Collaboration crucial for success of New Zealand Film Industry

22 07 2008

Geographical distance and the attendant costs are seen as the biggest hurdles to New Zealand film makers, a survey commissioned by the New Zealand Film Commission has found.

The independent survey involved interviewing New Zealand producers and distributors about their perceptions of the industry and the NZFC’s role.

While New Zealand’s geographical distance was seen as a barrier, producers and distributors believed the solution lay in the industry working together. And the NZFC was seen as critical to the survival and success of the industry.

NZFC Chief Executive Dr Ruth Harley says the survey reinforces the important role of the NZFC in supporting the industry, as well as helping to identify areas for future focus and energy. In particular:

· There is a desire for the NZFC to increase its “professional development” work – particularly around script writing and development. There was also a strong interest in a NZFC seminar about the workings of the industry as a whole – covering every aspect from script to screen.

· There is a perception that there is a great story to tell about New Zealand’s film industry, but that we could be telling it more persuasively.

· There is a gap between the way producers and distributors understand the NZFC’s sales and marketing role.

· Some survey participants want more information about funding decisions and their rationale, as well as information around market success.

· There is concern that NZFC has funded too many “culturally generic” horror films.

Dr Harley says the Board of the NZFC will give more consideration to all of these areas in coming months.

“The areas we have identified as priorities are around boosting professional development, becoming a stronger teller of the New Zealand film “story” and making sure industry players have access to the information they need around the decisions we make.”

Dr Harley says overall the survey findings are positive for the industry and the role of the NZFC in providing vital support.


Ngai Tūhoe to attend Rain of The Children Film premiere

11 07 2008

Vincent Ward’s RAIN OF THE CHILDREN premieres on Saturday 12th July, 6.15pm at the Civic theatre, in the 40th Auckland International Film Festival.

The New Zealand premiere will host approximately 400 members of Ngai Tūhoe Tribe who will make the trip from around the North Island to be at this prestigious event, and a packed cinema is anticipated.

Accolades have been flowing from the two key US industry publications, Hollywood Reporter and Variety, since its world premiere at Sydney Film Festival.

Temuera Morrison, Waihoroi Shortland, Taungaroa Emile and the five of the Tūhoe women that play Puhi will be at Saturday’s premiere.

With a heart-rendering Powhiri and these distinguished guests looking on, it will be a feast for the senses, a truly spectacular event.

New Incentive Fund available to NZ Film and TV producers

3 07 2008

The NZFC today welcomed news that funds from the Screen Production Incentive Fund (SPIF) will be available to New Zealand film and television producers from next week.

SPIF is designed to support the production of New Zealand-driven feature film, television and animation projects that have significant levels of private and/or international finance.

NZFC Chairman David Cullwick says the scheme is essential if New Zealand is to stay competitive with Australia, where a similar scheme (Producer Offset Scheme) was introduced last year.

“The film industry is of huge importance to New Zealanders and is one of our fastest growing, high-value industries.

“SPIF, which will be administered by the NZFC, is a welcome edition to the suite of financial support mechanisms available to screen producers in New Zealand,” says Dr Cullwick.

Full guidelines and criteria for the fund are now available on the Film Commission’s website

For more information please contact David Cullwick 021 426 362

Help local company Raw Films make their first short film

2 07 2008

The New Zealand film industry thrives with an independent spirit. In a sense, the industry is ‘run by volunteers’. Because many are willing to lend their services to the cause. Its possible that an aspiring filmmaker with a short film on their agenda will benefit. Industry professionals maintain the gap between logic and charity. As a result, local filmmakers find the community approachable and ask for help. In an attempt to generate funding for their short film Shades of Gray, producer Rachel Wills and director Vanessa Wood appeared on ALT Television last Sunday. They offered viewers the opportunity to get directly involved with the making of a New Zealand short film. And invited the New Zealand community at large to offer their personal touch. The pair inspire confidence. And promise to channel their expertise into a heartfelt story that people can relate to.

‘Shades of Gray’ is a gripping drama about a young woman’s struggle to reunite with an orthodox Christian family she no longer feels part of. The reunion goes pear shaped when the woman finds herself pregnant and dumped by her boyfriend, just as her mother predicted. Fear of total rejection by her family prevents the young woman from trusting them with the truth about her predicament and instead, she faces the hardest moral decision of her life alone and in a race against time.

Having already secured private investment, they ask the public for their involvement. Their production company Raw Films supports an interactive web based initiative. Once willing contributors log onto their website they can help in exchange for screen credit and an invitation to the film’s premiere. Rachel and Vanessa will be eternally grateful to contributors who donate money, provide labour or gift items on their wishlist. You can even help provide the necessary support for New Zealand woman, as Rachel and Vanessa promise to give 10% of the film’s profit to charity.

I appeared on air with Rachel and Vanessa. And what immediately struck me was their passion and their commitment to socially aware storytelling. The company name ‘Raw Films’ signals to me, something paired back, truthful, or more broadly, the grass root, independent spirit. There’s a clear vision at work here. A story about abortion that isn’t told in the same vein as hokey television movies, tugging on heartstrings with soapy visuals. Vanessa has something much more neutral up her sleeves, something unassuming. And I don’t think its her intention to imitate the indie cool vibe that so often courts the Sundance Film Festival, like Juno and Little Miss Sunshine. So watch this space. Because I sincerely hope they reach their financial goal and the project can accelerate from production and beyond, to where the New Zealand audience can experience an artfully told story. And I certainly hope we can be proud to call it Kiwi.

Written by Lewis Bostock

Please digg this article.

C4 to feature 48 Hours Film competition TV Special

2 07 2008

‘The V’ 48HOURS is officially the largest filmmaking competition in the Southern Hemisphere. Now in its sixth year, the competition is drawing to a thrilling conclusion on July 3rd at 8.30pm on C4 Television. The two hour TV special was created by Two Heads and is jammed packed with all the cheers and tears of what 48HOURS entails. There are team profiles, behind the scenes action, spotlights on Animation, Maori and Teen Teams, Special awards and the nine competing short films.

Filmmakers from around New Zealand are competing for a Grand Prize package worth over $100,000.

Peter Jackson has selected his Wildcard shorts for this years ‘V’ 48HOURS Grand National Final. His choices will compete alongside the City Winners from Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Gisborne, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The first wildcard is Team Lense Flare with their time travel short called BEYOND BELIEF. An apt title for the team who were chosen last year as a wildcard and ended up going on to be crowned Grand Champions. All eyes will be on the Grand Final to see if they can pull off the biggest back to back victory ever.

There is strong competition coming from three time Grand Finalists Smashing Pants, a Wellington team who could live the ultimate cliché and make it third time lucky. They’ll have to get past six year veterans of the competition, Fractured Radius, a team coined after their director broke his wrist in their debut short back in 2003. And then there are the sleeping giants, the unassuming Guerilla Monkeys from Hamilton and the soon-to-be-known but extremely assured Spooce Media:The Real McCoy from Christchurch. Dunedin has newcomers The Dangly Gruffnuts and Gisborne has Team Kaiti Hill, a husband and wife team who might just win on charm alone.

An international judging panel of film experts will decide just who will be the Grand Champion for 2008. The judges include Mimi Brody from UCLA Film Archive, Livia Bloom the curator of Moving Image Centre in NYC, Michael Koller from the Melbourne Cinematheque, Doug Jones from LA Film Festival, Tim League from Fantastic Fest and Mitch Davis from Fantasia Film Festival.

One of the nine shorts below only one will be crowned Grand National Champ 2008.

The End by Fractured Radius (Auckland)
A man tries to keep the script to his final moments just perfect

Sum Of All Parts by Guerilla Monkeys (Hamilton)
A creepy tale of obsessive love and body parts

le dernier jour de Tony (Tony’s Last Day) by Kaiti Hill (Gisborne, Tairawhiti)
A wry look at a kiwi abroad

Darlene by Smashing Pants (Wellington)
A troubled youth, some stolen goods and love

The Real McCoy Agent Post:
Or How I Stopped Being Pretentious And Learned To Love Cliche by Spooce Media (Christchurch)
Ken & Barbie meet Michale Bay and things blow up

Two Bodies, One Night by Dangly Gruffnuts (Dunedin)
Nothing like an unwanted stiff to ruin your night

Beyond Belief by Lense Flare (Peter Jackson Wildcard)
Witness the unbelievable but true story of the backward man

+ The final two Wildcards will be revealed July 3rd in the Time Out section of the NZ Herald.

‘V’ 48HOURS – C4, JULY 3RD, 8.30pm – Rated M for aMazing

If home viewers don’t agree with our esteemed Judges they can cast their votes after the Grand Final at The team that gets the most votes wins a thousand bucks.

Hundreds of teams compete. Hundreds of thousands watch.


Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro invite to live internet chat

22 05 2008

Peter Jackson Hobbit Invite
Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro invite you to a live internet chat about The Hobbit.

Peter and Guillermo would love to answer your questions and hear your comments about their new adventure into Middle-Earth.

Please register now – to make sure you don’t miss out on the Unexpected Party and get regular updates on the movies.

Weta are excited to be hosting this one-hour live online chat on their website Please check the start time for your time zone below:

Los Angeles (Pacific) Saturday 24 May 1 pm
New York (Eastern) Saturday 24 May 4 pm
London Saturday 24 May 9 pm
Paris, Berlin, Rome Saturday 24 May 10 pm
Sydney Sunday 25 May 6 am
Wellington, Auckland Sunday 25 May 8 am

Maori Film Festival programme announced

12 05 2008

The organisers of the third Wairoa Moari Film Festival are proud to announce the launch of its programme, available online at the Official Website: This year’s festival event will occur at the dawn of the Matariki celebrations, over Queen’s Birthday Weekend May 30th to June 2nd. The festival will celebrate Maori and indigenous film achievement, and this year will pay special tribute to three of our early film pioneers, Witarina Harris, Don Selwyn and Barry Barclay.

Opening the festival will be the classic comedy feature CAME A HOT FRIDAY, starring Don Selwyn and Billy T. James. A Mexican-Maori themed celebration will take place, including a film-makers networking hui sponsored by Nga Aho Whakaari Maori in Film & Television. Other feature films featuring Don Selwyn will be screened, including RANGI’S CATCH and THE LOST TRIBE. “Don Selwyn was one of the founding Patrons of our festival, and we were greatly saddened by his passing last year,” says Festival Chairperson Huia Koziol. “Don’s early support helped make the festival a reality, and his legacy will live on both on the screen and in the continued success of the Wairoa Maori Film Festival.”

The festival will honour the memory of pioneer Maori actress Witarina Harris with a piano-accompanied screening of the silent classic UNDER THE SOUTHERN CROSS. This 1927 feature film will be the Centrepiece of this year’s festival. Witarina Harris passed away early in 2007, at age 101.

Also highlighted at the festival will be the works of Barry Barclay. “Barry Barclay was special guest at the 2006 festival,” says Mrs. Koziol. “The loss of Barry to the Maori film-making community this year leaves a huge gap in our knowledge and dreamscape.”

A special screening of Barry Barclay’s feature documentary THE NEGLECTED MIRACLE will be presented. The documentary explores the plight of indigenous genetic conservation initiatives around the world, with sequences shot in Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Australia. Also to be screened will be episodes of the TANGATA WHENUA series, which Barry Barclay directed in collaboration with John O’Shea and Michael King. “The legacy of these three leaders in the Maori film world will live on, on screen, and in our hearts and minds at this year’s Wairoa Maori Film Festival.”

The international programme will include works from Canada, Australia, Sweden and USA. The New Zealand premiere of the feature film FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND presents a poignant and wryly funny story of family and healing. This is the first feature by Seminole/Creek film director Sterlin Harjo, a guest of the festival in 2005. From Canada, comes SEEKING BIMAADIZIIWIN, a touching story of youth suicide and depression in native communities. An extensive Australian selection is presented, including New Zealand premiere of the offbeat, quirky and poignant BIT OF BLACK BUSINESS native short drama series. “The Wairoa Maori Film Festival will be priced low to encourage community attendance, for example all Marae screenings will be by gold coin koha”, says Festival Chairperson Huia Koziol.

This year’s festival will also include the MAORI FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS DINNER with entertainment by Maori guitar veteran BILLY TK. The music of BILLY TK still reflects his early influences of Hendrix, Santana & McLaughlin and every time he plays the young people are gobsmacked and the oldies relive the past!

Gaiety Cinema and Taihoa Marae, Wairoa
Friday 30th May to Monday June 2nd 2008

MIC Toi Rerehiko & Academy Cinema, Auckland, June 2008 (final dates TBC)
Paramount Cinema & NZ Film Archive Mediaplex, Wellington, June 2008 (final dates TBC)
Regent Cinema, Taumarunui, July 2008 (final dates TBC)