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The Big Screen Symposium, in its 7th year, once again presents an inspiring and accomplished line-up of speakers to the NZ film and television community. This year’s programme is crafted around the theme Tuning into the Zeitgeist and explores how the characteristics of our age and the politics of now manifest in our imaginations, and how that impacts the stories we tell and how they connect with audiences.

CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, Anna Serner, who has been praised across the globe for tackling gender disparity in filmmaking in her own country and creating a ripple effect around the world, delivers a pertinent keynote address.

Renowned writer/director David Lowery (PETE’S DRAGON, A GHOST STORY, THE OLD MAN & THE GUN) travels in from Austin to share his knowledge and experience in a filmmaking masterclass, and to participate in a panel discussion.

Kenyan filmmaker, author and co-founder of media company AFROBUBBLEGUM, Wanuri Kahiu, kicks off #BIGSCREEN18 with an opening address. Kahiu has recently sued the classification office in her home country for banning her recent feature film for “promoting lesbianism”. The film, RAFIKI, is Kahiu’s second feature and premiered at Cannes this year.

A number of speakers join us from Australia, including revered director and cinematographer Warwick Thornton (SAMSON AND DELILAH, SWEET COUNTRY). Thornton’s unique eye and powerful voice have seen him awarded both the Camera D’Or in competition at Cannes (best first feature) and the Premio Bisato d’Oro in competitoin at Venice (critics’ award for best film).

Big Screen Symposium 2018 delves into stop-motion, presenting a workshop with world-leading animators, Christchurch bornAntony Elworthy (lead animator of Wes Anderson’s ISLE OF GODS and Tim Burton’s FRANKENWEENIE) and US Rachel Larsen(animation director for Amazon’s TUMBLE LEAF, lead animator on Charlie Kauffman’s ANOMALISA).

Anna Dean, PR maverick and co-director of Wellington company Double Denim returns to talk about effective content marketing in our rapidly changing environment, and nine Pasifika writers and directors from yet-to-be released anthology feature, VAI, will present a session.

Script to Screen Executive Director Esther Cahill-Chiaroni says, “This year we are very excited by our move to the ASB Waterfront Theatre, but we know that the wonderful community spirit at the heart of the event will remain. It will be two days filled with extraordinary local and international talent gathered under the one roof to talk about filmmaking and storytelling in our times.”

This year marks 40 years of the New Zealand Film Commission, an event partner of the Big Screen Symposium, so Big Screen Symposium is hosting a special networking drinks to honour the occasion.