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Relive sessions you loved or experience the ones you wish you’d got to from past Big Screen Symposiums.

Check out our podcast channel here for more inspiring content. Big Screen Symposium Podcasts are also available on Apple and Spotify.


 Keynote Addresses on the theme Transforming Culture

Six accomplished storytellers, each with their own unique point of view, deliver Keynote Addresses on the BSS 2020 theme Transforming Culture: documentary maker Leanne Pooley, games designer and producer Maru Nihoniho, writer and activist Cole Meyers, producer Emma Slade, writer/ director Sebastián Lelio and microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles.

Masterclass with Sebastián Lelio – Filmmaker and Spectator

Directors and writers of all levels will enjoy listening to Sebastián Lelio demonstrating ways a filmmaker can offer opportunities for your audience – the spectator – to reframe how they see the world.

Masterclass with Arielle Kilker – Storytelling for the docuseries format

Arielle Kilker delves into storytelling for the docuseries format. This is a great podcast for emerging to mid-career producers, directors and editors.

Writing Masterclass with Sophie Henderson – Thick and Thin Skin

Emerging screenwriters will get enormous value from this podcast as screenwriter Sophie Henderson talks about her experience writing for the screen. She discusses her methods building a story with empathy that connects with its audience.

Panel Discussion – Indigenising the Workflow

In this panel discussion, writer and director Becs Arahanga, content commissioner at Māori Television (kaikōkiri Kaupapa at Whakaata Māori) Lanita Ririnui and producer Piripi Curtis explore with moderator Kay Ellmers methods and reasoning for Tikanga Māori to be incorporated into the creation of screen work at all stages of the project.

NZ On Air Address

NZ On Air’s Chief Executive Cameron Harland and Head of Funding Amie Mills outline the challenges, ideas and opportunities ahead as we all try to put 2020 behind us.

A conversation with Finola Dwyer on the making of Brooklyn

Academy Award-nominated producer Finola Dwyer shares her approach to filmmaking with producer Carthew Neal using the film Brooklyn as a case study. Film producers and editors at all experience levels will appreciate this podcast.

Case Study with Sam Kelly and Vicky Pope – Savage

Savage writer/director Sam Kelly and producer Vicky Pope share what they learned from the unforeseen pitfalls and breakthroughs while bringing to life this ambitious feature film. This case study podcast will interest writers, directors and producers at all experience levels.

In Conversation with Scott Ryan – Mr In-between

In this podcast, hear from Australian multi-hyphenate Scott Ryan about his process creating, writing and starring in the crime drama series Mr Inbetween. Scott takes time out to talk to Dominic Corry as Season 3 is being filmed. Great listening for emerging and mid-career writers and actors.

$50M Premium Productions For International Audiences Fund

This podcast opens with an address from Hon. Carmel Sepuloni (Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage) who launched the Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund (Pūtea Kiriata Hiranga – Premium Fund) at the Big Screen Symposium. Then producer Emma Slade talks to Annabelle Sheehan (NZ Film Commission), Cameron Harland (NZ On Air) and Larry Parr (Te Māngai Pāho) about this new fund.


The Zeitgeist of Joy with Wanuri Kahiu – Keynote Address

In Kenyan filmmaker, Wanuri Kahiu’s Keynote address, she explores the AFROBUBBLEGUM movement. What if our art, our stories, our voices were more about celebrating joy than overcoming suffering? Would we think ourselves more worthy of happiness? Using examples of joy traditions and cultures expressed through African art, Wanuri presents an argument for the zeitgeist of joy and hope.

Keynote Adress – Anna Serner

CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, Anna Serner, has garnered international attention for her radical work towards gender equality in the screen industry.  In this electrifying talk, she provokes us to think differently about gender equality and lays out her step-by-step plan to achieve it.

Vai – Pasifika Perspectives

Premiering at Berlin in 2019, VAI is the second feature to come from the team behind groundbreaking 2017 film, WARU.  A collaborative anthology, the film brings nine Pasifika female writer/directors together to realise a story that follows the life of a woman named Vai as she travels across the Pacific.  A film about empowerment through culture, we hear how these nine trailblazing women brought their visions to life.

Keynote Address – Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern

The Right Honorable Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is also our Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, focuses her keynote address on the value of storytellers to New Zealand culture. Laying a challenge to government to shift focus from the economic impact of the screen industry to the importance of storytellers and their place in modern society. How does storytelling impact the way we navigate the modern world and how can we increase access to and participation in the arts in New Zealand?

Content Marketing with Anna Dean

Anna Dean works at the forefront of audience engagement across the digital, film and social landscapes. In this session, Anna shares key learnings on changes to audience engagement in recent years. She provides practical tips to help you articulate your project in a way that connects, and challenges you to think about what your audience actually wants rather than what you think they should know.

New Technologies and Ancient Understandings with Lynette Wallworth

Can new technologies address environmental issues and competing world views? Leading global thinker, Lynette Wallworth discusses her work in the Virtual and Augmented Reality sphere and the ways in which she “brings together technological advances and ancient understandings, new media and old practices, electronics and the electricity of human touch.”

Creating a Futuristic World with Wanuri Kahiu

Kenyan filmmaker, Wanuri Kahiu uses her recent short film PUMZI to illustrate the research techniques and decision-making process she used to create a distinct futuristic world on a low budget. She explains the rudimentary tools and special effects techniques she used to bring this world to life.

From Script to Screen with David Lowery

In this session filmmaker David Lowery uses a scene from his latest feature The Old Man & the Gun as a starting point to follow the evolution of an idea from first draft to final cut. He leads us on his own very specific filmmaking journey in order to explore the tangents and the detours that inspiration can take on its way to the big screen.

No Laugh Track Needed

Being funny is a seriously tricky business, even if you’re a natural. In this session, some of NZ’s top comedic writing talent explore what makes their characters funny and how they’ve successfully taken NZ comedy to the world. Listen to Jackie van Beek, Madeleine Sami, Paul Yates and Melanie Bracewell chat with Alice Snedden about how they crafted the laughs.

STRAY with Dustin Feneley and Desray Armstrong

STRAY is the debut feature film from award-winning writer/director/producer Dustin Feneley and producer Desray Armstrong. In this session, Dustin and Desray discuss how STRAY was financed as an independent film; focusing on securing private investment and their record-breaking crowdfunding campaign. They’ll also explore the entrepreneurial skills, drive and tenacity needed to succeed as independent filmmakers.

Keynote Address – David Lowery

Writer/director, David Lowery’s keynote address dissects his experience of capturing the zeitgeist in his career to date. How can you ensure your story is relevant and interesting to modern audiences? David breaks down his rollercoaster ride from trying to make films for posterity to making films that affect people deeply and collaborating closely with a tight-knit filmmaking family.

The Windy Road of Filmmaking with David Lowery and Lynette Wallworth

There are times for all filmmakers where there is no clear path ahead. Lynette Walworth and David Lowery share insights from their filmmaking journeys with moderator, Brita McVeigh. They explore the roadblocks they’ve faced, the deviations from the path and ultimately the way through in this intimate and enlightening conversation. This session is presented by Fish Entertainment.

Picnic at Hanging Rock with Jo Porter and Philippa Campbell

Fremantle’s Director of Drama, Jo Porter joins Phillipa Campbell in conversation to discuss her experience developing, producing and selling the trailblazing six-part Australian television series PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. Together they explore the powers and pressures of adapting a beloved novel and the process of navigating a co-commission.

Stop Motion with Antony Elworthy and Rachel Larsen

Stop-motion animation has enjoyed a renaissance over the past two decades despite the advancement of modern animation techniques. World-renowned experts in this field, Rachel Larsen and Antony Elworthy share insights into how they bring stop motion productions to life with filmmakers like Tim Burton, Wes Anderson and Harry Sinclair.


Adaptation with writer Luke Davies

Los Angeles based Luke Davies is one of Australia’s most sought after writers. In this session, he delves into the challenges of adapting source material for the screen. Luke talks about his creative process when working with existing material to create blueprints for compelling film and television. This includes tough decisions he has made and craft problems he has solved.

In Conversation with UTA Agent Bec Smith

Bec Smith is an agent at United Talent Agency, one of the biggest talent agencies in the world. Originally from Australia, Bec has worked at UTA in Los Angeles for 10 years and her client list includes many acclaimed fellow Australians. In this special conversation with Jill Macnab, Bec demystifies the US agency system and gives you her take on the current film and television market informed by her recent attendance at festivals and markets including Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto and the American Film Market.

Keynote Address Day 2 – Authenticity and Pretence

Michael Bennett, Miriama McDowell, Jessica Hansell, and Todd Karehana each give their take on our theme Authenticity & Pretence in the context of their recent projects, working practice, and view of the world.


Screenwriting Masterclass with Cate Shortland – Image and the Subconscious

Cate uses examples from her film work to chart her writing process: from the genesis of an idea, to taking risks with character, to building scenes from the page up with actors and choreographers – and the vital role of imagery, landscape, and the subconscious.


In Conversation with Jonathan Raymond

In this conversation Emily Perkins talks to Jonathan about what risk means to him within the creative process, remaining open to new possibilities while searching for the heart of the material, and finding and investing yourself in the work while truly sharing the vision with your collaborators – in Jonathan’s case two of the boldest auteurs in independent cinema today.