Tag Archive for: emerging directors

The Misty Flicks Film Festival is featuring multiple DEGANZ members’ mahi this November. The festival highlights films shot in the Waikato and Central Aotearoa regions or that have a connection with these regions through cast and crew. Other films can also screen at the festival if the team behind them will attend the festival to present a workshop at the festival.

The programmers chose films of various genres and styles to bring an eclectic visual experience for festival attendees. Along with the numerous screenings, the festival also hosts workshops, panels, and social events for filmmakers and film buffs to enjoy.

Shorts Programme 1

Mothering Sunday

A horror, dark comedy short where terrifying revelations are made during a Mother-Daughter argument.

Director: Liv McClymont

Under Cover

In this dark comedy thriller, two women are tasked with unravelling the mystery behind their friend’s shady boyfriend, only to stumble upon a web of shocking secrets.

Director: Guillaume Arnoulet

Minimally Invasive

An anxious patient fears his concerns are being ignored when his routine operation yields unexpected findings.

Director & Editor: Adam Harvey

Shorts Programme 2

Proud Hooligan

In this AI-generated story, James and his unlikely companion, Helen, must stand up to the proud hooligan, Roy Randall. I mean, who else is going to defend those elderly ladies? Along the way, James learns about love, true friendship, and the need to get better at hiding his deadly knives.

Director & Editor: Guillaume Arnoulet

For Thom

An isolated teenage girl suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression tries to reconnect with her best friend Milly in an attempt to fix her fragile mental state.

Director: Rafa Yam

Editor: Guillaume Arnoulet

Feature Film

Real Cowboy

A fresh new comedy! Jimmy wants to be a Real Cowboy, but there is so much to learn, staying on your feet and well, staying alive for a start!

Director: Kevin R. Luck


In addition to screening in their respective programmes, both Minimally Invasive and Proud Hooligan are featuring in the festival’s Short Film Showcase. These films represent the best of the shorts programmes and are finalists for the Best Short award this year.

Congratulations to everyone selected!

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



The team behind Hobson’s Choice,  a short film about nepotism, is seeking support for their Boosted crowdfunding campaign which closes soon.

Written and directed by Daniel Robinson and produced by DEGANZ member Emmy Hucker, Hobson’s Choice follows Nikki Hobson, a top casting director, who must decide between a promising young actor or her niece, for a career catapulting role. She must choose between ruining family ties or allowing favouritism to erase equal opportunity.

With less than a week left on the Boosted campaign, the team is hoping to reach their stretch goal of $3000, which will go towards post-production.

You can donate here.

Good luck to Emmy and the team!

In some ways, the story of how I got into the screen industry really shows my age.

While I’ve wanted to be involved in the film and TV world since age 14, when I snuck into a screening of Oliver Stone’s hyper-violent Natural Born Killers and subsequently had my mind blown by what I was seeing and feeling, I had never taken the plunge into the business due to…well let’s call it cultural pressure from family and community to not engage in ‘lowly’ arts industries. Indians become doctors, lawyers, accountants, not filmmakers. And despite the fact that I had had a decent break in the acting industry by age 21 when I got to play a featured villain on Xena: Warrior Princess, New Zealand’s acting scene in the 1990’s meant that roles for Indians were practically non-existent outside playing dairy-shop owners. Even theater was out of the question; these were still the days where even stage work was cast for largely around skin-tone ‘authenticity’.

Director Rajneel Singh on the Xena: Warrior Princess set / Photos: Supplied

I had given up by age 22, armed myself with a degree in Psychology (no, parents were not impressed by that) and decided to slug it out in the world of corporate IT. I did, however, keep up my hobbies and one of them was an interest in Chinese martial arts. My particular Kung Fu school, by sheer coincidence, had a flock of students who were junior stunt people and word got around the class that I had access to my father’s video camera and some editing software. So when you’ve got day-job money and free weekends, what does a frustrated creative person and a bunch of young stuntmen get up to? Zero budget, shot-on-handycam, Kung Fu shorts.

One year later, the shorts had become increasingly more polished, the filmmaker skills had started to emerge and the world was in the middle of Matrix-mania as the sequels to The Matrix were just around the corner. It’s the early 2000’s, so of course we all had the same dumb idea at the same time: we know Kung Fu. Let’s make a Matrix fan-film! Our most ambitious project to date, shot for a gigantic budget of $900 NZD over nine freezing cold winter nights, The Fanimatrix: Run Program was a 13 minute action extravaganza that we released online in 2003.

The film, hosted secretly on a server at Internet provider iHUG, became such a viral phenomenon that it caused bandwidth problems for the company and was downloaded over 3 million times in the buildup to the release of the actual Matrix sequels. It became the most widely seen short film in New Zealand history prior to the birth of YouTube and is still being distributed today as the world’s oldest, still running, torrent file.

That’s when the filmmaking bug sank its fangs and released its brain-altering poison into my bloodstream. I had to be a filmmaker.

I had to be a director.

I was fortunate enough, at the time, to have a fellow hobbyist filmmaker confront me and basically dared me to put up or shut up. He said he would subsidise my income for six months if I quit my nice, comfy, corporate IT job and pursued filmmaking full-time. Specifically a job I had stumbled upon – from the popularity of The Fanimatrix – as a behind-the-scenes camera-operator on the Back of the Y feature film called The Devil Dared Me To. Terrified, but knowing it was now or never, I took the plunge into the film industry at the very late age of 26. Yes, still lying to my parents the whole time and insisting I was working in the IT world.

Director Rajneel Singh on set / Photo: Supplied

Working on that film and seeing the process gave me the confidence to chase the idea of doing something more legitimate and I had come across a short story – a parody of Reservoir Dogs – about fairytales that I had really wanted to make. Before the age of Kickstarter, myself and my producer friends went to every single person we knew and crowdfunded $13K NZD to produce a short film that became known as Big Bad Wolves. Shot on video, but with very high-end production values for the time and budget, one of the actors in the film was a producer at a post-production company and offered me a job as a junior offline editor. My first paying gig and a job that I did for over 4 years at his post facility while dabbling in directing TVCs, music videos, short films and filling out hundreds upon hundreds of funding applications.

Forbidden by family and culture, corrupted by youthful Kung Fu shenanigans, elevated by a Matrix fan-film and a Quentin Tarantino parody, there really are no two identical paths into this business nor really any identical paths to success.

That’s my story.

Oh yeah. One more thing. Years later I found out from Barrie Osborne that the Wachowskis absolutely loved The Fanimatrix and that it’s their all-time favourite fan-film.

This business is weird, man.


About Rajneel Singh

Rajneel made his directing debut with 2003 fan short The Fanimatrix: Run Program, which was downloaded millions of times in the age before YouTube. He followed it with Reservoir Dogs meets fairytale Big Bad Wolves. In 2010 his film Blank Spaces was one of five short films chosen for a Tourism NZ ‘Your Big Break’ competition. Rajneel is also part of directing duo The Unkindness.

How I Got Started in the Industry is a guest blog series from the Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand (DEGANZ). Our members reflect on how they made their way into assistant editing, editing, and directing—with no two stories the same. They offer advice for those starting out.

DEGANZ member Jake Tabata’s Boosted campaign for horror, queer web series The Creature closes on 26 August! The project is in the final stretch, currently sitting at 73% of its total goal of $9,000.

This project is Jake’s first excursion into directing. Since completing his BA studying Screen Production and Drama at the University of Auckland in 2020, Jake has worked on numerous plays and short films. He is also a committee member of Equity New Zealand’s Inclusion Committee.

Jake is thrilled to bring The Creature to life as an opportunity to share a deeply personal story that authentically represents the queer and East Asian communities. The script’s inspiration grew from him wanting to process and explore his own dating and relationship anxiety. He hopes this story resonates with and helps those in the throws of online dating realise they are not alone.

Additionally, Jake is particularly excited to work with such a diverse group of industry newbies as most of the team are emerging queer and BIPOC creatives. The production’s kaupapa focuses on authentically telling queer stories, upskilling young creatives, and ensuring accessibility to the finished project. Jake and the creative team want young queer people to feel seen, heard, and validated through this story.

If you would like to support this project and team, visit their Boosted page or follow them on Instagram or Facebook.