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.
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.
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.
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.