Tag Archive for: The Spinoff

DEGANZ members Litia Tuiburelevu, Josh Yong, and Isaiah Tour are at the helm of The Spinoff’s new documentary, K-Polys.

Directed by Litia, the 20-minute short is an intimate video portrait of three young Polynesians enchanted by K-Pop. It follows Boba, Ethan, and Ashley, delving into how K-Pop has influenced their lives, especially in relation to their Polynesian identities. From self-expression to community to a passion for dance, the music genre has uniquely impacted who they are.

Josh edited the series with Isaiah as assistant editor. Isaiah also created all the doco’s motion graphics.

K-Polys is available to watch on The Spinoff here.

The first two episodes of Hair Now, directed by Michelle Ang (DEGANZ), are available on The Spinoff. The series, edited by Kat Kasajima and made with the support of NZOA, features six Pan-Asian wahine and their relationships with their hair.

Episode one follows Yasmine, a Palestinian Jordanian New Zealander, as she navigates contradictory cultural ideas about hair coverage and removal. Since deciding to wear a hijab at 15, Yasmine finds strength and power in how she presents her hair in the world.

She explains, “Hair is a statement […], and it’s the first thing you can take control of in your own life.” The rest of the episodes follow this ethos. They explore how each woman expresses their identity through the growth, grooming, or removal of their hair.

Michelle is well known for her acting career in projects such as Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Vegas, and Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462. However, she has been making a name for herself as a director and in 2020, she participated in our Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator. Her directing credits include the animated short series Riddle Me This, the anthology feature Kāinga, and her new coming-of-age series Self Help.

We look forward to watching the rest of the episodes!

Watch the series

DEGANZ member Josh Yong has edited The Spinoff’s recent documentary, Lynley Dodd: Writing the Pictures, Painting the Words. This piece invites viewers into the whimsical world of the beloved writer and illustrator of the Hairy Maclary children’s books.

This special one-off documentary celebrates Dame Lynley Dodd as she shares insight into her creative process and the inspiration behind some of her most memorable tales. She even opens up about her latest project, which has been ten years in the making.

While her books about Hairy Maclary and the gang have entertained children and parents alike for nearly 40 years, this documentary takes audiences for the first time on an intimate journey of how she transforms life experiences into art.

Josh worked with director Susan Leonard (Te Arawa) and Hex Work Productions, supported by NZ On Air, on this nostalgic and delightful trip down memory lane.

Congratulations to Josh on the release!

Watch here


Documentary series Takeout Kids is now available to watch in its entirety on The Spinoff. Well done to DEGANZ members director Julie Zhu and editor Josh Yong.

The four episode series follows four young New Zealanders growing up in their parents’ restaurants or takeaway businesses. In the first episode we meet Rama, a 12-year-old who enthusiastically takes orders at her family’s Jordanian restaurant in the Auckland suburb of Kingsland.

Speaking to 1News, Julie states that she wanted to make this observational documentary series “to really showcase the variety of communities that we have here in Aotearoa”. She wanted to explore families who “run restaurants and showcase their lives beyond what is seen when people pick up their takeaways”.

Watch Takeout Kids online now

A couple of days ago on The Spinoff, South Pacific Pictures Managing Director Andrew Szusterman decried the loss of drama Head High from Discovery Three. Lead director and co-lead writer on the show is a DEGANZ member, Tim Worrall.

Szusterman pointed out the difficulty and cost of getting NZ drama funded and made. He said that without NZ On Air, there would be little drama produced at all because it provides the majority of the funding for such projects.

He went on to call for the Government to say, “It’s time” to streamers, such as Netflix, Amazon and the others, and to put money into New Zealand programme production. Szusterman quite rightly stated that New Zealand’s market is not big enough to warrant streamers voluntarily investing significantly in New Zealand content.

“None of these services have commissioned any New Zealand premium drama content directly for New Zealand audiences, and there is not a chance that they will unless change is forced upon them.”

I’m glad that Szusterman is adding his voice to SPADA’s recent activity in this space. SPADA has finally given up on saying, “We can’t levy the streamers because of GATT*”. I’ve been calling for levies on streamers in this column for years: Show Me the Money, Time for a Reset, An Answer to NZ’s Broadcasting Industry Dilemma? I point this out not because I want to say “I told you so.”, but to highlight that we have been mired in a time warp for too long while the Golden Age of TV drama sails on by.

I’m aware that there are a number of NZ producers who are pushing hard to crack the international door open for ‘high-end’ TV drama. But you need the budgets to do it. And you need the policies to make it easier. At the moment both are a barrier.

Good drama requires a lot of development funding. So does the production. When many of the shows appearing on the streamers are being made from an absolute low of US$2 million per episode to the stratospheric heights of The Crown or Ozark at US$13 – 14 million per episode, an NZ show at US$ 0.7 – 1.2 mil. per episode doesn’t cut it. As long as the Government keeps NZ On Air and NZFC funding at the levels it has for the last 10 years or so, we have to find money elsewhere to supplement the budgets. This is outlined in the Screen Sector Strategy 2030.

So where to get it from and what needs to change? It’s time to levy the streamers. They’re an obvious source. Even though our market isn’t big, it still provides incremental income for them, and they should pay to get it.

We also need to remove the block to going behind a paywall for NZ On Air funding, as is currently the case. And we need to allow, as I’ve said before, Drama and Factual to access both the New Zealand Screen Production Grant and NZ On Air funds, which is only allowed now for Children’s and Animation. The Premium Production Fund has been given a temporary reprieve concerning this. It’s time to make this permanent, and the Premium Fund, too. If we had to, we could accept a 30% NZSPG for behind paywalls instead of the 40% available now for free-to-air.

In the meantime, we wish Szusterman luck in finding a new home for Head High. It has a place on NZ screens.


The Spinoff article here.

*General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director