Big Screen Symposium

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Chelsea Winstanley is a filmmaker with nearly 15 years experience in the industry. In 2002, she graduated from Auckland University of Technology majoring in television production in 2002, being awarded the prize for top graduate of her class. During her time as a student, she directed her first short documentary, which gained her a Media Peace Award, igniting her interest in the documentary form.

Chelsea began producing television and short films soon after graduating from AUT. She worked at Kiwa Media for several years making documentaries and television series for the indigenous broadcaster Māori Television. TV series included HAUMANU, on the origins of traditional Māori music, and KETE ARONUI, an arts series featuring Māori artists of all disciplines.

Since then Chelsea has gone on to produce some of the most successful NZ short films, including having films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival two years in a row; MEATHEAD by Sam Holst (2011), and NIGHTSHIFT by Zia Mandviwalla (2012).

In 2010 Chelsea was producing Merata Mita’s feature documentary SAVING GRACE: TE WHAKARAUORA TANGATA, when she suddenly passed away.

She graduated from EAVE in 2011 with a focus on international co-production and European finance. In 2014 Chelsea produced the award-winning feature film WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, which premiered at Sundance and screened at SXSW. In NZ the film became the highest grossing local film of 2014, and then went on to make waves internationally, receiving unanimously positive critical reviews and making Indiewire’s list of ’20 Highest Grossing Indie Films of 2015.’

She has been a board member of Ngā Aho Whakaari and WIFT. In 2013 she was part of Script to Screen’s FilmUp Mentorship Programme with producer Tim White as her mentor. Chelsea is currently a director on WARU, a collaborative feature film project, made up of eight short films by eight female Māori directors.

Future projects include Waititi’s WW2 comedy drama JOJO RABBIT and feature documentaries SPRAY OF PLENTY and MERATAÆ.

Chelsea is a mother of three and is married to award-winning director Taika Waititi. She lives in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

See Chelsea Winstanley in the following session:

WARU: Breaking the silence – Sat 24th September, 11:00 am.