Tag Archive for: drama

DEGANZ member Loren Taylor‘s directorial debut, The Moon is Upside Down is out now in cinemas across Aotearoa.

The Kiwi dramedy follows the intersecting lives of three women as they each venture through unfamiliar landscapes, grappling with loneliness, isolation, and longing. Natalia, a mail-order bride from Siberia with dreams of running a cafe, arrives in Aotearoa to find the reality of her situation is far from what she was led to believe. Briar, a burnt-out anaesthetist, attempts to have a romantic weekend away with her long-time, online boyfriend despite their plans falling apart. Faith, a wealthy empty nester, goes to great lengths to honour a stranger’s life after unexpectedly coming into possession of their ashes.

Loren not only wrote and directed the film, but she also stars in it as Briar. Joining her in the stacked cast is Jemaine Clement (MacIntosh), Rachel House (Tuffy), Elizabeth Hawthorne (Faith), Robyn Malcolm (Hilary), Robbie Magasiva (Tim) and more.

The film has received critical acclaim in the festival rounds, winning Best First Feature Film at the PÖFF Tallinn Black Night Film Festival in 2023.

You can find screenings near you here.

TVNZ’s new drama series Testify, directed by DEGANZ members David Stubbs and Paula Whetu Jones, is out now. Paula was also one of the series’ writers alongside Gavin Strawhan.

The big-budget series is chock full of drama, diving deep into the destructive power dynamics of an Evangelical megachurch based in Auckland. David, a charismatic youth pastor, clashes with Scott, his father and church leader when pushing for more inclusivity within the religious community. He forms an unlikely alliance with a queer podcaster and together, they uncover a conspiracy of historic sexual abuse in the church.

The show also features fellow member Jessica Grace Smith as Emmeline, Scott’s obedient daughter and supposedly happily married with two kids.

All episodes of Testify are available on TVNZ+ now!

The Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand is now accepting applications for the eighth Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator.

In 2024, the talent-focused development programme will mentor a selection of women directors from Aotearoa New Zealand.


The vision of the Incubator is to empower participating directors with confidence, knowledge and connections. The Incubator is intended for emerging debut directors of feature film (drama or documentary) and will also consider those wishing to establish careers in TV drama and scripted content.

Applicants must apply with a project; however, the Incubator will be focused primarily on the filmmaker’s development rather than project development.

The objectives of the Incubator are:

  •   Increase the number of women directing features and TV dramas.
  •   Connect producers, broadcasters, funders and other industry professionals with women directors to get stories from women’s perspectives into and through development.
  •   Create networking opportunities for women directors to further their projects and careers.
  •   Inspire and encourage directors to passionately pursue feature film and drama directing careers through interaction with successful filmmakers who serve as role models.
  •   Improve directors’ understanding of the business of film and television drama.


Participants will attend five one-day workshops across 2024, the first of which is scheduled to take place in March. All workshops are intended to be held in Auckland, and a travel allowance will be available for participants based in other regions.

The workshops are individually themed to provide specific knowledge, networks, skills, and inspiration that enable participants to advance themselves and their careers. As the global screen industry continues to change, DEGANZ will remain flexible as to the content of the programme and aim to incorporate information and opportunities that are relevant.



All applicants should have a considerable level of directing experience, such as acclaimed web series, shorts with festival success, TV commercials, or broadcast content. 

Applicants must:

  1. Have an active project (feature film, documentary feature, telefeature, TV/online drama or scripted series) in development that has never been presented to a broadcaster or funder. It is preferable that the project is at least a first draft script but if not available, there must be a detailed Writer’s Treatment (10 – 20 pages) for the project, if a narrative feature, or a pitch document for a documentary feature. A Director’s Treatment that includes style, tone, imagery, etc. is not requested but can be supplied in addition to the Writer’s Treatment. For a TV or web series, a pitch deck with a series outline, character descriptions and synopsis of the first episode is required. The applicant does not have to be the writer of the project.
  2. Have experience as a director of scripted content (drama, comedy) or documentary in the form of the project they are submitting (i.e., if you are applying with a narrative drama project, you must have experience directing narrative drama, or if it’s comedy, experience directing comedy, etc.)
  3. Have a directing credit on one of the following:
  • a short film selected for one of the NZFC’s Recommended Short Film Festivals, the New Zealand International Film Festival, Show Me Shorts Film Festival or Doc Edge Festival.
  • a commissioned, scripted one-off or series by a broadcaster or digital platform.
  • a self-funded web series that has won or been nominated for an award at a recognised festival.
  1. For feature films, applicants must be a debut director.
  2. Be available to participate in all workshops.
  3. Identify as a woman.
  4. Be an NZ Citizen or permanent resident.


Successful applicants must be DEGANZ Full members for at least the duration of the Incubator programme.


Selection Process

A selection panel will shortlist candidates. Shortlisted candidates must be available for a one-on-one interview via Zoom in mid-February. Getting an interview does not imply that you have been selected for the Incubator.

If shortlisted, you will be expected to immediately supply the required written documents prior to the interview.

The Incubator participants will be selected from the shortlist following the interview.

Decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.


How to Apply

Application Deadline: 10AM, Monday 5 February 2024


Application Requirements:

  1. A completed DEGANZ Women Filmmakers Incubator Application Cover Sheet.
  2. A 1-page synopsis of the project with the ending revealed.
  3. A maximum 2-page letter stating your career goals and why you want to participate in this Incubator.
  4. A 1-page bio (not a CV).
  5. A filmography and any additional links to completed work that supports your experience and the project you are including with this application.


Compile your documents into a single PDF file* in the order matching requirements 1 – 5.

Give your PDF the following naming convention:




Send your application to admin@deganz.co.nz with DEGANZWFI2024 in the subject line.

* Online PDF merge tool


The Incubator is made possible thanks to the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.


Questions about the Incubator?

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director
+64 21 659 950

NZFC announced their August funding decisions, with multiple DEGANZ members attached to projects as writer/directors.

Feature Film Production Investment



Logline: Experience the unstoppable force of Jonah Lomu, the greatest rugby player to walk the planet, whose indomitable spirit reshaped the game forever.

Writers/Directors: Vea Mafile’o and Gavin Fitzgerald

Early Development Funding Decisions



Logline: When a wealthy doctor suffers a serious stroke, the perfect lives of his wife and entitled adult children are turned upside down. But when they discover he has a secret family, all hell breaks loose.

Writer/Director: Jesse Griffin



Logline: Struggling to accept the disability that detonated her Olympic dream, an ambitious low-vision cyclist finds a tandem pilot to steer her to victory, but their co-dependent relationship soon veers violently off-course.

Writer/Director: Pennie Hunt (Incubator 2020)


You can find the rest of the funding decisions on the NZFC website.

Congratulations to DEGANZ members Joe Murdie, Sophie Black, and James Fink-Jensen for their success at the 2023 Vision Feast awards!

Joe won big with the Rubber Monkey Best Aotearoa Project Award for WALK. Along with the accolade, he received $3000 worth of rentals from Rubber Monkey and the festival’s iconic Golden Chompy trophy. Written and directed by Joe, the short follows Amelia on a seemingly casual stroll in the wilderness. However, the innocent and carefree nature of the walk grows increasingly at odds with the protagonist’s actions.

Sophie’s animation-hybrid Believing is Seeing earned her Best Documentary. Joined by Dr. Robert Bartholomew, the world’s leading expert on mass psychogenic illnesses, the film investigates the mysterious outbreak of tic disorders on TikTok. You can watch Believing is Seeing on Youtube and Vimeo now!

James took home the Emerging NZ Filmmaking Talent Award for Strangers, which he wrote, directed, produced, and edited. The film dwells on the nervous pressure of first impressions on a date. With a cast of zany characters, a simple cafe date goes awry on an emotional roller coaster.

Well done to the winners and all the nominated directors. It’s always exciting to see our members recognised for their hard work!