Recently DEGANZ was lucky enough to be joined by Sharon Lark, an independent VFX producer and consultant, and Stan Alley, a VFX supervisor, to shed light on the power of VFX and how it can open doors to new story possibilities.

With examples from their own work and from the audience, Sharon and Stan share advice on the ideal relationship between directors and VFX, what different budgets can get you, and how VFX can serve your story. Enjoy this talk on The DEGANZ Podcast.

Sharon Lark

About Sharon Lark

Having worked for 20 years as an independent VFX Producer in the UK on films such as Prince of Persia (Disney/Bruckheimer), Tomb Raider (Paramount), Chronicles of Narnia (Disney) and Casino Royale (Colombia Pictures/Eon Productions), Sharon returned nine years ago to NZ. Here, she was originating Producer for the award-winning Children’s TV series Thunderbirds are Go, before moving onto TV Drama series Cleverman (Aus-NZ co-pro) for two seasons.

Sharon has also been working as a VFX Consultant matching projects and budgets to VFX Facilities & Post Houses. Her most recent work in this role has been on The Luminaries (BBC / Working Title) as well as feature films I am Woman and Invisible Man (Goalpost Pictures Aus). Her latest show Mr Corman (A24/Apple) encompassed working with multiple VFX Facilities and building an in-house team of graphic artists to create a unique collaged world integrated over the 10-part series.


Stan Alley

About Stan Alley

With nearly 17 years of experience working in the visual effects department, Stan has worked onset on films from independent local features to some of the most ambitious effects driven movies ever produced. From local films, such as What We Do in the Shadows, to big budget films, such as The Hobbit and The Avengers.

His most recent work includes being a VFX Supervisor on Wellington Paranormal and Mr Corman. Stan is well versed in pre, principle and post production for VFX.

Earlier in the year, DEGANZ was joined by UK director/writer Steven Chatterton to discuss his approach when directing kids. He shares the tools he found useful when working with a first time child actor in his short film Adnan.

Steven discusses how important the tools were when working on every aspect of Adnan, through auditions, rehearsals and on set. Enjoy this seminar on The DEGANZ Podcast.

Adnan is the story of an imaginative ten year old Syrian refugee boy who has had to flee his home country with his mother after the rest of their family were killed and their neighbourhood destroyed. Now settled in the UK, he must use all his creativity to break through his mother’s PTSD or risk losing her forever.

The short film is not currently available to watch online. Head here to read more about it.

Last year, DEGANZ was joined by director James Ashcroft and editor Annie Collins to discuss why they worked so well together on New Zealand thriller Coming Home in the Dark, and why trusting each other was an important factor. Enjoy this largely spoiler-free Q&A, moderated by DEGANZ member/director Rob Sarkies, on The DEGANZ Podcast.

Content warning:

  • This episode is for mature audiences only.
  • It contains references to abuse in state care.

Starring Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries), Erik Thomson (The Luminaries), Miriama McDowell (Head High) and Matthias Luafutu (Ghost in the Shell), Coming Home in the Dark garnered rave reviews after premiering at Sundance 2021. It won Best Narrative, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Matthias Luafutu) at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival.

Coming Home in the Dark is on streaming platforms. Click here for a list on where to find it.

Coming Home in the Dark / Photo: Sandy Lane Productions

Missed our live events in June? We’ve added two to The DEGANZ Podcast.

Screenlink: Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget

Writer/director Sam Kelly (Savage, Lambs), DOP Jess Charlton (Loimata, The Sweetest Tears) and DOP Richard Bluck NZCS (Black Sheep) weigh in on the creative advantages of filmmaking and collaborating on a small budget. We all want to make amazing work that looks exceptional. But what can you do when your budget doesn’t look so great?

Moderated by director Kathy McRae, this event was held in Wellington in June 2022 as part of the Screenlink series, and presented by DEGANZ and the New Zealand Cinematographers Society.


LGBTQ+ Film Festival Directors Q&A

Meet film festival directors Andrea Coloma (MIX COPENHAGEN), Spiro Economopoulos (Melbourne Queer Film Festival) and James Wooley (Frameline: San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival), joining us to discuss the rich histories and stories of how their Queer film festivals came to be.

Talking to filmmaker Kayne Ngātokowha Peters, our international guests discuss the social, political and creative landscape of gay cinema; and how New Zealanders can submit their films and join their global communities.

Content warning:

  • Strong language.
  • Contains sexual references.

This Q&A can also be viewed on the DEGANZ Youtube channel.

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