Tag Archive for: Peter Jackson

Congratulations to DEGANZ member Sir Peter Jackson on his documentary series The Beatles: Get Back winning big at the 2022 Creative Arts Emmys.

The Disney+ production collected all five awards from its five nominations – Outstanding Documentary or Non Fiction Series, Outstanding Picture Editing (editor Jabez Olssen), Outstanding Directing, Outstanding Sound Mixing, and Outstanding Sound Editing.

Get Back takes audiences on an exclusive look into the dynamics of the iconic music group in their final year as a band. It features nearly 8 hours of fantastically restored never-before-seen or heard footage and audio completed by Park Road Post Production in Wellington. Peter, the only person in 50 years granted access to the film archives, directed the epic documentary to showcase the camaraderie and musical ingenuity that still defines the band’s legacy to this day. It’s a must-see for any fans of the band!

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Undoubtedly obvious to many of you who read this column regularly, but for those who don’t, I’ll point out that I monitor the happenings in the screen industry in Australia as one possible bellwether for New Zealand’s screen sector.

A trend there that has become blindingly clear from doing so is the incredible volume of commissioning going on in Australia by streamers. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been replicated in New Zealand.

So it was with interest that I read the story by screen ‘rag’ if.com.au about veteran screen journalist Sandy George’s Paper on the need for cultural value and Australianness to be the primary driver of screen funding for film and drama.

From the article:

George argues if there is nothing recognisably Australian on the screen, it carries little cultural value. It is ‘Australianness’ that excites local viewers, and cultural value is the main reason why taxpayer funding underpins drama production.”

From George’s paper:

“It’s time to be very clear that Screen Australia is there for culture.”

“Depending on economics to deliver cultural value is arse about.”

One underlying reason for George’s issue-raising is the homogenising of ‘Australian content’ due to the foreign money, projects and commissioning flowing into the country—its Australian distinctiveness is being lost.

Another is the convenient obfuscation that lumps foreign production in Australia together with Australian production, and calling it all Australian production. This makes it look like the screen industry there is rosier than it actually is.

At a time when Nude Tuesday, Whina, the soon to be released Muru, Good Grief and Creamerie amongst others are putting a distinctive Aotearoa NZ stamp onto screen content, you’d think we wouldn’t have to worry about loss of our identity.

But then, we haven’t been getting the volumes of international projects and commissioning that our cuzzies across the Tassie have.

However, George’s statement that Screen Australia is there for culture is very pertinent for us. Some argue that the New Zealand Film Commission and the Government have been gradually losing their ways on this front, including depending on economics to deliver cultural value when it comes to screen. The Screen Sector Investment Review, now underway, which is focused very particularly on the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZ’s version of the Aussie Producer Offset) and whether or not it’s delivering for New Zealand and our creatives, is therefore very timely.

Another point George makes is how exceptional cultural value in projects delivers exceptional Australian talents, the likes of Baz Luhrmann and George Miller, who then go on to deliver exceptional economic value. In our case, the likes of Peter Jackson, Jane Campion and Taika Waititi. She questions what and how screen talent development is conducted and focused to ensure these kinds of people come along—something we ourselves could give more attention to.

The article here and George’s paper here make interesting reading. And food for thought about how we could be doing things better from here on in.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Glowing reviews have poured in for The Beatles: Get Back, the new docuseries from director Peter Jackson (DEGANZ). Described by some reviewers as a documentary epic, Get Back clocks in at almost eight hours in length. Yet, it’s been described as an “addictive” and “immersive” experience.

Jackson has assembled this three-part documentary entirely from never-before-seen footage of the Beatles from 1969, restored at Park Road Post Production and supported by the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

The Beatles: Get Back streams exclusively on Disney+.

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In the late oughts, filmmaker Peter Jackson before he became ‘Sir’, and Australian film academic David Court, were asked to do a review of the New Zealand Film Commission. They delivered their report to then Minister or Arts, Culture and Heritage, Chris Finlayson. It’s 87 pages long and makes good reading. You’ll find it here.

With the arrival of the new NZFC CEO David Strong on 12 July, it’s a good time for us all to look back before he sets the direction to take the organisation forward, so I decided to pull the report out and go over it again.

The Jackson-Court Report was commissioned at a time when there was a lot of criticism about the way that the NZFC operated; very similar to the environment the organisation finds itself in today. In the opening pages of the report, the two highlight a few key areas of concern about the NZFC, with accompanying commentary. Some would say not a lot has changed:

People described an organisation out of sync with the industry it serves.
‘There’s almost an us and them attitude. It’s death to creativity.’

There is a feeling that increased creative interference results in less successful films.
‘Creative interference has expanded until now it resembles micro-management.’

A number of people described the Commission as operating like a Hollywood studio but without the accountability of a studio – ‘without anyone having their job on the line’, as one producer put it.
The staff should be empowered and accountable.

Many people felt the Commission was trying to do too much.
There was a sense that too many resources were being diverted away from the core functions and from the films that most merited the Commission’s support.

‘It would be great if people felt they could approach the Film Commission and say, ‘I’m not fitting into a box’, without there being all these schemes. I don’t want to be in a box.’
‘We need a model at the Commission that’s very open, very flexible, rather than narrow and controlling.’

‘They’re so used to being badgered, that there’s a culture of not believing, of skepticism.’

And badgered the Film Commission is; by almost everyone who gets a ‘No’, and those who think they know better.

It’s easy to bag the Film Commish and we all do it, because they commission and editorialise as well as fund, unlike NZ On Air who has the broadcaster doing a good chunk of the dirty work for them.

Writing on the impending review at the time, journalist Gordon Campbell called out industry critics in a post on his Werewolf blog:

Sure, by all means, the NZFC should listen to the existing players in the industry. But let’s hope that the review will treat some of the existing film-makers as being part of the problem, as well as being part of the solution. Because it is not only the bureaucrats who need shaking up.

How much has changed and how much has remained the same since Jackson and Court reviewed the NZFC would be a good place for David Strong to start when he takes up the job. The Report had a lot of sound advice and proposed a paradigm change that put filmmaking talent front and centre—and by this I mean writers – directors—describing an approach that was nurturing, not hindering—Exactly the role NZFC should play as we navigate an uncertain future for New Zealand film in the global market of today.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director