Cathy MacDonald Selected For Director Attachment On Shortland Street


The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ), NZ On Air and South Pacific Pictures Limited (SPP) are delighted to announce DEGNZ member and director Cathy MacDonald as the TV Drama Director Attachment on Shortland Steet.

“Shortland Street is an important training ground for drama directors and I’m so chuffed to be a part of it. Huge thanks to the very generous Geoff Cawthorn and Maxine Fleming for the opportunity,” said MacDonald.

“Cathy has made a significant effort to advance her career as a film and TV drama director,” said Executive Director of DEGNZ Tui Ruwhiu. “This attachment on Shortland Street is another major step toward her achieving her goals, and we are thrilled to be able to assist her in this.”

Cathy has over 15 years experience as a director in short film, television and advertising. She has won nearly 20 international awards for my work as a writer/director of promos and branded content including Young Creative at Promax Europe, Best Director at Promax World, Best Campaign at Promax World, and Best Director nominee at the New York Festivals. Her short films have been selected at 12 festivals including BAFTA and Academy Awards qualifiers Encounters Film Festival (Bristol), London International Documentary Festival, Rushes Soho Shorts (London), and Show Me Shorts (NZ).

A fast-paced serial drama in an urban setting, Shortland Street explores the lives and loves of the patients and staff of a modern metropolitan hospital and contains a heady mix of medical crisis, human drama, comedy, romance and suspense. First airing in 1992, Shortland Street celebrates 24 years on air in 2015. With around 40% of all viewers tuning in every night, Shortland Street is regularly the number one show in target demographics 18-39 and Household Shoppers with children. As well as being New Zealand’s most successful serial drama, the show screens in several international territories including Fiji, Australia and Ireland.

MacDonald is now the fifth DEGNZ member director to attach to a New Zealand TV drama series, and the third woman. Started in 2015, the initiative has seen actor and director Matthew Saville attach to director Ric Pellizarri on Screentime’s telefeature Bombshell: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, actor and director Aidee Walker shadow director Michael Hurst on SPP’s Westside series, director Jamie Lawrence join director Peter Burger on Filthy Productions’ series Dirty Laundry, and director Helena Brooks shadowed Mark Beasley on SPP’s The Brokenwood Mysteries.

The TV Drama Attachment initiative is an industry professional development activity funded by NZ On Air and the production company involved and managed by DEGNZ. It is intended to give emerging drama directors the opportunity to shadow an experienced director through the pre-production, production and post-production process as a means to improve their craft skills.


For further information, please contact:

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

Cathy MacDonald was trained by the BBC Academy in Working with Actors, Health and Safety and Directing Drama. She attended screenwriting courses at London’s Raindance Academy, and in 2011 won the $30K International Graduate Scholarship to do a Masters of Screenwriting at Central St Martins College London. In 2012 she was funded by Real Ideas Studio California to create a short documentary and attend the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Back in New Zealand, in 2013 she attended the Script to Screen Short Film Lab where I developed my short narrative drama The December Shipment. In 2014 she self-funded the film and with it made the final shortlist from a global list of nearly 4000 directors in the $150KLexus Short Film Competition. This year she’s gained representation by Sunday Punch, the TVC production arm of The Downlow Concept.

South Pacific Pictures is New Zealand’s largest screen production company and has an international reputation for producing world-class television and film. The company is in its 28th year of operation and to date has produced more than 5000 hours of programming. Drama series and serials, feature films, and more recently, entertainment, reality programming, factual series and documentaries are all part of the programming mix. The current slate includes work for New Zealand, Australian, Canadian and European broadcasters.

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is a not-for-profit membership organisation that represents Directors and Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors and Editors of feature drama and documentary; television drama, documentary and factual programmes; short films; video art; animation; commercials and web content.

DEGNZ’s two primary roles are advocacy and professional development. We:

  • are dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts of directing and editing.
  • foster collegiality and unity within the screen industry.
  • promote members’ creative and economic rights.
  • work to improve industry working conditions and remuneration.
  • offer professional advice and information on contracts and industry standards and practice.
  • offer professional development events, networking opportunities, career advice, dispute resolution, mentoring, workshops, training, discounts and regular news bulletins for members across all levels of expertise, from novices to seasoned professionals.
  • is a voice for Directors and Editors in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of the pan‐industry group SINZ (Screen Industry New Zealand), and by making submissions to government and public officials.
  • Internationally work co-operatively with other guilds and we belong to the International Affiliation of English‐Speaking Directors’ Organisations (IEASDO).

DEGNZ is Auckland-based with an office in Grey Lynn.

Contact Details:

Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent
Grey Lynn
P.O. Box 47-294, Ponsonby



Last updated on 18 March 2018