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Shows Rūrangi, Educators and Homebound 3.0 promise entertainment and comic relief for Kiwis with funding from NZ On Air.

Rūrangi

The award-winning Rūrangi has been greenlit for a second season (5 x 22 mins) with recent funding from NZ On Air. DEGANZ member Max Currie directed and co-produced the first season, which tells the story of a transgender activist who returns home to the remote, politically divided dairy community of Rūrangi in hopes of reconnecting with his estranged father.

Season 2 will screen on Prime and Māori Television. Hulu picked up the first season for distribution in the US, among other international sales to Australia, the UK and France.

Rūrangi is a finalist in the 2021 New Zealand Television Awards for NZ On Air Best Drama Series.

The series was also cut into a feature film that screened at NZIFF in 2020 and the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, winning an Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. The film recently took home the award for Best International Feature at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Educators

Returning for a third season is the hit improvised comedy show, Educators. Set in a secondary school, the show centres around the dysfunctional teachers in charge of educating the next generation.

Entirely unscripted and featuring some of New Zealand’s top comedians, Educators is directed by Jesse Griffin (DEGANZ) who also co-writes the storylines. Recently, we hosted an online talk with Jesse and Educators editor Stuart Boone, delving into their process of writing, directing and editing the series. The talk was recorded for the DEGANZ podcast so if you missed it, you can catch it online or wherever you get your podcasts!

Homebound 3.0

DEGANZ 2021 Incubator alumna Hweiling Ow is part of the team behind new comedy Homebound 3.0, written by writer/actor Sam Wang. The project won the South Pacific Pictures Big Pitch at the 2019 SPADA Conference and will now become an exciting reality produced by Kevin and Co for Three.

The half-hour comedy revolves around a struggling 30-something unpublished writer forced to move back home and deal with the disappointment of his Chinese parents.

Read more on NZOA’s funding decisions

Well done to our member Becky Kuek, who has just been announced as a recipient of the very first Every Voice initiative, run by NZ On Air, Screen Australia, and Tik Tok. Becky has received funding for her 10-part scripted comedy series Long x Xia, which she will be co-writing and co-directing alongside Gwen Lin.

Long x Xia follows Ruby and CJ (a.k.a Long and Xia), two cousins who find themselves embracing the vigilante life after hijacking a live lobster from a Chinese restaurant.

Every Voice is aimed at supporting “diverse and distinct creators” to create innovative content exclusively for the platform TikTok. Four teams from New Zealand have been chosen and three from Australia. Each team receives up to AUD $50,000 to cover development and production costs for their projects. In addition to this funding, recipients like Becky will participate in virtual workshops to develop their storytelling skills, and learn how to create the best content for TikTok.

Amie Mills, Head of Funding for NZ On Air says they are “thrilled to support each of the talented emerging creative teams to tell their unique stories, in their own voices, in authentic and exciting new ways.”

Lee Naimo, Screen Australia’s Head of Online, sees exciting potential in supporting the development of these projects; “These distinct scripted and documentary series all reflect one of the greatest strengths of TikTok – that it is a platform for creators to connect with audiences and build their online communities.”

The NZFC have announced that 19 successful projects will receive funding as part of Ara ki Te Puna Kairangi – The Premium Development Fund, with a total of 1.5 million offered. The successful projects represent a broad array of ideas with the potential to engage both local and international audiences, and includes projects by our very own DEGNZ members.

Hannah Marshall will go ahead with another season of drama series Alibi with her production company Plus6Four Entertainment Limited.

Roseanne Liang, Ally Xue, JJ Fong and Perlina Lau, alongside Creamerie Ltd, have received funding for a second season of the post-apocalyptic black comedy Creamerie.

Max Currie with Autonomouse Limited, has received funding for another season of Rūrangi, a queer and trans-positive drama.

Congratulations to all our members. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.

Congrats to members Julie Zhu with Takeout Kids, Incubator alumna Michelle Ang and Ghazaleh Golbakhsh with Hair Now and Julia Parnell with The Hustle for their projects being selected for the March 2021 Pan Asian Projects Fund. For this fund, NZ On Air invested $1.7m into six documentary projects that speak to the diversity of experience of Pan-Asian people in Aotearoa.

Uhz & Hexwork Productions teamed up with The Spinoff and received up to $259,974 for a four part observational documentary series, Takeout Kids, that follows the joys and challenges of children growing up in the back of takeaway restaurants run by their immigrant parents.

A Grain of Rice Productions received up to $107,932 for short series, Hair Now, set to release via the Spinoff. In Hair Now, six women of different ages, ethnicities, languages, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds examine their complex relationship with their hair.

Notable Pictures received up to $368,633 plus a platform contribution from THREE of $96,000 for entrepreneurial based series The Hustle. The series focuses on the lives of Pan-Asian entrepreneurs and seeks to find out how they are pushing the boundaries of the world stage.

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Congratulations to Mia Maramara (writer-director) and Hweiling Ow (writer-producer) who received funding from the NZ On Air and Te Mangai Paho co-fund initiative. Their episode titled, Albularyo: The Witch Doctor, is one of six in a new TVNZ anthology series, which sets to explore supernatural stories of Māori, Pasifika, and Filipino cultures. Each episode will be 22 minutes.

Albularyo: The Witch Doctor:

When a Kiwi-Filipino doctor discovers that her deceased grandmother has become a manananggal, a corrupted witch, she must face up to her troubled youth and make peace with her estranged brother before they both suffer the bloody consequences.

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