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DEGANZ member and 2017 Incubator alum Renae Maihi attended the 2024 Berlinale Talents Summit as a selected writer/director.

Each year, the renowned Berlinale Film Festival hosts the talent development programme to foster the growth of the world’s top emerging filmmakers. Participants attend The Summit in Berlin for a week of discipline-specific workshops, talks with acclaimed guests, and project development labs. They also join the Berlinale Global Community, an exclusive group of filmmakers and professionals to find support, inspiration, and potential collaborators.

This year, Renae and 201 other talents were selected from a record 3,832 applications from 131 countries. She attended the highly competitive programme as the sole participant from Aotearoa and the only Indigenous filmmaker in the group.

She shared with DEGANZ about her time at The Summit,

Highlights of my time at Berlinale Talents include listening to Martin Scorsese and Lupita Nyong’o talk for us about their careers, dinner with director Wes Anderson’s Art Department collaborator, the lovely Simon Weisse, as well as a direct invitation from the European branch of the Academy to be a member. I found some future collaborators who were also talents in the program working at the top level in their countries. Definitely an excellent time in Berlin.

The Summit took place from 17-22 February with the theme, Common Toungues: Speaking Out in the Language of Cinema.

It’s great to see Renae being recognised for her mahi on such a large international scale!

Down Under Berlin in Germany is showcasing several members’ hard work – some as festival veterans and others celebrating premieres! The festival is Europe’s leading festival for Australian and Kiwi films, screening a wide range of productions from indie films to student projects to blockbusters.

Features

Millie Lies Low, edited by Dan Kircher (DEGANZ), is the festival’s opening night special with a Q&A with Incubator alum Michelle Savill (Incubator 2018). The feature follows anxious Millie in the aftermath of impulsively abandoning her place in a prestigious internship in New York.

Anthology feature Kāinga is having its German premiere at the festival. Featuring eight unique Pan-Asian stories all set in the same house across several decades, the film chronicles the diverse and ever-changing experiences of Asians trying to make Aotearoa New Zealand their home. DEGANZ members Michelle Ang (Incubator 2020), Ghazaleh Golbaksh (Incubator 2021), Julie Zhu, and Nahyeon Lee (Incubator 2021) each directed one of the eight stories. Fellow member Mia Maramara (Incubator 2022) was a writer on the project along with Ghazaleh and Nahyeon.

Red, White & Brass, co-edited by Ben Powdrell (DEGANZ) is screening as the festival’s Focus on Aotearoa event. The film is a celebration of Tongan pride, sharing māfana and good vibes. When Maka and Veni fail to snag tickets to the most important game of their lives, they decide to form a traditional Tongan marching band, just to get in. The only problem is they have no band, no instruments…and no idea.

Shorts

Shorts films are also getting their screen time in the festival’s shorts programme.

Member Rafa Yam‘s debut short For Thom is opening the programme. It follows an isolated teenage girl suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression as she tries reconnecting with her best friend Milly in an attempt to fix her fragile mental state.

Award-winning Perianayaki, edited by Shailesh Prajapati (DEGANZ), is continuing its successful festival run. A recent Sri Lankan immigrant, 56-year-old Perianayaki, begins another day at her job stacking shelves at the local supermarket. With her limited grasp of English, she struggles to fit in and understand or be understood by colleagues and customers alike. Today, on her wedding anniversary, Perianayaki is forced to reconcile with the bittersweet realities of her life.

 

Well done to all members involved in the selected films!