Tag Archive for: DEGANZ

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House Stark could just as well have been referring to the long, cold chill settling on the domestic New Zealand screen industry right now, even though the Minister is single-handedly about to save Shortland Street, no doubt due to some serious prodding. But there’s a ray of sunshine that comes every winter in New Zealand, and that’s the NZ International Film Festival.

Festival Artistic Director Paolo Bertilin ruffled a few feathers when he arrived. He has, though, with his programming of 86 features and 19 shorts, kept the tradition of the best of contemporary cinema from New Zealand and the world alive, which was so firmly set in place by the long-serving previous director, Bill Gosden.

As is often the case, a good number of the films at NZIFF won’t get NZ releases, which is why I always make the most of it. Arthouse films just don’t get the support they used to with disruption by the streamers and Hollywood doing its best to beat us to death with franchises and killing off even the US mid-budget indie dramas.

There’s a good range of New Zealand films on offer, too, showcasing the talent we have in this country, both in features and in shorts. It’s extremely gratifying to see so many DEGANZ members names attached to films this year, with some involved with more than one.

We get to see 30 years after its first release the film that cemented Sir Peter Jackson’s directing career. Heavenly Creatures also highlights his eye for acting talent, with outstanding performances from the little-known at the time Kate Winslet and the unknown Melanie Lynskey.

DEGANZ will as usual be supporting NZIFF, with involvement in the masterclasses by visiting animation director Gints Zilbalodos. If you can’t get along to one of the masterclasses, do make an effort to see his film Flow. You’ll be well rewarded.

The Civic continues as the spiritual and literal heart of the festival in Auckland, but as usual you’ll have to put up with the loooong rows and uncomfortable chairs. It’s always worth it, though, and I never tire of looking up to watch the shooting star across the ceiling before the screening starts.

I do miss the between-movie shawarmas of Sjoerd and Marjan Rustenhoven at what was the iconic Middle East Café on Wellesley St West. They were great food for the stomach to accompany the great films for the mind and the soul that I have always found in the NZIFF programme.

It may be literally and figuratively chilly at the moment for a good many of us, but winter is the perfect time for NZIFF. Enjoy your film-watching this year and I’ll see you on the other side.

On a different note, I want to make personal mention on the passing of director Grant Campbell on Tuesday morning. Grant was on the DEGANZ board when I stepped into the role as ED. He made great contributions to the guild behind the scenes across decades, even after he stepped off the board due to his illness, by taking up a position on the ASDACS board as NZ representative for a number of years. He was full of life, full of fun and full of laughter. I will miss him. And so will many others.

Kua hinga he totara i te wao nui a Tane

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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The current fight to protect employee jobs going on at TVNZ by union E tū highlights the importance of unions in the New Zealand screen industry, and the importance of the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA) for screen contractors, who until SIWA came along in December 2023 had essentially no protections.

TVNZ is one of the few screen businesses to have a significant number of employees. Those employees have the protections of the Employment Relations Act. Screen contractors now have the protections of SIWA.

The employees at TVNZ who are journalists and media workers and members of E tū have a collective agreement.

We at DEGANZ together with the Writers Guild of New Zealand, Equity New Zealand and some other guilds, are currently seeking to put a collective agreement in place with the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA).

With collective agreements in place, we will have negotiated minimum pay rates and terms and conditions for screen contractors that will provide some certainty for us all.

And with collective agreements, we will be able to fight much more effectively for our members when those negotiated agreements aren’t adhered to.

If you have been following the developments at TVNZ you are most likely aware that E tū is going to file a claim with the Employment Relations Authority against TVNZ. It’s the union’s view that the company did not follow its consultation requirements, as guaranteed for workers in their collective agreement.

The Employment Relations Authority is a Tribunal established under the Employment Relations Act. Members of the Authority help to resolve employment relationship problems.

Under SIWA, the Employment Relations Authority will also help to resolve contractor relationship problems, should a screen guild seek to file a claim against a producer or production company on behalf of one or more contractors who are members.

The employees at TVNZ have for decades helped create the news, current affairs shows, and other programmes much loved by New Zealand audiences. Following the news of yesterday, Sunday, and the Midday and Tonight Bulletins are gone, and Fair Go significantly reduced, with about 70 job losses.  Over at Warner Bros. Discovery, Newshub staff found out that just under 300 jobs will go there.

We all know that it’s not just news and current affairs programmes that will be affected.

SPADA in a press release yesterday that you can read here, estimates that up to $50 million is coming out of our sector and that there is uncertainty around big popular shows like Shortland Street, Celebrity Treasure Island, The Traitors NZ, Married at First Sight NZ, food shows, home shows, and more.

If ever there was a time for every screen worker in New Zealand to come together as members of their guilds and for us to negotiate collective agreements, it’s right now.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

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Over the last two and a half months, we have been having educational evenings on the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA) across four sub-sectors:

  1. Advertising & Marketing Content
  2. Factual & Entertainment
  3. Scripted
  4. Film – Narrative & Documentary

Directors, editors, and assistant editors have been coming together to learn what the Act is about, how it affects them, what rights they have, don’t have, and could have, and what they can contribute to, allowing us to define the ‘claims’ (i.e. the minimum pay rates, terms, and conditions), which we will negotiate for in collective bargaining. Working groups are forming with four to six members in each, one for directors and one for editors, in each of the sub-sectors except for Film, which will have separate working groups for Narrative and Documentary. Each working group is led by a highly experienced practitioner in that sub-sector.

Up to the end of September, the working groups will be formulating thoughts, taking input, asking for feedback, and shaping potential claims, with the aim to put a draft set of claims in front of as many directors, editors, and assistant editors as possible within each of the sub-sectors. The feedback we receive on these draft claims we hope will allow us to settle on the final claims we will take into bargaining. We will also hold additional hui to update you on progress as we go.

We would like you to start interacting with the working group leaders/members in the sub-sectors that are relevant to you. We need to get as much input and feedback as possible to ensure that we are truly representing your interests and desires when it comes to helping determine the minimum pay rates, terms, and conditions that will govern your work once collective agreements are in place. Please contact me directly at the Guild to find out who is in the sub-sector that you wish to communicate with.

I would like to extend my thanks to the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society for their financial support as we go through this entire process. ASDACS is a vital organisation that works with us to improve directors’ rights and remuneration and to administer the collection and disbursement of royalties due to directors for the screening of their work.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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Here at DEGANZ, we are working through an educational and information campaign as part of our work around the Screen Industry Workers Act (SIWA).

One of the things we are asking editors, assistant editors, and directors to do for themselves is to look at the last ten jobs they did, the number of episodes and durations of the content, the platform it was for, what the total budget was, and then to write down the rate that they were paid to do those jobs. (You can often find the total budgets on the NZ on Air, NZFC, and TMP websites under funding decisions.)

Most people are required to work a 10-hour day, so it’s then a good idea to look at the hourly rate you got.

The current Minimum Wage is $22.70/hr; the current Living Wage is $23.65/hr. So if you do a 50-hour week that’s $1,135.00 Gross at the MW and $1,182.50 at the LW. By looking at your Gross weekly figure, you can see how you compare against the minimum and living wages.

But did you do a 50-week? Or did you do more hours and not get paid anymore for them? This will naturally decrease your hourly income. Why not average out your estimated hours per week and then see how well you did in comparison.

Directors, editors, and assistant editors don’t normally get paid overtime, but are required to work the same work day, being 10 hours, that crew on set work, who do get paid overtime.

The current Blue Book, which lays out the terms and conditions under which crew work, specifies that a standard crew day for a short-term engagement is 10 hours including paid lunch, with overtime at T1.5 for the 11th and 12th hours, and T2 for any time over that.

Most directors already understand that they are often the lowest paid person on set from the start for all key/HOD roles, and it just gets worse if they factor in the hours over 10 they do, while the pay to their key/HOD collaborators climbs with the overtime rates they receive.

All of the above and more will factor into our thinking when it comes to considering what minimum rates should be under SIWA for the various roles we represent in the sub-sectors the work is done—Factual and Entertainment, Scripted, Film – Narrative and Documentary, and Advertising and Marketing Content.

Then there are terms.

NZ crew as we know work hard, but as anyone will tell you, there are times when the crew isn’t working because they are waiting for talent, light, rehearsals, or myriad other things.

Editors and assistant editors however don’t have the luxury of downtime waiting for others. They are usually at it for all those hours of that 10-hour day. That’s significantly different in comparison to the crew. Who decided on the 10-hour day in the edit suite many are now starting to ask, not just because it affects their well-being but because it can affect the quality of the work.

We are having to weigh up many aspects of the current paradigm of work in the screen industry for directors, editors, and assistant editors before we settle on what we will negotiate for when it comes time to enter collective bargaining. What to do about public holidays, turn-around times, the working day, creative rights for directors and editors, and a host of other issues are all under discussion. And then of course we have to solidify our thoughts and come to you all to see whether or not you agree with where we have gotten to before we can start collective bargaining. If you don’t, then we will need to do more work.

Collective bargaining for us requires the employment of a democratic process designed to ensure that the majority are involved in the decision-making leading up to, during bargaining, and in settling on the final terms and conditions we will work under going forward.

There’s no better example of this in action than the screen guilds negotiations happening in the United States at the moment. The Writers Guild of America has kicked it off. The Directors Guild of America is about to start. And the US Screen Actors Guild will follow shortly.

A 98% majority vote by WGA members gave their board the endorsement to call a strike. And they eventually did after negotiations between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached an impasse. Democratic votes will be employed at various steps by all those guilds from here on in, in negotiations until they reach solutions.

We’ll be doing the same under the Screen Industry Workers Act, but in our own way, not following the US model.

And that’s why it’s so important right now for every screen worker to join the guild that best represents them: DEGANZ, NZWG, Equity NZ, SMSG, SIGANZ, VFX, Motion Designers and Animators, or the producers’ associations SPADA and APA (formerly NZAPG). These organisations will be negotiating on your behalf and they need your support to make it work for us all.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

When it was least expected, DEGANZ went for it… we are proud to present our brand-new TikTok account. Join us to hear about the latest DEGANZ news, events, and workshops, all while enjoying some funny memes (we promise).

@deganz_online

#CapCut wanna learn more about SIWA? Come to one of our huis 🫶 (l!nk !n b!0)

♬ original sound – Directors & Editors Guild NZ

What people (the marketing team mainly) say about our TikTok:

  • A place to unwind, plus something worth keeping an eye on.
  • 10/10 for that Office meme.
  • The marketing manager sure knows their job!
  • Followed yesterday and never regretted.
  • Can’t wait for more SIWA Hui memes!
@deganz_online

wanna enjoy this feeling? sign up to be a member at the 🔗 in our insta b!0 #deganz #nzdirectors #nzfilm #nz #fyp #abcxyz #meme

♬ Ill do it – 2000s☆

Content warning: Only hilarious, DEGANZ-oriented content.

“We wish we discovered them earlier…” – Weekly Entertainment (if they followed)