Managing Director of the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft
Chief Executive of InternetNZ
Founder of Nacirema Releasing
Head of Sales & Marketing, New Zealand Film Commission
Managing Director of Quickflix NZ
Associate Professor in Commercial Law
In the early 90s, American independent film burst on the media scene with the promise of new visions, new stories, and new approaches. Ted Hope was among the first producers to emerge from the pack and remains one of the few consistently delivering vital and exciting new work. As times, platforms, and tastes change, Ted’s work continues to break new ground, reach new audiences, and define the term “independent.”
A survey of Hope’s films – numbering close to seventy-includes many highlights of the last two decades. As generative as he is with movies, Ted is no less so in business; Ted co-founded and ran the 90s production & sales powerhouse Good Machine, which he and his partners sold to Universal in 2002. Good Machine was honoured by a retrospective at the Museum Of Modern Art in 2001. Hope subsequently co-founded the New York production company This Is That with his former assistant Anthony Bregman and Anne Carey, whom Hope met on his first day at NYU Film School. In its eight years, This Is That produced nineteen features, receiving numerous awards, including four Academy Award Best Screenplay nominations. Most recently, he founded Double Hope with his wife, filmmaker Vanessa Hope.
Hope is one of the film industry’s leading social media voices, posting regularly on his HopeForFilm blog. He also co-founded HammerToNail.com, a film review site focused on Truly Independent Film. Hope curates a monthly screening series at the Film Society Of Lincoln Center, and he will be launching an app this summer, designed to improve film’s business and culture. For all of this and more, Hope has been recognized as one of the most influential people in Independent Film.
Ted’s film Ti West’s THE SIDE EFFECT shot in fall of 2012 and starred Liv Tyler. Ted produced DARK HORSE, his third collaboration with Todd Solondz, which premiered at the Venice & Toronto Film Festivals. Like he did with HAPPINESS, he is also produced it’s distribution.Ted executive produced Karlovy Vary International Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner, COLLABORATOR, written and directed by Martin Donovan and starring Donovan, David Morse and Olivia Williams. He executive produced Sean Baker’s STARLET, which premiered in competition at SXSW, and Music Box released in 2012. Among his other recent productions are the Directing Award winner at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, written and directed by Sean Durkin and starring Elizabeth Olsen, Hugh Dancy, and John Hawkes. With COLLABORATOR and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, Hope now has twenty “first features” to his credit, including those of Alan Ball, Todd Field, Michel Gondry, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener, Ang Lee, and Bob Pulcini & Shari Berman, among others.
Hope has received numerous awards and honours. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Vision Award from the LA Filmmakers’ Alliance, as well as the Woodstock Film Festival’s Trailblazer Award. His films have received some of the industry’s most prestigious honors: THE SAVAGES (2007) earned two Academy Award nominations; 21 GRAMS (2003), two Academy Award nominations and five BAFTA nominations; and In the Bedroom (2001), five Academy Award nominations. Ted holds a record at Sundance: three of his twenty-three Sundance entries (AMERICAN SPLENDOUR (2003), THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN (1995), and WHAT HAPPENED WAS… (1994) ) have won the Grand Jury Prize; no producer has won more. Two of his films,AMERICAN SPLENDOUR (2003), and HAPPINESS (1998), have won the Critics Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival.
Hope consults and lectures throughout the world, including at the Forbes Global CEO Conference and as the Keynote Speaker at both the Power To The Pixel trans-media conference in London and Sundance’s Art House Convergence. Many film festival juries, including Sundance, SXSW, and Karlovy Vary have enjoyed Ted’s participation. He has appeared on A&E, CCTV 7 (China), CNN, Fox News, NPR, Sundance Channel, and numerous other media outlets. Additionally, Ted is a board member of the IFP and serves on the advisory boards of the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, The Film Collaborative, Power to the Pixel, and the Woodstock Film Festival. Ted teaches The Future Of Film at NYU Graduate Film School, in conjunction with the think tank he helped found there, The Cinema Research Institute.
Hope lives in New York City with his wife and son.
Director Gillian Armstrong has been making award-winning films and documentaries since the seventies including MY BRILLIANT CAREER, OSCAR AND LUCINDA, CHARLOTTE GREY and LITTLE WOMEN.
Gillian was born in Melbourne. She discovered her passion for film at Swinburne Art School, graduating in 1971.After a year in Sydney as an assistant editor, she was one of twelve, along with Phillip Noyce and Chris Noonan, selected for the inaugural year of the AFTRS. Her graduation films SATDEE NIGHT, GRETEL and 100 A DAY won numerous awards and were selected for the Sydney Film Festival and Grenoble International Festival of Short Films in 1974.
Gillian became an integral part of Australia’s new wave of film in the 1970s. In 1975 Gillian directed SMOKES AND LOLLIES, the first in a series of films portraying the coming of age of three Adelaide girls. FOURTEEN’S GOOD, EIGHTEEN’S BETTER, followed in 1980, then BINGO, BRACES AND BRIDESMAIDS (1988), and the award-winning NOT FOURTEEN AGAIN (1996). LOVE, LUST AND LIES is the latest film in the series was released in May 2010. THE SINGER AND THE DANCER starring Ruth Cracknell won the SAMMY Awards for Best Short Film and Best Actress (Ruth Cracknell) and won the Silver Award for Short Fiction at the 1977 Australian Film Awards.
In 1979 Gillian became the first Australian woman in fifty years to direct a feature film. MY BRILLIANT CAREER, starring Judy Davis and Sam Neill, won seven AFI Awards, including Best Director and Best Film, and was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in competition. 1982’s STARSTRUCK, a musical with Jo Kennedy, broke more moulds as one of Australia’s first pop/rock musicals.
In 1984, Armstrong made her first American film, MRS SOFFEL, starring Mel Gibson and Diane Keaton. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress and a Golden Berlin Bear in 1985. After 1986’s HBO concert special HARD TO HANDLE on Bob Dylan, Armstrong directed HIGH TIDE, starring Judy Davis and a young Claudia Karvan. It won Best Film at the Houston Film Festival, the Grand Prix at the International de Creteil, and Best Actress (Judy Davis) at the New York Film Critic’s Circle.
THE LAST DAYS OF CHEZ NOUS was nominated for eleven AFI Awards including Best Film and Best Director, and three Film Critics’ Circle of Australia Awards. LITTLE WOMEN followed, garnering three Oscar nominations including Best Actress (Winona Ryder). It has become an American classic, screened annually at Christmas.
OSCAR AND LUCINDA, starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett in one of her first screen roles, won five AFI Awards and one Academy Award. In 2001 CHARLOTTE GRAY, starring Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup, won the 2002 Las Vegas Critic’s Society Award for Best Actress.
In 2006 Gillian directed the acclaimed feature documentary UNFOLDING FLORENCE: THE MANY LIVES OF FLORENCE BROADHURST which was selected for the Sundance, Montreal, Karlovy Vary, Valladolid and Sheffield Film Festivals. The film won an Australian Writers’ Guild Award (Katherine Thomson), Australian Screen Editors Award (Nicholas Beauman) and Australian Cinematography Award (John Radel) and was nominated for three Australian Film Industry (AFI) Awards including Best Documentary.
DEATH DEFYING ACTS, another of Gillian’s features, is the story of Harry Houdini and a Scottish psychic starring Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta Jones.
Gillian was part of the inaugural ASDA committee and was ASDA’s first president.
In 1993 she received an A.M. for distinguished services to the Australian Film Industry. She as been awarded the Dorothy Azner Directing Award at the Los Angeles Women in Film Crystal Awards, the Chauvel Award from the Brisbane International Film Festival for her contribution to the Australian Film Industry and the Women in Hollywood Icon Award in recognition of her contribution to the film industry. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Film from Swinburne University and a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa from the University of New South Wales.
As Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times said in his review of LITTLE WOMEN, the film says, “…a great deal about Gillian Armstrong’s own character and integrity as an artist. As she has proceeded from one distinctive accomplishment to the next, alternating between America and her homeland, Armstrong has remained uncompromised…”
Writer and Director
Ben Lewin’s career as a writer and director is spread across three continents and includes award-winning documentaries, feature films, TV movies, mini-series and episodic programs.
Born in Poland in 1946, he migrated to Australia with his family in 1949. As a young man, Lewin showed great passion for photography and creative writing, and also studied and practiced law. He left his work as a criminal barrister when he was offered a scholarship to the National Film School in England. After graduating, he joined BBC Television as a director on the Nationwide program, followed by other documentary and current affairs programs for Thames, Granada and Channel Four Television.
His breakthrough project as a writer/director was THE CASE OF CRUELTY TO PRAWNS, a comedy-drama that won the Best Television Film Award at the prestigious Melbourne Film Festival.
Some of Ben’s notable credits include the murder mystery featureGEORGIA, starring Judy Davis, which won eight Australian Film Institute nominations; the much-honored and multi-award winning THE DUNERA BOYS starring Bob Hoskins – the true story of 2,000 English Jews who were mistakenly suspected as Nazi spies and transported to Australia in 1940; the award-winning MATTER OF CONVENIENCE, a tele-movie about marriages of convenience with Jean-Pierre Cassel; and PLEAD GUILTY, GET A BOND, about a tribal aboriginal woman and her conflict with the Australian legal system.
Ben Lewin is best known in the US as the writer and director of comedy features; PAPERBACK ROMANCE, a love story about slightly damaged people starring Anthony LaPaglia and Gia Carrides, and the messianic farce THE FAVOR, THE WATCH AND THE VERY BIG FISH, starring Bob Hoskins, Jeff Goldblum and Natasha Richardson. More recently, Ben Lewin brought his distinctive mix of the preposterous and the perceptive to HOLLYWOOD GOLD, a personal documentary of his misadventures in the Beverly Hills jewelry trade at Oscar time. His episodic television work includes the season’s highest-rated episode of ALLY MCBEAL(“Let’s Dance”) and TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, as well as a number of episodes of the most popular drama series in Australia, SEA CHANGE.
In 2011, Ben Lewin made feature film THE SESSIONS, starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. Ben wrote and directed this moving true-life story, based on the sexual awakening of Mark O’Brien, a Berkeley-based poet, journalist and polio victim who spent most of his life in an iron lung. The film wowed critics and audiences alike at Sundance, scooping up the Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize and selling to Fox Searchlight overnight.
Ben has been living and working in California since 1994 and is married to producer Judi Levine.
Sam Neill has appeared in more than 60 feature films, from Kiwi classics and British dramas to Hollywood blockbusters. He also co-directed the acclaimed CINEMA OF UNEASE(1995), a documentary about New Zealand film which The New York times labelled the highlight of the Century of Cinema series.
Sam Neill entered the world as Nigel Neill, born in Omagh, Northern Ireland in 1947. His father was a third generation New Zealander serving in the British Army, who returned home to join the family liquor business in 1953.
Growing up in the antipodes, Neill received as close to a classic English education as it was possible to get, attending Anglican boy’s secondary school, Christ College, in Christchurch. Along with his family background, this no doubt helped set Neill in the mould of the urbane English gent he would play many times in his career. But growing up in a far off colony also gave Neill his point of difference – a sense of belonging somewhere ‘else’, which also comes through strongly in his work.
He loved movies, especially anything by Alfred Hitchcock, and involved himself in drama; acting was a talent that came easily to him. As well as performing at school, Neill took part in the annual Shakespearian productions put on by celebrated novelist Dame Ngaio Marsh.
Neill’s thespian ambitions blossomed while studying for a BA in English at Canterbury University. He joined a travelling theatre troupe, the Players’ Drama Quartet, and spent a year with them, criss-crossing New Zealand in a mini-bus.
Neill then joined the Government-owned National Film Unit, and over the next six years gained a grounding in all aspects of documentary production. He directed roughly nine shorts there, a number of which played before movies in theatres – including FLARE; A SKI TRIP, and SURF SAIL, which followed the first crossing of Cook Strait by wind surfers. He also directed pieces on Ian Athfield (ARCHITECT ATHFIELD) and the Red Mole theatre troupe (RED MOLE ON THE ROAD).
Neill continued to participate in fringe theatre productions and short films, including Barry Barclay’s ASHES. His feature film debut came with LANDFALL (1974). Directed by Neill’s Film Unit colleague Paul Maunder, the experimental feature followed four people who attempt to live an alternate lifestyle. Little seen in New Zealand, LANDFALL won the top award at the Pacific and Asian Film Festival in Shiraz.
Neill put the experience to good use when his ASHES performance helped him win the leading role in breakthrough NZ feature SLEEPING DOGS (1977). His performance as man on the run from a totalitarian Government was perfectly in synch with the material. New Zealand audiences saw an everyman hero to whom they could relate. But more importantly for Neill’s later trajectory, international audiences recognised his star quality as well.
A fork in the road came with an offer to star in Gillian Armstrong’s MY BRILLIANT CAREER (1979) – a title that would be prophetic for Neill. The move to Australia saw him spend time in prosaic Australian TV shows like THE SULLIVANS, but it got him noticed. One of those who saw his potential was veteran English actor James Mason.
Mason recognised kindred qualities in the young man from New Zealand. Not only did he recommend Neill for the lead role of the Anti-Christ in third OMEN movie THE FINAL CONFLICT; Mason also bought him “an air ticket to Europe and found me an agent”. Starring opposite fellow Kiwi Lisa Harrow, Neill’s strong performance helped bring him to the attention of filmmakers beyond the Antipodes.
But it was his starring role in hit British TV series, REILLY: ACE OF SPIES (1983) that consolidated Neill’s reputation, in the process earning him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.
Neill followed REILLY with a mix of European art movies, films in Australia, and television productions on both sides of the Atlantic. Over coming years he worked with directors Wim Wenders, Claude Chabrol, and Fred Schepisi (EVIL ANGELS). Neill starred opposite Sean Connery in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, and fellow Kiwi John Clarke in memorable Australian comedy DEATH IN BRUNSWICK. In the process he became a dependable, even bankable leading man, but Neill’s star was set to rise still further in one extraordinary year.
In 1993 Neill played one of the scientists in Speilberg blockbuster Jurassic Park, and followed it with a powerful performance as a stuck-in-the-mud colonial in Jane Campion classic The Piano. Remembering the later, Neill told The Guardian, “it was very hard to do that movie, chopping off your wife’s finger in a rainstorm in the mud. Could have a bad effect on you. Holly Hunter was such a firebrand. She fought back like buggery. After three takes I was absolutely exhausted”.
Neill has continued to play a wide range of roles across different genres, exhibiting a consistent ability to woo audiences, whether playing hero, villain, or the wizard Merlin (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe). He has even won the pop culture accolade of being a guest on The Simpsons (in an episode on the show’s fifth season).
Neill has regularly starred or co-starred in Australian productions (TV’s ROBBERY UNDER ARMS, DEAD CALM, SIRENS, THE DISH, LITTLE FISH, John Clarke’s STIFF. After more than 14 years working beyond New Zealand shores, he returned home to shoot THE SINKING OF THE RAINBOW WARRIOR (playing real-life Superintendent Allan Galbraith) and THE PIANO. Since then he has joined Kiwi director Gaylene Preston for romantic thriller PERFECT STRANGERS (2003) and NO.2 director Toa Fraser for award-winner DEAN SPANLEY (2008) – playing the title role of a very unusual priest, opposite screen legend Peter O’Toole. The following year Neill starred as the mysterious Mr Jones in Jonathan King’s retooling of Kiwi sci-fi classic UNDER THE MOUNTAIN (a clip of his work in the film can be seen here).
Neill returned to his birthplace of Northern Ireland to film TV series THE TUDORS. 2011 saw him due to appear in a wide range of projects; from the partly Kiwi-shot disaster tale Ice, to JJ Abrams time-travelling drama ALCATRAZ, to acclaimed Tasmanian-set feature THE HUNTER, opposite Willem Dafoe.
The 1995 documentary, CINEMA OF UNEASE, co-directed by Neill with Judy Rymer, remains a definitive, though contentious, study of New Zealand’s “dark and brooding” cinema and culture. The film was made as part of a series of international documentaries marking 100 years of cinema.
Robert Sarkies made his first film when he was 10. By his early 20s his shorts were winning accolades at international festivals. He made his feature debut with SCARFIES, following it with OUT OF THE BLUE, an acclaimed dramatisation of the Aramoana murders. Both features earned 1.2 million at the NZ box office and won best film at the NZ Film awards of their respective years. His film, black comedy TWO LITTLE BOYS starring Bret McKenzie was released in New Zealand in 2012.
In Conversation: Robert Sarkies talks to guest Park Chan-wook
Born in 1948, Alun’s extensive career began at the age of 17 as a cinecamera trainee with the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation where he shot news, current affairs and documentaries for television. After leaving the Corporation, aged 20, he became a freelancer, although he didn’t use the term at the time, and was involved with feature work from the beginning of the new wave of New Zealand cinema.
Alun’s work features in numerous high profile New Zealand projects such as the quintessential GOODBYE PORK PIE (Geoff Murphy), MR WRONG, BREAD AND ROSES, WAR STORIES, PERFECT STRANGERS and LOVELY RITA (Gaylene Preston – 2001 Laureate), HEAVENLY CREATURES, FORGOTTEN SILVER, THE FRIGHTENERS and LORD OF THE RINGS (Peter Jackson), THE PIANO (Jane Campion), WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKEN HEARTED, END OF THE GOLDNE WEATHER and CAME A HOT FRIDAY (Ian Mune), and VIGIL and RIVER QUEEN (Vincent Ward).
Gerard Smyth’s documentary BAREFOOT CINEMA: THE ART AND LIFE OF CINEMATOGRAPHER ALUN BOLLINGER, screened nationally at 2008 Film Festivals and on Television One in the same year.
Alun was a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) – for services to cinematography in 2005 and received an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2006 .
He is a member of the New Zealand Film and Television School Trust and offers occasional master-classes and lectures at film schools. Much sort-after for his skills as a director of photography, Alun prefers to spend at least half the year away from the film business, working on other projects back at his home in Blacks Point, near Reefton on the West Coast of the South Island, where he and his wife Helen live among their extended family.
Biography courtesy of the Arts Foundation.
Robin Scholes graduated from Auckland and Edinburgh universities, becoming a lecturer at both Essex and Auckland Universities in Art History and Film Studies.
She then went on to work for TVNZ, writing, directing and producing documentaries and various studio and magazine shows. In 1980 she attended the New York Film School as a Fulbright Scholar.
Scholes is the producer of several feature films, many of them with a Polynesian or Māori theme, including horror movie THE TATOOIST (2007) directed by Peter Burger; drama CROOKED EARTH (2001) directed by Sam Pillsbury; and the seminal ONCE WERE WARRIORS (1994) directed by Lee Tamahori. She was also executive producer of RAIN (2001).
In 1983 Scholes joined legendary producer Neil Roberts as one of the founding partners of Communicado, which soon grew to become one of New Zealand’s most successful independent production companies. At one point it employed more than 100 people.
Made on a low budget, ONCE WERE WARRIORS was Communicado’s (and Scholes’) first feature. The movie achieved international acclaim, provoked blockbuster box-office and state of the nation debate in Aotearoa, and brought director Lee Tamahori to the attention of Hollywood. Scholes followed it by producing inter-racial romance BROKEN ENGLISH, for director Gregor Nicholas. Like Warriors, it was a rare Kiwi feature in which the country’s dominant Pākehā culture hardly features; again the film screened widely overseas, and won rave reviews from a number of American critics.
Scholes has devised a wide range of factual programmes for television, including MAGIC KIWIS, HEROES, BUSINESS WORLD, SUCCESS, ANIMALS AND US, MONEY, FARMER and another 80s era show, NEW ZEALAND 2000. Her television drama credits include: GREENSTONE, THE CHOSEN, TRUE LIFE STORIES and black comedy BURYING BRIAN, which she co-produced with Julie Christie. In 2001 Scholes was appointed managing director of Communicado, overseeing its merger with Australian television company Screentime. She continued to work on a wide range of television programmes including THE BIG ART TRIP, LIFE GOES ON, and GRASS ROOTS BUSINESS.
Scholes joined Touchdown (now Eyeworks New Zealand) full-time in 2004, completing their first drama projects for film and television in 2006. She is managing a slate of films and TV drama series in various stages of development.
Scholes’ other projects include the feature film debut of Brendan Donovan, THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF GAZZA SNELL, and an adaptation of Lloyd Jones novel MISTER PIP. Scholes was chasing the rights to the latter when she learnt that director Andrew Adamson (THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE) was doing the same. The two joined forces. Shot partly on Bougainville Island, in Papua New Guinea, the film stars HOUSE’S Hugh Laurie and Kiwi Kerry Fox.
Keith Thompson is an eight-time Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Award winning screenwriter, who has twice won the Major AWGIE Award for the best script of the year.
His feature film CLUBLAND screened at Sundance in 2007, where it was picked up for U.S. and international distribution. His adaptation of THE SAPPHIRES, with co-writer Tony Briggs, was an Official Selection at Cannes in 2012 and has been acquired for world-wide distribution by the Weinstein Company. Keith has been a script editor on over 25 produced feature films and is currently Head of Creative, for Goalpost Pictures, Australia. He has written over 80 hours of Australian television.
Timothy White is one of Australia & New Zealand’s most experienced producers. He is a graduate of University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts. His credits include: Nadia Tass’ MALCOLM(AFI Best Film 1986); SPOTSWOOD, starring Anthony Hopkins and Russell Crowe; COSI, starring Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths; Michael Rymer’s ANGEL BABY (AFI Best Film 1995); DEATH IN BRUNSWICK, starring Sam Neil; Vincent Ward’s MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART and Gillian Armstrong’s OSCAR AND LUCINDA, starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.
Timothy executive produced Gregor Jordan’s TWO HANDS (AFI Best Film 1999), starring Heath Ledger and Bryan Brown, before heading up Working Title Films’ Australian arm. Under this banner he executive produced , NED KELLY starring Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Naomi Watts. He also produced GETTIN’ SQUARE, starring Sam Worthington and David Wenham.
In 2005 he produced Toa Fraser’s NO2. The film won the World Cinema Audience Prize at The Sundance Film Festival. This was followed by Robert Sarkies’ OUT OF THE BLUE (Best Film 2008 NZ Film Awards) and THE WARRIOR’S WAY, starring Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston and Geoffrey Rush.
In 2009 Timothy produced Scott Hicks’ THE BOYS ARE BACK, starring Clive Owen. He then executive produced Julia Leigh’s SLEEPING BEAUTY, which premiered in Competition at Cannes in 2011.
Most recently, Timothy executive produced MR PIP, an adaptation of the Booker short-listed novel, directed by Andrew Adamson and starring Hugh Laurie. He has just completed producing Julius Avery’s debut feature SON OF A GUN starring Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites and served as executive producer on James Napier Robertson’s debut THE DARK HORSE and Robert Sarkies tele-feature CONSENT.
Session info: Conversation: Navigating the Film Festival Circuit with Maryanne Redpath and Al Cossar
Mexican filmmaker Dana Rotberg has lived and worked as a director, writer and producer in Mexico, France and Bosnia & Herzegovina. She is currently living in Auckland, New Zealand.
While still living in Mexico Rotberg directed her first film, the feature length documentary ELVIRA LUZ CRUZ: PEMA MAXIMA (1985). It was awarded Best Documentary by the Mexican Film Academy and the Bochica de Oro Award for Best Latin-American Documentary, Colombia.
Following this she directed her first feature film INTIMIDAD (INTIMACY) in 1989, which screened at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival. She went on to write, direct and produce her second feature ANGEL DE FUEGO (ANGEL OF FIRE). She is best known for this film as it was selected as the opening film for Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Director’s Fortnight) at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1992. The film was well received and went on to screen at film festivals around the world.
Following this success, Rotberg spent the next few years in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina where she co-produced two films that also secured the opening spot at Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Cannes International Film Festival).
The feature length documentary MGM SARAJEVO. MAN, GOD AND THE MONSTER (MGM Sarajevo –Covjek, Bog, Monstrum) opened Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in 1994, and the Bosnia, France and Netherlands co-production THE PERFECT CIRCLEtook the same opening spot in 1997.
THE PERFECT CIRCLE won the François Chalais Award and the Cannes Junior Prix at Cannes that year. After this attention the film went on to win many other awards: Special Jury Prize, Paris Film Festival, Best Director Award and Tokyo Grand Prix, Tokyo International Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize – Special Mention, Valladolid International Film Festival, Wim Van-Leer prize, Jerusalem International Film Festival.
She moved back to Mexico in 1997 and in 2000 she directed and co-wrote the feature film OTILA RAUDA which won the NHK Filmmaker’s Award at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.
Dana has recently written and directed WHITE LIED – TUAKIRI HUNA, adapted from the novella Medicine Woman by renowned New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera (WhaleRider). The film was released in New Zealand in June 2013.
Dana is a member of the European Film Academy and the Mexican Council for the Culture and the Arts.
Case Study: Cultural Integrity and White Lies – Tuakiri Huna: An Open Dialogue with Dana Rotberg & Kararaina Rangihau
Chairman of South Pacific Pictures
John Barnett is Chairman of South Pacific Pictures, NZ’s leading film and TV producer. South Pacific Pictures is dedicated to telling New Zealand stories to New Zealand audiences and to the world.
It would be hard to find any New Zealander who hasn’t watched a South Pacific Pictures’ production – from SHORTLAND STREET to OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, GO GIRLS to ALMIGHTY JOHNSONS, from NZ IDOL to the CAPTAIN COOK documentary series, and from SIONE’S WEDDING to WHALE RIDER.
South Pacific Pictures is proud to present audiences with New Zealand stories that resonate with all of us.
Session info:Te Reo and Tikanga Māori, Whose Voice is it? With Tainui Stephens, Waihoroi Shortland and John Barnett
Special Effects Artist
Film fanatic Chris Guise was working as a cartoon portrait artist in Wellington shopping malls when he got a job with special effects company Weta Workshop. For the next five years he worked on The Lord of the Rings trilogy in various areas, including the miniatures department and the armor/weapons department, where he helped construct hundreds of suits of armor required for the films. He went on to sculpt several pieces for the Weta merchandising line, including a Muppets ‘Rowlf the Dog’ bust, which won the World’s Best Statue/Bust Global Award at Toy Fair 2003 in New York City.
Chris has also been involved in the Weta Workshop design studio on a wide variety of other projects, including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Black Sheep, King Kong and the television shows Jane and the Dragon and The WotWots. In 2006, Chris was hired as Weta Workshop’s Lead Conceptual Designer for the 2011 Steven Spielberg film The Adventures of Tintin.
Gaylene Preston’s award-winning work has screened extensively at international festivals including Venice, Sundance, Toronto, London, Chicago, Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand.
Her last feature film, HOME BY CHRISTMAS, won critical and popular acclaim and is one of the top 15 grossing New Zealand films of all time at the NZI box office.
She recently made HOPE AND WIRE, a six-part television drama focusing on the social and psychological upheaval during the Christchurch earthquakes.
Gaylene’s career has spanned three decades, and her generosity of spirit and her powerful mentorship and advocacy skills have been central to the development of New Zealand’s filmmaking community.
Panel: Who Gives a Damn About New Zealand Films?
Actor and Filmmaker
Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph is of Atihau-a-Papaarangi and Nga Rauru descent, from Kaiwhaiki Pa, near Whanganui, which is affiliated to Parihaka through longstanding family and political connections. He was given his Maori name, Te Oti Takarangi, in memory of the ancestor who led his people to Parihaka to support the philosophy of peace practiced there.
In 1986, his first job was as a youth worker on the streets of South Auckland, which led him train as a clinical psychologist, a profession he still works in when not making films. His path to filmmaking runs in parallel with his path to Parihaka, via Whanganui, where he lived for 10 years.
In Auckland, he worked as an actor with renowned Maori filmmaker Don Selwyn on some plays for theatre. Selwyn encouraged him to become a director and to find a story worth telling, pointing him in the direction of Parihaka at a time when other events in his life were also pointing that way. He moved to Taranaki, met Taranaki Pou Kuia Marge Raumati and Parihaka leader Te Miringa Hohaia. He worked with Hohaia on the Parihaka Peace Festival and the video archive project which grew out of the Festival. Parihaka kuia, Maata Wharehoka, knowing his passion for storytelling, invited him to go with the children and make a film.
At Parihaka, he met filmmaker Gaylene Preston who became executive producer of Tatarakihi: The Children of Parihaka. He regards Preston and Selwyn as mentors, saying, “They are both story-driven, their films always give justice to the story and the process of telling the story and the audience who is hearing the story. The late Don Selwyn and Gaylene Preston are like the toto weka a rare type of blood greenstone that if you are really lucky as a story teller you may bump into and when you do, hope that some of their commitment and sensibility rubs off.”
Joseph worked in New Plymouth for WAVES Youth Health and Development Centre, often taking troubled youth to Parihaka as part of their healing. He made the Documentary Edge Festival award winning short film Hiding Behind the Green Screen about marijuana addiction, based on one of these workshops. He also won the best up and coming director award at the same festival and the film was an official selection at the FIFO International Documentary Film Festival and the Duke City DocFest. His other film, Hikoi Wairua, was a journey with young people on the Whanganui River, made with his wife, Janine Martin.
He says his psychology work inspires his film work: “I have been listening to people’s stories for a long time in this healing profession. Film is another opportunity to heal because it can share human stories with a greater audience.”
Producer and Assistant Directo
Tim Coddington has over 30 years experience in the industry.
Starting as assistant director and first assistant director on many titles including Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, Tim went on to establish a number of award-winning film and TV production companies including Silverscreen Productions Ltd (Wellington, NZ), Rolling Films Ltd (Auckland, NZ) and Port Productions NZ – a production house for the specialty commercials of Clemenger BBDO.
Tim began producing and line producing feature films and was New Zealand line producer on the Chronicles of Narnia series; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2004/5, and Prince Caspian (2006/7).
Since then he has been co-producer on other big budget films such as Bridge to Terabithia (Disney, 2006) and Yogi Bear 3D (Warner Bros, 2009/10).
His latest co-producer titles include The Emperor (Dir. Peter Webber) and Andrew Adamson’s adaptation of Jones’ Mr Pip (Executive Producer).
Independent filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly is fiercely passionate about what she considers to be the most exciting and innovative element of film and television production – documentary film making.
Pietra was the first NZ documentary director to have a film in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Her film, THE ART STAR AND THE SUDANESE TWINS (2008) won the World Documentary award for Best Editing at Sundance, as well as Qantas awards for Best Director, Editor and Festival Documentary. The film also screened in competition at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hotdocs, Toronto, Zurich International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival and Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.
This year Pietra followed up with the world premiere of her feature documentary MAORI BOY GENIUS at another A-list film festival – the Berlin Film Festival. The film has received considerable international film festival success with invitations to the Sydney, Warsaw, Sheffield Doc/Fest and NZ Film Festivals.
Pietra also directed INSIDE OUTWARD BOUND (2011), produced OCTOBER 15 (2010), and produced and directed ENDS OF THE EARTH (2007), THE RESCUE OF LANI LINGURAR (2006), BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD (2003), and more. She’s a graduate of the two year Binger Doc Lab in Amsterdam, and was the 2010 recipient of the New Zealand Film Commission Producer’s Award.
Leanne Saunders gained a foothold in the industry with Working Title Films and attached sales company Manifesto Film Sales, UK. On return to New Zealand she worked as an in-house and freelance production manager before establishing herself as a producer of short form drama, commonly known as TV commercials.
She launched as a feature film producer under her newly formed company Severe Features with micro budget digital film CHRISTMAS(2003) directed by Gregory King, which was selected for Toronto, Locarno, Edinburgh, and Melbourne. She then set up low budget feature scheme, Headstrong with business partners Ant Timpson and Paul Swadel, looking to energise opportunities for filmmakers to make feature films, recognising international trends around digital acquisition and distribution. Through the scheme she executive produced THE DEVIL DARED ME TO (2007), World Premiere at SXSW and sold in the UK to Wild Bunch and to BollAG for ROW and A SONG OF GOOD (2008), World Premiere at Rotterdam 2008; other festivals include Warsaw, Durban, Karlovy Vary, Gijon and Philadelphia.
She partnered with Curious Film to produce Stephen Kang’s feature film DESERT (2010), which premiered at Pusan and was released in NZ/Australia by Curious Distribution. She also came on board with Curious and AKA Films to co-produce Kang’s short film BLUE (2011) Winner Grand Prix Critics Week Cannes 2011.
She produced Paul Campion’s low budget horror THE DEVIL’S ROCK (2011) as an unofficial co-venture between UK and NZ, which was has sold to 30 territories including UK (Metrodome) and US/ Canada (Entertainment One) as well as screening in many leading genre festivals including Fantasia, San Sebastian and Yubari.
Currently in release is the debut feature of Daniel Joseph Borgman, THE WEIGHT OF ELEPHANTS, a co-production with leading European production company, Zentropa Entertainments5 and Sweden’s Film I Väst. It premiered in Forum and Generation sections of the Berlin Film Festival 2013.
Co-Pro Case Study – The Weight of Elephants: What Scandinavia does right with Leanne Saunders and Daniel Borgman
Director and Writer
Roger Horrocks can offer a long-term perspective on the New Zealand industry since he has been involved with film since the early 1970s, as a champion of film-making, film archiving, and film education. He was a board member of NZ On Air for its first ten years. In 2004 he received an MNZM award for his “services to the film and television industries,” and in 2010 received the Industry Mentor Award at the first Writers’ Guild national scriptwriting awards. He has researched, written or directed a number of films, and currently works with his wife Shirley Horrocks at Point of View Productions. His latest project is the script for Len Lye: the opera, which will be premiered at the Maidment Theatre in Auckland on September 5th-8th. (Roger once worked as the assistant of film-maker Len Lye.)
Larry Parr, Ngāti Hikitanga, Ngāti Raukawa me Muaūpoko
A significant figure in New Zealand screen industry, Larry Parr has been making local film and television stories for over 30 years.
Larry had a hand in producing some of New Zealand’s most iconic feature films including SLEEPING DOGS, SMASH PALACE and CAME A HOT FRIDAY. For a period in the mid-1980s he was one of the most prolific producers New Zealand had seen, with a roster that ranged from CONSTANCE through to teen movie QUEEN CITY ROCKER, and mood piece STARLIGHT HOTEL. Parr has also been a scriptwriter, a feature film director (FRACTURE, A SOLDERS TALE) and a TV executive – helping bring landmark Maori anthology series E TIPU E REA to the screen.
In 1992 Parr was appointed director of production for Television New Zealand at Avalon. He remained there 12 months, before resuming his producing career with a series of low budget films made through his new company Kahukura Productions. One of the first Kahukura titles to emerge was Vanessa Alexander’s quirky MAGIK AND ROSE.
In 2005 a new phase began for Parr with his appointment as head of programming at the newly formed Māori Television. A milestone during this time was the award-winning 2006 ANZAC DAY, which many believe helped secure the place of Maori Television in the New Zealand broadcasting landscape.
Larry is currently Manager of the Television Funding Portfolio at Te Māngai Pāho, the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency.
Producer & Director
Annie Goldson has been producing and directing award-winning documentaries, docudramas and experimental film/video for 25 years in the United States and New Zealand. Her best-known titles include PUNITIVE DAMAGE, GEORGIE GIRL, ELGAR’S ENIGMA, AN ISLAND CALLING and BROTHER NUMBER ONE.
All titles have also garnered major awards at international film festivals and have screened widely throughout broadcast outlets, including PBS, ADR, HBO, Channel 4 and Canalplus and through educational institutions.
She produced and directed her current film HE TOKI HUNA (THE HIDDEN ADZE),which explores New Zealand’s role in Afghanistan, with Kay Ellmers from Tumanako Productions. HE TOKI was commissioned by Maori Television that aired a broadcast version the day before ANZAC Day 2013. Annie has just completed editing a feature version which is screening at the current New Zealand International Film Festival. She has just returned from a shoot in Tonga where she is in development on an historical docudrama, William Mariner, that she is producing with Rebekah Kelly and Nikki Mariner.
Annie is also a writer and has published articles in books and journals such as The Listener (NZ), Landfall, Screen, Semiotext(e), Social Text, and others. Her book Landscape, Memory, Dad and Me published by Victoria University Publications. Annie has also been director of the biennial New Zealand International Documentary Conference that has run since 1996, is a trustee of the New Zealand International Documentary Festival, DocEdge and was the President of the Screen Directors’ Guild of New Zealand for three years.
She received her PhD in Film and Television Studies from The University of Auckland and is currently a Professor at the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at that institution. In 2006 she received an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to film.
For more information about Annie’s films:
Workshop: Documentary with Annie Goldson
Shuchi Kothari has written and/or produced award winning films (FIRAAQ, APRON STRINGS, COFFEE & ALLAH, FLEETING BEAUTY) that have screened at over 100 international festivals, including Venice, Toronto, Telluride, and Cannes. She’s currently writing an anime feature set in the USA and Japan, and most recently made her first foray into directing drama with SHIT ONE CARRIES, a short film about awkward intimacies between parents and children when caregiving roles are reversed. Shuchi teaches Screen Production at the University of Auckland.
See Shuchi in the following session:
Directing with David Michôd– Saturday 30 September, 3.00pm.
Writer, actor, director and TV presenter
Oscar Kightley is a critically acclaimed writer, actor, director and television presenter renowned for his comedy work, particularly with BRO’TOWN and The Naked Samoans.
Oscar started writing for the stage in 1996 with A Frigate Bird Sings (co-written with David Fane), which gained success at the 1996 New Zealand International Arts Festival. Oscar’s first solo venture as a playwright, Dawn Raids, premiered in Auckland a year later and in 1998 he was awarded the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. In 2004, Oscar wrote Niu Sila with Dave Armstrong, which played to sell-out crowds. In 2006, Oscar was made a Laureate by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.
Oscar wore two hats as the lead actor and co-writer of 2006 hit film SIONE’S WEDDING which reached the number one position in the New Zealand box office in its first week of release, and had the biggest opening weekend of any New Zealand-made film. SIONE’S WEDDING grossed over $4 million at the New Zealand box office and it is still in the all-time’s top five most popular New Zealand films.
Oscar is a member of the Naked Samoans comedy group, who have performed all over New Zealand since 1998. Oscar co-hosted TV3’s coverage of Super 12 Rugby and the weekly sports show, SPORTZAH, as well as being a writer/performer for SKITZ and TELLY LAUGHS for TV3. He’s also a presenter on Nui FM’s breakfast show. Oscar is also one of the creators and writers of the animated TV3 comedy phenomenon BRO’TOWN, which has won several Best Comedy prices at the NZ Screen Awards.
In 2007 Oscar was appointed as a member of Creative New Zealand’s Arts Council by then Prime Minister and Minister for the Arts – Helen Clark and in 2009, he featured in the Listener’s list of New Zealand’s 50 most powerful people. More recently, Oscar has featured in the TV3 series RADIRADIRAH, reprised his role of Albert in the sequel of SIONE’S WEDDING, which he wrote with James Griffin, as well as being the director on Series 2 of SUPERCITY.
His most recent role was as lead police detective Harry Anglesea in TV3’s HARRY.
Case Study: We Need to Talk About Harry
News entertainment reporter
Kate Rodger is TV3’s 3News entertainment reporter and Film3 reviewer, a self-confessed addict of all things cinema.
Over her past decade with 3News, her job has taken her all over New Zealand and all over the world, covering film premieres, visiting movie sets, shooting interviews and filing from as far afield as Egypt, Rome, Samoa, Sydney, Chicago, Hollywood and Hamilton. A veteran of the Oscar’s red carpet carnage, she has crossed live from Royal premieres in London with James Bond, survived rabid Robert Pattinson fans at not one but two Twilight red carpet premieres, and has covered the Cannes, Toronto, Sundance and Doha film festivals.
In mid-2010 she launched her own half hour local film show REEL LATE WITH KATE, which ran for 35 episodes over ten months on the TV3 network to excellent ratings and gaining an avid and loyal following from kiwi film lovers. Funding permitting, and in the words of Arnie, she promises her show will be back!
She’s a passionate advocate of local film, pushing for mainstream broadcast coverage of local film premieres and releases, and has acted as a judge, host and ambassador for several local film competitions, festivals and awards evenings, including the 48Hour Film Festival, Show Me Shorts, the Documentary Edge Festival and the Reel Screen Awards.
Kate has recently expanded her broadcast and online Film3 reviews on 3News and 3news.co.nz, in an additional role as print reviewer for the Australian Women’s Weekly.
Tui (Nga Puhi) is a producer with more than 20 years experience domestically and internationally in film video, television, and marketing communications.
In recent years Tui has focused firmly on film while working as both a marketing communications consultant and TV director. He has a slate of features in development under the Tauihu Media banner together with writer/producer Bradford Haami. And from 2010 – 2012, Tui, Brad and colleague Poata Eruera executive produced Tauihu Shorts, one of the New Zealand Film Commission’s Executive Producer PODs for Premiere Shorts.
Tui began his career in Japan working for Virgin Earth, which produced stories for Entertainment Tonight, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and The Playboy Channel. He went on to establish successful location co-ordination company Topco, working with Japanese film production companies shooting TVCs in New Zealand.
Two separate stints followed as a writer, director, producer, and later executive producer at leading New Zealand production company Communicado. In between Tui spent a further five years in Japan in varied roles including as an executive producer for financial information giant Reuters.
Tui then took up the role of managing director and executive producer for seven years of full-service marketing communications company Fresh Media. Fresh provided strategic advice for and tactical implementation of marcomms projects, including branded documentary and information programming for large and small businesses, non-profit organisations and government departments.
After completing her Bachelor of Media Arts with Honours, her student film Betty Banned Sweets, was accepted into several high profile, international film festivals including Melbourne International Film Festival 2008 where she was invited to participate in the Melbourne International Film Festival ‘Accelerator’ Programme. The film went on to screen at Gijon International Film Festival 2008, Aspen Short Film Festival 2009, International Festival of Rotterdam 2009, Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009 and was in competition at the Clermont-Ferrand International Festival 2009.
Her second film Elaine Rides Again premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival 2011, Show Me Shorts Festival 2011 and was in competition at the 58th Cork Film Festival 2011.
In 2011, Michelle spent three months in New York working as an intern in the script development department of Killer Films, a company at the forefront of independent American cinema headed by producers Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler.
Her short Ellen Is Leaving was a finalist in the ‘New Zealand’s Best’ Short Film Programme at the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival.
When Michelle is not working on a film she is probably singing and playing the omnichord in Wellington band The Sing Songs.
Rena Owen’s electrifying lead performance in the New Zealand classic feature film, Once Were Warriors,garnered her universal rave reviews and multiple international Best Actress Awards. Lindsay Shelton of the NZFC declared her to be, “The pre-eminent cinema Actress of her generation”. David Denby stated, “Owen’s performance is classic!” Roger Ebert proclaimed, “You don’t often see acting like this in the movies. The two leads bring the Academy Awards into perspective”. Ruby Rich called her “The Bette Davis from Down Under” and Thelma Adams wrote, “Owen has the looks of Jeanne Moreau, the raw emotional power of Anna Magnani and a slim athleticism all her own”.
One of 9 children, Owen was born and bred in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand to a Maori/Welsh Father and a European Mother. Throughout her youth she was active in the Maori Culture Club entertaining with Maori singing and dancing. She was published at 8 when she won a national children’s poetry contest. Her first stage role was at 15 in South Pacific followed by the leading role in Calamity Jane. Despite knowing her talents and passion were in creativity, upon graduating the Arts were not considered a viable career.
At 18, she moved to Auckland to pursue a Nursing Career and 3 years later qualified as a General & Obstetric Nurse. 1983 she went on her OE, a common Kiwi pursuit, and landed in London. Awed by the huge city, the bright lights of the entertainment world and the temptations that came with it easily seduced her. She played with drugs and got burnt. But this life changing experience led her back to her true path, to be an artist.
1985 she enrolled in the Actors Institute of London. During those early years she acted in plays and wrote her first stage play. Produced by Clean Break with Rena in the lead, it enjoyed a successful London tour and was published by NZ Playmarket in 1991. Other UK highlights include, Voices from Prison for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Outside In, which debuted at the Edinburgh Festival and toured London. The reputable award-winning Actress, Ann Mitchell was an instrumental mentor and friend in these formative years of Rena’s acting and writing career.
Rena returned to NZ in 1989. In constant pursuit of learning, honing and refining her craft, she continued to work extensively as an actor and writer in theater and television. Daddy’s Girl written by and starring Rena enjoyed a critically acclaimed season. She acted in Maori theater, directed stage plays, helped to devise plays, worked as a dramaturgy for Playmarket and wrote and read short stories for Radio NZ.
Rena’s first feature film was a supporting role in the Kevin Reynolds/Kevin Costner film, Rapa Nui. This was followed by the lead in Once Were Warriors. Voted one of Time Magazine’s top 10 films in 1994, the film garnered over 30 international awards and screened in 66 countries. It propelled Rena onto the international film stage.
Instead of pursuing an acting career in Hollywood whilst she was hot, she returned to work in the theater in NZ. Followed by more roles in television and film. She was a series regular on Australia’s version of ER playing the head nurse. And had the privilege of acting in a Rolf De Heer film, Dance Me To My Song, which was in competition at Cannes and garnered her an AFI nomination in 1999. She has relished being on the jury of multiple international film festivals.
In 2000, Rena settled in Los Angeles to learn more about filmmaking. She also continues to act in a wide variety of projects from international blockbuster film franchises like Star Wars, or AI, to low budget Independent feature or short-films, television guest star roles and once every few years, a substantial theater piece. Rena has been developing the first totally pre-colonial epic NZ feature film based on the first historical novel to be written by a Maori, “Behind The Tattooed Face” by Heretaunga Pat Baker.
Michael Eldred started his career in 1994 with Dendy Films in Australia, shortly before that company launched the highly successful ONCE WERE WARRIORSto Australian audiences. He went on to roles with Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Dendy Cinemas & Hoyts Distribution before relocating to New Zealand in 2005.
In that territory he set up the local office of Dendy Films & is currently employed by the entertainment outfit Madman NZ. Amongst the many films he has released in NZ are successful local films OUT OF THE BLUE, smash hit BOY, acclaimed THE ORATOR, and recent success THE DARK HORSE.
Session info: The Marketing and Distribution of What We Do in the Shadows with Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley and Michael Eldred
Writer and Director
Catherine Bisley is a Wellington based writer and director. She grew up in rural communities all over the North Island and is of Ngāpuhi (Te Kapotai, Ngati Hau), Danish, and Scottish descent. At age 12, her ambition in life was to be a goat farmer; now, aged 26, one of the films she is developing is about a rhinoceros.
In 2008, Catherine graduated with a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and an Honours degree in Film and English literature from Victoria University. Since then, she has written, directed, and co-produced two self-funded short films, the fish will swim and Alwyn Motel. Alwyn Motel recently premiered at the New Zealand Film Festival. Her radio play Curtains was produced by Radio New Zealand as a winner of their Student Shorts competition (2008) and her feature film script December was awarded funding as the winner of the New Zealand Film Commission’s First Writers Initiative that same year. She was an Escalator finalist in 2011 and travelled to Killer Films, New York, on a Script to Screen scholarship in 2012. In September, she will be shooting her next short film Wide Eyed, which is being funded through Premiere Shorts and produced by Catherine Fitzgerald. She also has two feature films in development.
Catherine has also written about film for award winning websites The Lumiere Reader and New Zealand on Screen and is a freelance script editor and photographer. Outside of film, she works part-time as a photograph and manuscript librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library.
Ant Timpson has been involved with exhibition, distribution and production since 1987. He is the founder of the following national film operations: Incredibly Strange Film Festival, 48Hours, Cinema Circus, Secret Cinema, Make My Movie and the 24Hour Movie Marathon.
His 48 Hours event attracts 10,000 participants and is in its 10th year. He has exec-produced the features The Devil Dared Me To, A Song of Good and How To Meet Girls From A Distance. He produced the multi-country anthology The ABC’s of Death with Magnolia Pictures and is in development with another feature with Canadian based collective RKSS and Jason (Hobo With A Shotgun) Eisener. Timpson was recently awarded the first-ever New Zealand Arts Entrepreneur of the Year.
Philippa Campbell is the producer of Jane Campion’s Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning series TOP OF THE LAKE. She has produced six feature films, including the acclaimed RAIN, which premiered in competition in Cannes, Sundance award winner NO.2, comedy-horror hit BLACK SHEEP and Florian Habicht’s genre-busting RUBBINGS FROM A LIVE MAN. She is currently Executive Producer of Jackie Van Beek’s debut feature THE INLAND ROAD and in prep for UK/NZ co-production CROAK. In 2015, she was dramaturg of Emily Perkins’ first play, a contemporary reimagining of Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE, directed by Colin McColl for Auckland Theatre Company. Philippa is a partner in the new production company Field Theory.
Producer, former CEO of NZFC
Dave Gibson is the former CEO of the NZFC and has produced feature films and television programmes that have sold in more than eighty countries worldwide. He has co-produced major television drama series and feature films with partners based in Canada, Britain, Australia, Germany and Sweden.
He has served on the board of the New Zealand Drama School and was the inaugural Chair of the New Zealand Independent Producers and Directors Guild. He was the Chairman of Project Blue Sky (a major New Zealand film and television initiative that won the CER court case in Australia) and in 1997/1998 was the President of SPADA. Dave was awarded the honour of SPADA Industry Champion in 2005.
In 2012 he was appointed an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in recognition of his services to the film and television industries.
Writer, Director, Producer
Vanessa Alexander is a multi award-winning writer, director and producer. She earned her place in the industry by writing and directing a feature film for $US 100,000: offbeat buddy movie MAGIC AND ROSE went on to screen at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival Forum for low-budget features, and win a jury prize at the Oporto Film Festival.
Won over by her directing and promotional work on MAGIK AND ROSE, South Pacific Pictures head John Barnett invited Alexander to produce (and later write for and direct) a TV series for teenage girls: nominated for an International Emmy, BEING EVE sold to more than 40 territories including the US, where it aired on Nickelodeon/Noggin.
Alexander’s extensive awards list includes SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year, a Gold and Silver World Medal at the New York Festival, Best Series and Best Children’s Series at the NZ Screen Awards, the Qantas Media Peace Award, the Prix Grande at the Danube Television Festival, A Telly Award and the World Drama Trust International Student Playwright Competition. Her work on the first televised episode of local hit OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE garnered her a Best Director nomination at the 2005 Qantas TV awards.
She has also directed on MERCY PEAK, big-budget SPP/BBC co-production MADDIGAN’S QUEST and POWER RANGERS. As a producer, Alexander has worked on a number of award-winning short films including the Oscar-nominated TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT and more recently CARGO (Venice, London, Melbourne, Tribeca, Paris, Telluride 2008).
In 2003 she spent time on the script development team at Working Title UK, as the first international intern in their training program. The following year she was one of eight writers invited from around the world to take part in European screenwriting lab eQuinoxe, with her screenplay A Life in Romance.
She has consulted on several screenplays in development with the New Zealand Film Commission, taught writing workshops, worked as a script producer, and is a credited writer on several Kiwi drama series (THIS IS NOT MY LIFE, THE PRETENDER, BURYING BRIAN).
Alexander has a BA in English Literature, and an MA in Film from Melbourne University’s Victoria College of Art. She has also done workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Script Factory, and interned as a director with America’s Steven Bochco Productions, on the sets of MURDER ONE and NYPD BLUE.
Alexander is a former Chair of Script to Screen and was a board member of the New Zealand Film Commission. She has served on numerous industry funding and development panels.
Bio provided by NZ On Screen
Producer, writer and script consultant
Christina Milligan is an Auckland-based producer, writer and script consultant. Her most recent production is the feature documentary THE PRICE OF PEACE, directed by Kim Webby, which is currently playing in cinemas in the North Island after a very successful run at the NZ International Film Festival. As a producer or executive producer, her work includes the award-winning features MT ZION and THE END OF THE GOLDEN WEATHER as well as many television dramas for both adults and children. She has written for a number of prime-time Australian drama series and has script-edited hundreds of hours of drama including Emmy-finalist HANLON. Christina is also a researcher in the field of indigenous filmmaking and lectures in screen production and screenwriting at AUT University.
When Nick Ward was very young one of his teachers wrote this on a report card: “Nicholas should spend more time concentrating on what is going on in the classroom and less time staring out the window.” To date that is the worse piece of advice he has ever received. The best stuff is always happening out the window.
Nick Ward is currently one of New Zealand’s most prolific writers. He is the writer behind movies such as STICKMEN and SECOND-HAND WEDDING and has worked on TV shows such as OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE and NOTHING TRIVIAL. He currently has several features in development, two of them with Michelle Turner.
Leanne Pooley is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished documentary filmmakers having directed over 20 films. In 2011 Leanne’s work was recognised by the New Zealand Arts Foundation and she was made a New Zealand Arts Laureate.
Born and raised in Canada, she immigrated to New Zealand in the mid-1980s and began working in the New Zealand television industry.
In 1992 she moved to England where she made documentaries for Britain’s major broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 as well as PBS in America. Her films featured on internationally acclaimed series such as; Everyman, Modern Times, and 40 Minutes.
Pooley’s documentaries have screened in more than 100 countries, and include topics ranging from rugby to the Pope.
Upon her return to New Zealand in 1997, Pooley established the independent production company Spacific Films.
Leanne’s latest work is SHACKLETON’S CAPTAIN a feature length dramatised documentary about Frank Worsley. Worsley was Captain of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance which was crushed by pack-ice off the coast of Antarctica in 1915. After surviving nearly 2 years on the ice Worsley navigated a lifeboat 800 miles across the Southern Ocean to seek help. His feat is considered one of the greatest ocean adventures of all time. Produced by Making Movies and Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion for television the docu-drama is a New Zealand/German co-production.
In 2009 Leanne directed TOPP TWINS – UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS a theatrical feature about the lives of lesbian, singing, twin sister comedy duo, the Topp Twins. The film won 21 International Awards including “Audience Awards” at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Gothenburg International Film Festival among others. It has won jury awards at the Seattle Film Festival, New Doc New York, The Nashville Film Festival and the Florida Film Festival among others. It also won “Best Feature” at the NZ Film & TV Awards, and reached nearly $2 million at the New Zealand box office making it the most successful New Zealand documentary of all time.
Previous documentaries include the Qantas Award “Best Documentary” winning film RELATIVE GUILT, THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING for the American Discovery Network, Kiwi Buddha as seen on National Geographic and HAUNTING DOUGLAS about choreographer Douglas Wright.
HAUNTING DOUGLAS was her first feature length documentary, and has now screened at festivals around the world. HAUNTING DOUGLAS earned Leanne the award for “Best Director” at the 2005 New Zealand Screen Awards. The film also won “Best Documentary” at the International Reel Dance Awards.
Her documentary feature THE PROMISE, about euthanasia campaigner Lesley Martin won the 2006 New Zealand Screen Award for “Best Documentary”. In 2006 Leanne produced and directed TRY REVOLUTION, exploring how rugby was used to help bring down South Africa’s apartheid regime, and in 2007 BEING BILLY APPLE, another feature length documentary, about the man who became a living work of art.
Leanne serves as a judge for the International Emmy Awards, has extensive teaching experience, and has published several articles on documentary filmmaking.
She lives in Auckland with her husband and two children.
Andrew Miller is a film programmer for Event Cinemas, specialising in utilising their digital screens to open doors for non-traditional films, with a personal focus on supporting local filmmakers wherever possible. Other projects include launching The (unofficial) Kiwi Movie Month (and a bit), leading a digital re-release of Footrot Flats for its 25th Anniversary and the world’s first season of Action Sports films in cinemas in true cinema formats.
Prior to returning to NZ in 2010, Emily Anderton was based in London where she was an Executive at the New Cinema Fund of the UK Film Council. She was responsible for a diverse slate of projects including the BAFTA nominated films SUBMARINE (dir Richard Ayoade) and THE ARBOR (dir Clio Barnard). She was also involved in the set up and ongoing support of the low budget studio Warp X who produced Sundance favourites such as A COMPLETE HISTORY OF MY SEXUAL FAILURES (dir Chris Waitt), genre films such as DONKEY PUNCH (dir Olly Blackburn), and the comedy BUNNY AND THE BULL (dir Paul King).
Tim Riley was a corporate lawyer for 12 years before he saw the light and crossed over from the dark side. He now specialises in film and TV, general commercial, IP and media law.
Tim acts for a number of participants across the film and television industries in New Zealand, including producers, industry organisations, directors, writers, actors, and crew.
Managing Director of the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft
Tony Eaton is the Managing Director of the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft, the New Zealand-based program for the Motion Picture Association (MPA). In this role, he works closely with industry, government, law enforcement authorities and educational institutions to promote the interests of the screen community, retailers and consumers and to protect them from the damage caused by content theft and copyright infringements.
Tony has been instrumental in creating formal cooperation agreements with the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Unit and with the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Tony has also facilitated the establishment of a secondary school NCEA qualification (National Certificate of Education Achievement) in Media Studies, which acknowledges the importance of respecting copyright throughout New Zealand.
Previously, he had a successful career serving in the New Zealand Police. Tony is currently the Chair of the Copyright Council of New Zealand as well as the Executive Secretary and General Manager of both the Motion Picture Distributors’ Association (MPDA) and the Home Entertainment Association of New Zealand (HEANZ). He also is a Board Member for the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham).
Chief Executive of InternetNZ
Vikram has been Chief Executive of InternetNZ since February 2010. InternetNZ is a not-for-profit aimed at protecting and promoting the internet for New Zealand. Prior to that, in New Zealand he has worked for the State Services Commission and Telecom NZ. Vikram is involved in everything to do with the internet and has a particular interest in the social and economic opportunities.
Founder of Nacirema Releasing
Lisa is the founder of Nacirema Releasing, a new venture licensing NZ film content for digital distribution in North America. She attended the American Film Institute and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. In Los Angeles, she worked in the Distribution Division of Cookie Jar Entertainment and for DIC Entertainment where she delivered over 400 episodes of animated children’s shows to US broadcasters including FOX, Warner Bros, UPN, Tribune, and CBS. Her credits include the American television series Strawberry Shortcake, Stargate Infinity, Trollz, Horseland, Alienators, Sushi Pack and more. Her production team won an Emmy for The New Adventures of Madeline.
Since 2009, her company evaluRATES, has provided ratings for over 200 features, documentaries, and web-series sold into digital distribution in North America.
Lisa is the author of two influential media-related books: Gender Politics and MTV: Voicing the Difference(Temple University Press) and The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media (Routledge Press). She has written an award-winning feature film script, an animated feature treatment optioned by 100 Meter Films in Japan and was a participant in the NZFC’s Script Factory Workshop.
In 2010, she moved from Los Angeles to become a permanent resident of New Zealand.
Head of Sales & Marketing, New Zealand Film Commission
James Thompson is Head of Sales & Marketing at the New Zealand Film Commission. James assumes overall responsibility for domestic and international sales and marketing activities of the New Zealand Film Commission. He oversees the NZFC’s participation at major international film markets and the development of closer relationships with local and international distributors, film festivals and co-investors. This includes management of the NZFC’s commercial sales agency operation, which represents over 100 New Zealand feature titles. James has negotiated distribution deals for NZ film titles with major independents and Studio divisions for key territories such as North America, the UK and Europe.
James previously worked as a lawyer in a major NZ commercial law firm and as a Senior Manager with KPMG in Europe. In 2002 he returned to NZ and worked in various production roles in the screen industry before joining the NZFC in Business Affairs in 2006. He has represented the NZFC at major international film markets since 2006 and was appointed Head of Sales and Marketing in 2009.
Managing Director of Quickflix NZ
Paddy Buckley is Managing Director of Quickflix NZ.
Quickflix is New Zealand’s first on demand streaming movie service, offering a range of films and TV shows on a month-to-month subscription basis as well as latest new release films on Pay Per View. Content is delivered over the internet and viewed through a growing range of internet connected household devices (smart TVs, Blu-ray players and home theatre systems, games consoles, tablets and smartphones).
Before coming to New Zealand, Paddy was a media and technology lawyer in London.
Paul Davis has worked in the film industry for more than 25 years. He was Producer of New Zealand films SIONE’S 2, MY WEDDING AND OTHER SECRETS and WE’RE HERE TO HELP and Executive Producer of the original SIONE’S WEDDING and THE TATTOOIST.
Prior to his recent work in New Zealand, Paul was President of Worldwide Marketing at Intermedia, a London-based leading independent film development, financing and distribution company.
In that role he oversaw the marketing of 10-12 feature films a year, preparing marketing campaigns for presales, overseeing marketing materials and publicity, liaison with distributors and approval of local release campaigns and participation at major festivals.
Associate Professor in Commercial Law
Alexandra Sims is an Associate Professor in Commercial Law at the University of Auckland. Alex’s main area of research, publication and teaching is copyright law. She has published extensively on intellectual property law and other aspects of commercial law in both New Zealand and internationally.
Kathryn Burnett is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and script development consultant who has worked in film and television for over 18 years. She currently has several feature projects in development and runs her BrainStorm workshops in addition to script consulting on several feature films. Last year she produced a season of her play “Mike & Virginia” (co-writer Nick Ward) in the 2011 International Comedy Festival.
She has significant television writing credits and has developed numerous television series for New Zealand’s major production companies. In addition, she has worked as a Script Consultant/Assessor on – LOVE BIRDS, DEVIL’S ROCK, DEAN SPANLEY, THE FERRYMAN, MIDNIGHT GOLFER and POPPY among others. For the last 8 years she has been a regular Script Assessor for NZ On Air and South Pacific Pictures – in addition to individual writers and producers.
From 1997 to 2000 Kathryn was the Executive Director of the New Zealand Writers Guild. During this time she won a Qantas Media Award for her humour column in She & More magazine and published a book of humourous essays – “Has Johnny Come Lately?”through HarperCollins.