Tag Archive for: Willie Jackson

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It was close to a year that the NZ Film Commission was without a permanent CEO. That was resolved when Head of Sky Originals Annie Murray was announced as the new CEO, replacing David Strong. The response from the industry has been overwhelmingly positive. Annie comes from a lengthy background in TV commissioning at Sky, Whakaata Māori and TVNZ. It will be interesting to see how she adapts to the very different world of film and what that means for the greenlighting of features going forward. Every NZFC CEO brings their own take to what gets funded. David Strong wasn’t around long enough for us to find out what his was. With Annabelle Sheehan, it was Māori and female-driven projects to the fore. With Dave Gibson, it was essentially genre. Graham Mason was a mix of auteur and commercial. Annie will most likely and rightly shepherd more Māori and indigenous films into existence—They are repeatedly proving themselves at the box office, after all, and there are Ti Tiriti obligations. But it will be interesting to see what else gets across the line.

Another major hindrance for the screen industry was the lack of information about what was going to happen with the funding taken from NZ On Air and given to the cancelled ANZPM (TVNZ – RNZ) entity. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ statement that more would go to public media funding when the merger was called off was decidedly opaque. Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson didn’t provide any further clarity at the recent Ngā Aho Whakaari hui when he told everyone there that RNZ funding would be dealt with first and NZ On Air funding would become clear by June. Thankfully, last Thursday, Jackson revealed the funding for both entities, with NZ on Air getting all its funding back, plus a $10m increase for 2023/24 which will focus on reaching new audiences. NZ On Air has revised the strategy it put out when the money was taken away, but it’s still very much targeted to minority communities and under-represented voices. (New investment strategy here.) There was a collective sigh of relief, but frankly, we are only back to where we were before, but with a different strategy. We are still way behind the eight ball when it comes to the opportunities in the global screen industry. The golden age of TV drama has now reached its peak and is retracting, and NZ is still not participating in it while Australia is going great guns. Strategically in this area, we are either an ostrich with our head down a hole or a chicken running around headless.

The one ray of possible sunshine in the whole mess is the outcome of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) review, which has also been going on for close to a year. The Hollywood studio lobbying group, the Australia-New Zealand Screen Association, put its best foot forward last week with the Sweet Tooth roadshow in Wellington, touting the positive economic impact of the production on the New Zealand screen industry. (See the report here.) This is another clear example of the benefit international production brings to New Zealand and the need for the international rebate to continue. However, what continues to be ignored is the opportunity to grow New Zealand talent, IP, and exports of it to global markets. Shows such as SPP’s Brokenwood Mysteries and a number of others from other production houses do find markets overseas, but the Government, their ministries, and our funding bodies aren’t doing enough to stimulate what is potentially a good revenue earner and a great cultural export. The SPG review, with the right outcome, could help change that. However, the industry’s collective voice on this seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I only hope that my pessimism about this is crushed by jubilant celebration when the review outcome is announced. Whenever the hell that is.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

As if we didn’t have enough on our plate with the Screen Industry Workers Bill, the Reform of Vocational Education, The Screen Sector Investment Review, and an NZFC still in managerial stagnancy sans a permanent CEO (David Strong has resigned but there’s now a need to find a replacement), we now have the combining of TVNZ and RNZ under the new entity Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media (ANZPM) to contend with.

Following a decision by Government to move ahead with this new approach to public media, a Governance Group was established. The Group has been busy, and has published a couple of important documents.

The first and easiest to read is the Business Case Governance Group Report. This report takes an overview of the need for a restructuring of public media in New Zealand, including thoughts outside the formal review they were asked to deliver by the then Minister of Public Broadcasting and Media, Kris Faafoi.

The second document is the Business Case they were required to construct—a long document laid out in the format required by Treasury. Often repetitive in nature, it is still worth a read for the truly interested.

And for those into literary self-flagellation, you can review the draft legislation here.

Faafoi then appointed an ANZPM Establishment Board whose responsibility it is to oversee the detailed design of the new entity and the change required to create it. The new entity will come into full operation by July 2023.

With the resignation of Faafoi, the portfolio has moved to Willie Jackson, who has been quick to express his views on ANZPM and other media matters in an interview with Duncan Grieve at The Spinoff.

The ANZPM is a massive undertaking. And like so much in the New Zealand screen sector, long overdue. It will affect everybody producing content for TV and Radio and thus is of utmost interest to the entire production sector. Strangely, there is nary a mention of the New Zealand Film Commission in any of the documentation, which I find curious considering the convergence of content and distribution channels and the expressed objective of the new entity to engage, inform, educate, enlighten and entertain. NZFC after all is a public media stakeholder and the only government funding body seemingly left out of the mix in considerations.

There is a call for submissions out now with a deadline of 8 September. DEGANZ will be responding and we encourage all of you in the screen sector to do the same, whether you are a content creator or viewer/listener. The ANZPM is going to shape the way we consume Aotearoa New Zealand content for decades to come and we want it to be done right.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director