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At the end of 2021 the Government announced a review of government investment in the screen sector. The review will be led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. There is a document outlining the terms of reference for the review here.

This review is one part of a strategic review of the New Zealand screen industry, primarily focused on the New Zealand Film Commission’s direction and activity, including the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) for both domestic and international productions. However, NZ On Air’s direction and activity obviously falls into this because of the changing nature of the shifts occurring worldwide, as well as the fact that some NZ On Air funded productions utilise the NZSPG.

Our screen industry falls into two camps: domestic production, and international production (and post-production) that takes place here.

International production as we all know provides wonderful opportunities for New Zealand crew, and brings foreign investment to New Zealand. From DEGANZ’s perspective, what it does not do is bring great opportunity for New Zealand directors and editors. Only a very select few Kiwis get to direct, and sometimes edit on these international productions, being the international drama or sometimes documentary series shot here.

While we continue to push for more Kiwi directors and editors to work on these international shows, our main focus has got be on what we can do with domestic production to tell our stories here and internationally, and employ our directors and editors—and our actors, writers, producer and crews—so that they all can have thriving and sustainable careers.

Over the next three months, MBIE and MCH will be conducting a wide consultation with the NZ public and those who make up the NZ screen sector as part of the review. DEGANZ is now formulating its thoughts to bring to MBIE and MCH.

But there is an opportunity for each of our DEGANZ members to share their own thoughts in the consultation process.

When the call comes for submissions, we will inform you. Your voice counts and we want as many of you as possible to have your voices heard. This is a really opportunity for us all to have some influence on the future direction of NZ screen.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

The six successful teams selected to take part in PASC and NZOA’s Episode One Web Series Programme have been announced. DEGANZ members Nahyeon Lee and Bala Murali Shingade are among them with two exciting projects.

Episode One is a PASC initiative that aims to develop more screen content by Pan-Asian New Zealanders. The programme supports six teams to take their projects from a pitch to a produced pilot.

ASIAN 8 – Outraged by the racism at her posh private girls’ school, an ambitious Year 12 student rallies fellow Asian students to support her bid for Head Girl, in exchange for finding them dates to the ball.

Team members: Nahyeon Lee, Vhari Lennox and Sarina Pearson

BOOM SHANKAR – When an overconfident bomb defusal officer and an anxious dairy owner end up dead after a failed bomb defusal, they must work together to navigate the bureaucratic Afterlife for one last chance at redemption.

Team members: Bala Murali Shingade, Aman Bajaj, Gayatri Adi and Porvi Fomra

Congratulations to Nahyeon and Bala!

Our congrats goes to Tom Augustine (DEGANZ) who is one of five recipients selected to take part in the 2022 Tāhuna Writers Residency. The residency was created by Great Southern Television and the Queenstown Lakes District Council, with the support of the NZFC and NZOA.

The one month residency will include workshops with leading screen practitioners, accommodation and coverage of living costs. The writers will each develop a concept for a scripted drama series to be based and produced in the Queenstown Lakes.

Philip Smith, CEO of Great Southern Television, states how thrilled they are by the calibre and range of participants in their inaugural workshop. They are eager to take these writers on the journey and provide them with the resources and the insights to make their creative visions reality.

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

Our congratulations goes out to the team of Being Chlöe, which has received production funding through NZ On Air! The 90-minute documentary will be directed by member Charlotte Evans (DEGANZ Incubator 2020), produced by Letisha Tate-Dunning (DEGANZ) with executive producers Mark McNeill (DEGANZ) and Philippa Campbell. The film will be edited by Simon Coldrick.

Set to appear on Three after the next election, Being Chlöe will explore the political and personal life of Chlöe Swarbrick, currently New Zealand’s youngest MP. The project was earlier on granted NZ Film Commission script development funding.

In the meantime, audiences can watch OK Chlöe, a 9-minute film made by Charlotte and Letisha through Loading Docs, for a taster of the documentary to come.