Tag Archive for: feature documentary

Congratulations, Harry Wynn (DEGANZ), for winning the Screen Production and Development Association’s (SPADA) 2023 New Filmmaker of the Year Award! SPADA grants this award to honour excellence, talent, and creativity in filmmaking.

Along with the accolade, Harry received $2,500 of development funding and a complimentary registration to next year’s SPADA Conference.

Harry has made a name for himself in the documentary space over the past few years. In 2022, he released Shred, a short about a teenage bodybuilder who takes drastic measures in pursuit of winning his first bodybuilding competition. In the same year, he produced What’s the Disibili-tea, a docu-series profiling young queer people living with disabilities in Aotearoa, directed by DEGANZ board member Justin Scott. His other titles include Young & Hooked on Chemsex, released on TVNZ+, and Three Ticks for Chlöe for the Spinoff.

Harry is currently developing his first feature-length doco with funding from Screen Australia. He also has been selected for the next round of Script to Screen’s development and mentorship programme, FilmUp.

Harry is in good company as fellow member Mia Maramara won the same award for 2021, which she was awarded at the 2022 conference last year.

Vanessa Wells (DEGANZ) and The Climate Canary team are in the final stretch of post-production and are crowdfunding to help cross the finish line.

The 90-minute documentary highlights three remarkable women from differing generations and their scientific work in Antarctica. Oceanographer Dr Natalie Robinson leads a team of ten scientists on an epic world-first research trip to McMurdo Sound. Jacqui Stuart, a biologist and self-confessed algae geek, is on her first trip to Antarctica. Meanwhile, Emeritus Professor Patricia Langhorne mentors them both from Aotearoa after more than 25 deployments to the Poles. The film asks if meaningful social change is possible and how these women tenaciously hold onto hope. For scientists on the frontline of climate change, their surprisingly refreshing attitudes are raw and heartening.

Vanessa, as director and producer, pitched the film at the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) in the Central Showcase earlier this year, garnering interest from distributors, agents, and broadcasters.

Now, the team is adding the finishing touches, with its $10,000 stretch goal going directly to animation costs. To make the film’s complex science more accessible, the team is utilising animation to convey it in delightful and comprehensive ways.

Director and producer Vanessa says,

With NZ making some difficult u-turns in the environmental space right now, this documentary feels even more important to finish as soon as possible!

They hope to release the film in 2024.

Find out more about The Climate Canary on the Boosted page HERE!

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, Wednesday 31 January 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 what your career goals are 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.

After premiering at Whānau Mārama NZIFF this year, Ms. Information, directed by Gwen Isaac (DEGANZ), is now playing in cinemas nationwide.

The feature documentary is a visceral and intimate look into the life of the polarising, pink-haired microbiologist, Siouxsie Wiles, during her two years of public appearances around COVID-19. In March 2020, Gwen found herself in Siouxsie’s house as she stepped into the public eye and spoke out about the impending pandemic. What followed is the story of a mother and scientist who became a celebrity during extraordinary times.

The film has an all-woman team behind it, rare especially in the documentary space. Gwen shared with DEGANZ how important it is for her to support women in creative leadership positions in Aotearoa. She said:

So many of our New Zealand stories are totally cinematic and I hope that there are women directors coming up through the ranks – and being given opportunities –  to develop the skillsets to ensure our taonga are seen on the big screen. I did a lot of the filming for Ms. Information on my own […]. Sometimes the situation required crew and I did my utmost to find women soundies and DP’s to help engender the vibe I was going for, ideal for a film with a feminist Kaupapa.

You can check if Ms. Information is coming to a theatre near you here.