Tag Archive for: series

While we wait for season 2 of Down for Love, season 1 of the wholesome reality series, produced by DEGANZ board president Robyn Paterson, caught the eye of Netflix and is now internationally available on the streaming service!

As described in the show’s logline, the “heartwarming quest for love […] follows several people with Down Syndrome as they navigate the trials and triumphs of dating.” The show takes you along on a series of dates between the singletons as they search for their right match.

While adhering to the match-making reality TV genre, the series is uniquely personal to the participants due to the production’s dedication to thorough research of what each person was looking for in a partner, what sort of date activities they’d enjoy, and their plans for the future. In an interview with The Spinoff in 2022, Robyn shared that the show’s match-making strategy was based on pairing people with similar lifestyles and interests, not what would create the most drama. She commented,

[A]t the very least, if there wasn’t a romantic connection they would get a really solid friendship.

In the same interview, Robyn shared how the entire production had an extended duty of care, from comfortable scheduling for the participants to having disability-specific counsellors available. She also explained that allowing the participants control over their own stories was crucial. She said,

We really wanted people to stay in the driver’s seat of their own stories. Especially with intellectual disabilities, because people aren’t often afforded the right to tell their own stories.

Audiences were perceptive to the production’s care for the participants, causing the show to amass a strong following of viewers from its debut season.

Congrats to Robyn and the team! It’s great to see a Kiwi show earn its spot on such a popular international streaming service.

Kiwi audiences can watch season 1 of Down for Love on TVNZ+, while the rest of the world can catch it on Netflix.

Jaya Beach-Robertson, DEGANZ member and current Incubator participant, has made the cut for Script to Screen’s Series Bootcamp 2023. She is credited as a co-writer with Roo Reihana-Wilson on the drama/comedy entitled Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead.

Series Bootcamp aims to nurture emerging and mid-career writers and producers, selecting six teams to undergo a three-stage development process. The teams will forge pitch decks and scripts, starting with an intensive two-day workshop with guest speakers and advisor sessions. They will receive feedback from a script developer on the quality, originality, and viability of their concept and pilot episode before the final pitching day to industry professionals. They also have the opportunity to pitch in front of commissioners who could help bring their ideas to life.

While not much is available about the projects, Jaya’s protagonists are often outsiders, othered, flawed, and land somewhere from unusual to outright strange. Her previous series work includes her self-funded web series, PSUSY, and RNZ’s TAHI Point of View. We are excited to see how her voice and perspective are reflected in this project.

Best of luck to Jaya and the team for Bootcamp!

Documentary filmmaker Kim Webby (DEGANZ) explores untold stories through TVNZ’s new show Passengers.

The docuseries takes viewers back in time through the hardships and triumphs of some of Aotearoa’s earliest Anglo-Indian, Cook Island, Chinese, and Bohemian settlers.

Each episode uncovers the backstories of four immigrants, examining their lives before and after their arrival in Aotearoa. Descendants of the immigrants, who often undergo emotional journeys as the stories unfold, are an integral part of the show.

Passengers take’s its name from beginning each story with the passenger list from the boat that brought them to New Zealand.

Kim brings her own unique view to the stories in Passengers, being born in New Zealand and raised in te ao Pākeha and te ao Māori, with half Chinese whakapapa.

Congrats Kim on getting another great series to air!

You can watch episode 1 on TVNZ+ now.

Queer series Rūrangi, directed by Max Currie (DEGANZ), is returning for a second season as Aotearoa celebrates Pride Month! The new season, titled Rūrangi: Rising Light, follows after a highly successful series debut and winning the 2022 International Emmy for best short-form series.

Not only is it New Zealand’s first transgender drama series, but the production also prides itself on having one of the most gender-diverse casts and crews in the industry. It uses the hashtag #byusandaboutus to highlight its authentic storytelling to encourage and enable better representation in front of the camera and behind the scenes. This season even involved fans from the trans community in the making of a set piece. Before production began last year, transgender fans were encouraged to send in photos of themselves or of things that spark joy to decorate a set wall celebrating trans joy.

The highly anticipated sequel season will continue to follow Caz after his return to his hometown but will also turn its focus to his friend Anahera’s story. The trailer offers peaks into what’s to come, underlining themes of love, loss, and LGBTQIA+ joy.

Congratulations to Max and the team! We can’t wait to tune in for the season premiere on 12 February on Sky and Prime TV.

Congratulations to DEGANZ members Robyn Grace and Toa Fraser who have been nominated for a Children’s & Family Emmy Award for their work on Netflix series Sweet Tooth. Alongside Jim Mickle and Alexis Ostrander, the Sweet Tooth directing team have been nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Single Camera Program.

Sweet Tooth has also been nominated for Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Editing and multiple Creative Arts Emmys. Based on the comic book by Jeff Lemire, the series follows a loveable half-human and half-deer boy as he embarks on a dangerous adventure across a post-apocalyptic world. Season two is currently in production.

The first annual Children’s & Family Emmy Awards will be presented on Saturday, December 10 (Creative Arts) and Sunday, December 11 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles.

Good luck to Robyn and Toa!