Tag Archive for: Emerging Women FIlmmakers Incubator

We are excited to announce the six participants for the 2024 Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator.

This marks the eighth annual Incubator, DEGANZ’s year-long programme, designed to help talented emerging women directors accelerate their careers and selected projects. Across five day-long workshops, participants will engage with highly experienced industry professionals, feedback on their projects, career advice, networking opportunities, and mini-workshops on specific topics.

Speakers in the Incubator are drawn from the best screen-making talent in New Zealand and Australia and sometimes further afield, funding agencies, and others with pertinent knowledge and experience to share.


Blandine Massiet du Biest

Blandine was born in France and studied literature, film studies, and art history in Paris. Eighteen years ago, she moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband. While working as an editing assistant for New Zealand and American dramas and series, she created short and medium-length documentaries, as well as short videos about digital artists for Digital Art Live. Over the past four years, Blandine has worked on a feature documentary about the expatriate New Zealand artist Frances Hodgkins. The film was selected for Doc Edge 2023, and Blandine was awarded Best Emerging NZ Filmmaker.


Miryam Jacobi

Miryam is a director, producer and writer based in Kirikiriroa/Hamilton. She trained as an actor at Toi Whakaari; NZ Drama School, graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Performing Arts. Miryam has produced and directed commercial content for the likes of WellingtonNZ, Sir John Kirwan Foundation, Fonterra, Look Good Feel Better and Auckland Theatre Company, alongside producing music videos for artists such as Diggy Dupé, Israel Starr and Dick Move. Miryam has shown work at international film festivals such as Show Me Shorts, Galway Film Fleadh, Vail Film Festival and Melbourne Women in Film Festival. Other highlights of her filmmaking career to date include second unit directing on Amazon’s feature Don’t Make Me Go and creating the highly-acclaimed NZ On Air funded documentary Disorder.


Jo Luping

Jo has been working in the creative industry for the past 20 years in film, television and design. She has worked on a diverse range of projects including directing two magazine lifestyle series (26 Episodes), a documentary titled Reframe for television broadcast and creating animation for live action short Huminodun. Her film Don’t Eat The Rice was selected to be pitched as part of the Frontieres Co-Production 2020. She has created impactful environmental films for UNICEF for the past three years. She is currently the animation director on Classics Explained a UK web series (15 Episodes). Jo’s feature animation Anavau and the Legend of Nunuk Ragang has been selected to be presented at the MIFA project market at the prestigious Annecy Animation Film Festival in France 2024. Proudly a mix of Kadazan and New Zealand Pākehā ancestry, her dream is to combine the indigenous stories she grew up with together with contemporary New Zealand.


Nicole Whippy (NZ/ Mavana, Vanua Balavu, Lau, Fiji / Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji / New Caledonia)

Nicole was born in Suva, Fiji and raised in New Zealand. She directed and co-wrote the Fijian vignette which opened the feature film Vai. She holds a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts and is well known for her work as a Theatre and Screen Actor. Nicole is the Founder and Acting Coach at Point Chevalier Drama Club, Acting School for Youth. She has worked as a Role Model for Duffy Books in Schools, bringing her joy of reading and performing to children in low-decile schools. She directed and acted in Seasons 1 and 2 of  The Feijoa Club a children’s series for the TVNZ/NZOA ‘Hei Hei’ platform.


Siobhan Marshall

Siobhan’s directorial debut, Manny and Quinn (2022), a short film shot during Covid, was selected as one of ‘New Zealand’s Best’ at the NZ  International Film Festival. It was also an official selection at various festivals including LA Shorts; Show Me Shorts (NZ), the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival. Siobhan has written and produced the animated series, Slow Pete, for TVNZ on Demand, based on her own IVF journey, served as co-writer on The Lonely Hearts Motel for TV3 and Darryl, A Beach to Snow Story for TVNZ, and is currently a writer for South Pacific Pictures. Siobhan spent the last two decades working as an actress and is perhaps best known for her role as Pascalle in all six seasons of the TV drama series Outrageous Fortune. She has been nominated for three best supporting actress awards and one best actress award.


Maza White

Maza is an Iranian-born writer and director whose directorial portfolio includes numerous short films and a web series. Her latest NZFC-funded film, Daughter of God, was recognized as a finalist in the ‘2023 New Zealand’s Best’ category at the NZIFF. Additionally, it won the Best Script award at 2023 Show Me Shorts festival. Having recently completed a Master of Creative Writing with First Class Honours from AUT, Maza is actively engaged in various writing projects, collaborating with other seasoned professionals. She is also participating in the FilmUp 2024 mentorship programme by Script to Screen, dedicated to refining and directing her feature film, Ruptured. Maza’s writing and directorial voice reflect her deep understanding of human psychology, informed by her multicultural background and global perspective. Through her intricately woven narratives, she aspires to captivate audiences worldwide with the depth of human experiences and emotions.


The Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator is made possible with the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

The Melbourne Women in Film Festival (MWFF) recognises Incubator alumni Mary-Lyn Chambers (2022) and Ella Gilbert (Rongowhakaata/Ngāti Kahungunu) (2023) at this year’s festival. Each year, MWFF celebrates women’s stories on screen by facilitating the participation of women and gender-diverse creatives and audiences.

Mary-Lyn’s Karanga is one of two films to open the festival. The 17-minute short is a dance and spoken word exploration of the intersectionality of descendants of both Māori and Pākehā. It centres on the late Tiahuia Te Puea Hērangi Ramahana Gray (Ngāi Tahu, Rangitāne, Tainui), well-known for her extensive public service in Wellington. Her daughter, Merenia Gray, choreographed the piece. The work is a love letter to Tiahuia and a tribute to all mothers. Mary-Lyn and Merenia will both be in attendance at the festival’s opening night.

Mary Mary, written and directed by Ella, will screen in the Freshly Squeezed Shorts 1 programme. Set in 1963 Aotearoa, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy forces 18-year-old Mary to take things into her own hands, at great personal risk. The short was funded and made through the 2022 Someday Stories initiative (now called Day One Shorts).

See the festival’s full programme here.

Congratulations to DEGANZ member and 2018 Incubator Alum Agnes Peel-McGregor for being one of 11 finalists for the inaugural Empowering Women Script Competition by Stage 32, in collaboration with Catalyst Studios.

This is a first-of-its-kind screenwriting contest for feature films with a focus on social impact by women and non-binary writers. The winner will receive USD $5,000 for their script and is eligible for up to USD $3 million in funding from Catalyst for production. The Catalyst team will also work with the winning writer on development, while Studio 32 will provide educational support for the script’s development.

After receiving submissions from around the world, the industry training platform and US-based production company announced the shortlist during this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Agnes made it to the final of the highly competitive contest with her script Storm:

A troubled physical therapist moves from Poland to San Francisco for a fresh start but discovers a mysterious girl from the orphanage next door is following her, unveiling secrets of her own hazy past.

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

Script to Screen announced the 2024/23 FilmUp participants, with five of the eight being DEGANZ members. Writer/directors Pulkit Arora, Ella Gilbert (Incubator 2023), Maza White, and Harry Wynn, with 2019 Incubator alum Anna Rose Duckworth, will partake in the six-month professional development and mentorship programme.

FilmUp aims to aid filmmakers in taking the next step in their careers. Through the programme, participants are paired with an industry mentor to receive support for their feature film projects, currently in development. They will also attend three FilmUp Hubs, which include round tables, group workshops, and guest speakers.

Check out the DEGANZ members’ projects and bios below, or see the complete list of participants here.

Pulkit Arora

Soft – Feature Film

Ella Gilbert (Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kaipoho, Ngāti Kahungunu)

The Desert Road – Feature Film

Ella is an actor, acting coach, and filmmaker from Pukerua Bay. She is committed to making movies that centre on women and celebrate everyday people in Aotearoa. Ella discovered the joys of creating her own work whilst studying at Toi Whakaari. This year, she was selected for DEGANZ’s Emerging Women Directors Incubator and the Write Room Wellington, through which she completed draft one of her debut feature screenplay, The Desert Road. She was also the Director’s Attachment for Rob Sarkie on his feature film, PIKE. In 2022, her short film Mary Mary (funded by Someday Stories) was selected for the Clermont-Ferrand Festival (Short Film Market Picks 2023) and The Sydney Women’s International Film Festival. Her previous films, made on Super8mm, have screened and successfully competed in London, Portugal, Mumbai and Aotearoa.

Maza White

Ruptured – Feature Film

Maza is a writer and director with a rich multicultural perspective, weaving impactful storytelling into diverse narratives. Whether through comedy or drama, Maza draws from her personal experiences to shed light on poignant issues, focusing on those affecting women of colour. Originally from Iran, she earned First Class Honours for her Master’s in Creative Writing from AUT. Her NZFC-funded short film Daughter of God recently secured the Best Screenplay award at the Show Me Shorts Festival and was selected as one of six for NZIFF’s New Zealand’s Best. Currently managing a full writing slate alongside her commissioned TV writing contracts, she is deeply immersed in the development of multiple feature films and TV series across different genres, with the aim of directing some of these projects.

Harry Wynn

Zyzz (Working Title) – Feature Documentary

Harry is a filmmaker from Tāmaki Makaurau. His filmmaking journey began with the documentary Three Ticks Chlöe, produced by The Spinoff and Wrestler, about ChlöeSwarbrick’ss campaign for Auckland Central and the Cannabis Referendum. Young & Hooked on Chemsex, his second documentary, shed light on Auckland’s hidden world of methamphetamine-driven ” party and play’’ scenes. His third documentary, Shred, explored the teen bodybuilding community and the growing issue of ‘bigorexia’’ illuminating a global trend fuelled by platforms such as TikTok. Additionally, TVNZ has picked up Harry’s original concept docu-series, We’ve Always Been Here, which highlights Aotearoa’s queer history through comedy. He is currently developing a feature-length documentary focused on the world-famous bodybuilder and social media star Zyzz, with the support of development funding from Screen Australia.

Anna Rose Duckworth

Put a Baby in Me – Feature Film

Anna has worked in film and television for a decade, both in NYC and Auckland. She adds a distinctly Kiwi sense of humour and explores taboo or challenging themes. Anna has written and directed several short films, including NZFC-funded Pain – screened as part of 2020NZIFF’ssNZ’ss Best Programme, and has gone on to be selected at over 30 international festivals. Anna has also written and directed several self-funded short films: Full V (2021), selected for the Aesthetica Film Festival, and Mum Jeans, which screened at NZIFF 2018. Directing the comedy web series Psusy S2, she won the Best Episodic Jury Prize at the 2018 LA Film Festival. Off the back ofPsusy’ss success, she wrote and directed TVNZ-funded comedy web series Butt Dial. Recent highlights include being awarded an NZWG Seed Grant to develop the feature Put a Baby in Me about queer motherhood and winning the People’s Choice Award for her rom-com short Just Kidding I Actually Love You at Show Me Shorts 2023.