Six Directors Chosen for Incubator 2023

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The Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased to announce the lineup of directors chosen for the Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator 2023.

The participants selected for our seventh year of the Incubator will go through a series of one-day workshops designed to advance their projects and move them more rapidly towards sustainable careers as directors in the screen industry.

The DEGANZ Incubator was started to address the paucity of female directors in scripted content and feature film in New Zealand. Since its beginning in 2016, 48 female directors, including this year’s intake, have been selected for the programme, with many continuing to advance and make significant achievements in their directing careers across features, commercials, TV drama, scripted shows, online content, and documentary.

We congratulate this year’s intake on their selection and thank all who applied to take part.

About the Participants

Jaya Beach-Robertson is a Pakeha emerging writer/director residing in Tāmaki Makaurau. Born and raised in Seattle, USA, she moved to Whakatū, Aotearoa, at the ripe age of nine with her family. Her protagonists are outsiders, othered, always flawed, and land somewhere on the spectrum of unusual to outright strange – a genuine reflection of herself and her upbringing. In 2016 she released the first season of PSUSY, a self-funded web series that premiered internationally at the New Orleans Film Festival. The still self-funded second season of PSUSY won best web series at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Through this win, she gained representation with a literary manager at Silver Lining Entertainment. In 2022, Jaya directed the 10-part docu-series for RNZ’s TAHI Point of View (a.k.a. POV) that looks into the lives of young people in small-town Aotearoa. Later that year, she assisted the showrunner on the second season of HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death. She has contributed to writers’ rooms for Kevin & Co, Greenstone TV, and i te ahiahi.

Victoria Boult (Ngāi Tahu) is a director, writer and development producer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. After undertaking a Bachelor of Arts (Honours I) in English Literature and Film Theory at the University of Sydney, Victoria became the Development Executive at Great Southern Television in July 2020. External to Great Southern Television, Victoria has written on Ahikaaroa (nominated for Best Writer at the 2022 NZ Web Fest Awards), storylined on a number of television series, and was selected to participate in SPADA’S Collaboration in Action workshop (2021), the Show Me Shorts Development Lab (2023) and Screen Canberra’s POD program (2023). She was the Trainee Director on the documentary Swipe With Caution (TVNZ, 2022) and was shortlisted for Fresh Shorts (2023) with her short film Invisible Dragons, which she wrote and will direct. The outcome of this is pending. In November 2021, Victoria was selected for the NZOA/Screen Australia/Tik Tok Every Voice initiative and received $50,000 to write/direct her series, n00b. n00b was released in July 2022 and, thus far, has garnered over 12,000 followers, 1.5 million views and 11,000 likes.

Ella Gilbert (Rongowhakaata/Ngāti Kahungunu) is based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara and works as an actor, acting coach, theatre and filmmaker. She is a graduate of Toi Whakaari and trained with Araitepō, a Mātauranga Māori high performance leadership programme. Last year Ella wrote and directed the short film Mary Mary, which screened at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand Festival – Short Film Market Picks 2023. Her previous films, made on Super8mm with collective Don’t Shoot Films, have screened and successfully competed in London, Portugal, Mumbai and Aotearoa. Ella is currently in residence with Write Room Wellington, a three-month screenwriting residency. She is in the thick of draft one of her debut feature, The Desert Road. Ella is proud to be an artist in Aotearoa.

Isla Macleod was awarded NZ Broadcasting School’s Julian Walker Scholarship as the top graduate of her year. She has a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from Victoria University’s IIML and received the Project Scholarship for her thesis feature screenplay and travelled to the Globe Theatre, London, for a summer internship. She won the nationwide New Blood; funding competition and co-created/ wrote/ directed a web series called Oddly Even for TVNZ onDemand. She was selected for the 2022 Tahuna screenwriter’s residency in Queenstown and has directed video packages of Dancing With the Stars NZ as a Field Director. She has directed several short films and has several projects in development with HODs attached. This year she has commenced training at TAP’s Director’s intensive, which grants two spots every second year for a dedicated and practical year led by industry leaders. She is driven to tell stories that challenge perspectives, often working with themes of duality and resilience.

Harriett Maire is a Tāmaki Makaurau-based director with work spanning across commercials, film, theatre and documentaries. Harriett began as a trained actor before realising her true calling was on the other side of the process. In 2015, she graduated as Television and Screen Production graduate of the year at AUT. Her projects have won awards internationally, and her first short film continues to tour the world seven years after its initial release. With a holistic understanding of storytelling, Harriett is known for creating comprehensive and empathetic works. Her performance-directing style highlights subtle nuances and detailed characterisation. Harriett’s passion for storytelling and her ability to bring out the best in her actors make her a sought-after director in the industry.

Jaimee Poipoi (Ngati Kahungunu/Ngāpuhi) has worked on a range of projects over the past nine years, from local films like Red, White, and Brass (2023) to international tent pole films like the next Avatar movies (2022 & 2024). Once described as a creative Swiss army knife, she created/directed the RNZ Investigative comedy series ConspiraSeries (2022), co-hosted/directed the 70s-themed RNZ comedy Podcast, The Art of Entertaining (2022), and has produced and directed many films through her company Electric Shoelace Productions – including two animated short films Who Sneezed and Star Sailors which are set to premiere at this year’s Māoriland Film Festival (2023). Naturally drawn to unique and interesting stories, Jaimee aims to create content with a focus on diverse people through a comedic lens.

Made possible with the financial support of