TV Pilot at the 2018 Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival. Debris participated in the UN’s Refugee Voices in Film Conference at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Mary-Lyn is known for hiring women and minorities.

MĪRIA GEORGE (Ngāti Kearoa, Ngāti Tuara; Tumutevarovaro, Enuamanu, Kuki ‘Āirani) is a playwright, screenwriter and a director and producer of theatre and film. The portmanteau feature film VAI (Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions) premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019, and marked Mīria’s debut as a writer and director of film.

Originally a live performance installation, Mīria wrote and directed the award-winning short film fire in the water, fire in the sky (Tawata Productions) that premiered at HIFF and screened at NZIFF in 2021. fire in the water, fire in the sky was awarded Special Recognition for Cinematography at the NZIFF. The film will continue to screen around the world in 2022.

Mīria has also created and directed digital content including Big Hair, Don’t Care, a web-series that documents conversations with Māori, Pasifika and Women of Colour artists of theatre and film; and is producing the 15-part series Ahi Kā for the online platform Moana Nui.

JOLIN LEE is an emerging writer/director of Singaporean-Chinese heritage based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She has been working in Aotearoa’s screen industry for the past six years after pivoting from her journalism roots in 2015, directing a number of music videos and short films. Her short film Ur Dead To Me was selected for the Palm Springs Shortfest in 2018.

Jolin also works prolifically in Tāmaki’s commercial industry as a writer and editor, and has found success in this space, going on to work on some of Aotearoa’s best ad campaigns, from the viral Keep it Real Online campaign and educational web series The Eggplant for the Dept. of Internal Affairs, to the widely celebrated Proud to be Māori campaign for Te Whānau o Waipareira. Jolin is also a Creative and Head of Post Production at award-winning Auckland Agency Motion Sickness.

MAGNOLIA LOWE is an award-winning film-maker who is passionate about storytelling. She has a background in directing commercials and is the principal at Magpie Content Creation.

Magnolia’s Newsroom documentary series Water gained official selection in four international film festivals. The series was an award finalist for best direction in the NZ Web Fest, and was best documentary finalist in die Seriale, the Oregon short film festival and the Oregon documentary film festival. She is currently working on her first feature documentary, In the Subduction Zone.

Previous documentaries include Mapping the Messiness, which follows Australian graduate teachers and US and them, a short documentary about the other side of US-Mexico border migration, featuring stories of Americans who left the US to live in Mexico in 1999. Magnolia has also previously written for The Conversation and has co-authored an academic article about documentary film-making as a research method.

MIA MARAMARA is a Filipino-born filmmaker with work that has screened both locally and internationally. Her passion for authentic, trailblazing stories has led her to wear different hats in the industry, most notably as a writer, director, and producer.

In 2021, she wrote and directed Albularyo (Beyond the Veil) for TVNZ OnDemand and TV2, which earned the distinction of being the first Filipino-led drama on New Zealand TV. She also recently directed the short animated documentary Only Human as part of the Loading Docs initiative.

Mia has received funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand On Air, Creative New Zealand, and the New Zealand Writers Guild Seed Fund. She has participated in the Fresh Shorts Lab and the Aotearoa Short Film Lab.

In the Philippines, she trained under award-winning producer Bianca Balbuena and worked as a production assistant on Pepe Diokno’s film Above the Clouds.

FIONA MCKENZIE, after gaining her degree, began work with TVNZ in Dunedin, writing and field directing for the children’s department. After her OE and time as a regional TV journalist, she moved to Auckland in 1995 and trained as a Drama Director with South Pacific Pictures. As a freelancer in the late 90’s she directed a variety of programmes and genres including documentary, drama, multi-cam and sketch comedy.

In 1998 her first child was born, with significant disabilities, so work took a back seat and she and her family moved back to rural South Island, from where she continued to make films for galleries, museums, disability groups and other clients.

In 2019/20 she wrote and directed her first narrative short film, Peninsula, which premiered at Tribeca (New York) in June 2021, won its section at Bengaluru and played at Aesthetica and NZIFF that same year.

ALISON TITULAER started in the film and TV industry in front of the camera, studying acting in Auckland, New York, and Vancouver, while gathering experience in the many facets of production by working a variety of crew roles. Learning what makes a great script and an honest performance, Alison naturally switched to the other side of the camera.

She has written and directed several short films, and received the Gaylene Preston WIFT Best Female Director award at the 2018 48 Hour National Finals. Her NZFC Fresh Short funded film, Stella, is embarking on its international festival run, and she is developing her first feature.

Alison freelances as a creative producer and director of commercial content and is one half of the production company Citizen Creative. She lives on the Coromandel Peninsula, is step-mum to 9-year-old Ophelia, and mum to 4-month-old Xavier.


Made possible with the financial support of

NZFC

ASDACS logo

The Guild wishes to congratulate Michelle Savill (DEGANZ) whose debut feature film Millie Lies Low, will have its North American premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Mark Albiston’s short film Datsun, edited by DEGANZ member Luke Haigh, will also have its North American premiere as part of the Narrative Shorts Competition.

Millie Lies Low will play in the Narrative Spotlight programme and brings Michelle back to SXSW. In 2013, her short film Ellen is Leaving won Best Narrative Short.

The Austin, Texas set SXSW Film Festival (March 11-20) will be a hybrid event with an online component.

We are excited for member Michelle Savill (DEGANZ Incubator 2018) whose debut feature film, Millie Lies Low, will have its international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival (February 10-20), as part of the Generation programme.

So far, Berlinale has announced ten features and seven shorts invited to play in Generation. According to the festival, the films selected in this programme stand out for the unconventionality and willpower of their protagonists.

Directed and co-written by Michelle, this comedy drama film finds protagonist Millie using fantasy, charm and typical NZ humour to fake a life in New York, one that she would have been living if she hadn’t missed her flight. As a secret shadow to her own life, she learns a lot that she would rather not have known. Listen to Michelle talk to RNZ about how her own experience influenced the story.

In other good news, Datsun is set to have its international premiere at Berlinale as well. The short film follows 14-year-old Matt as he takes his late father’s car on one last tour before its sold. It was edited by DEGANZ member Luke Haigh.

Congratulations again to our members!