Big Screen Symposium

Michael Bennett (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) is an award-winning screenwriter and director, and author. Michael’s short films and feature film MATARIKI have screened at numerous international film festivals including Cannes, Berlin, London and Toronto. Michael’s first screenplay, the short comedy MICHELLE’S THIRD NOVEL, was selected as the short film to accompany the US premiere of PULP FICTION at the opening night of the 1994 New York Film Festival.

Michael has a number of original feature films in development across a range of genres, including a Korea / NZ love story set in the Korean war, a UK-based true crime movie (with Kerry Fox for her directorial debut), a China / NZ rom-com set in Central Otago, a true-life historical biopic about an American drunkard who fought on both sides of the NZ Land Wars (with actor / producer Cliff Curtis).

Michael has been part of the fight for justice for Teina Pora for several years, including writing and directing the award-winning documentary  THE CONFESSIONS OF PRISONER T, and writing the book In Dark Places, which he is about to film as a TVNZ telefeature of the same name.

In 2015 Michael founded The 10,000 Company with designer / writer / producer Jane Holland. The first 10,000 Company production is In Dark Places.

Michael has written and directed many dozen hours of prime-time television comedy, drama, documentary and children’s drama. He has co-created two produced drama series and has been head writer or episode writer on numerous drama series including writing and directing multiple episodes of the iconic comedy drama OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, MATAKU (the Māori Twilight Zone), KAITANGATA TWITCH and many others. Michael devised and wrote all 20 episodes of the comedy / musical / drama web series THE FACTORY.

Michael works as a script consultant and developer, and is an experienced script doctor, including script doctoring the last series of the iconic US series XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS. Michael teaches screenwriting courses at two Auckland film schools, and runs screenwriting workshops across New Zealand for Script to Screen.

Michael’s first book In Dark Places is finalist in the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Michael’s second book, Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas (an apocalyptic time-travel graphic novel created with Ant Sang), will be published by Penguin Random House in June 2018.

See Michael in the following session:

Keynote Addresses: Authenticity & Pretence – Sunday 1 October, 9.30am