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The Power of Illusion

This month’s Power of Inclusion (POI) Summit, organised by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and Women in Film and Television New Zealand (WIFT) with support from Disney, was widely criticised by local filmmakers for its cost, which excluded many of us (1), especially those outside Auckland and those affected by school holidays. Like the conditions for our writers outlined in Mandy Hager’s Valuing Our Writers article last week, this issue highlighted artist poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand, almost always more severe for those from groups who already experience the effects of the wage gap, often in association with unpaid work (2). I shared the general concern about the POI costs and signed a widely-circulated letter that outlined alternatives to promote more inclusion. So I was delighted last week when Anita Rossbach, a Wellington-based film-maker with a background in human rights, provided a detailed analysis of the NZFC/WIFT meeting she attended with the organisers of the letter.…

Ghazaleh Golbakhsh

Ghazaleh, an Iranian New Zealander and multihyphenate filmmaker, came to Aotearoa aged 6. Her Masters in Documentary thesis film, Iran in Transit, premiered at the International Student Film Festival in Tel Aviv after winning the festival’s Alternative Competition and won the Outstanding Student Film award at the Beijing Student Film Festival in 2013.  Ghazaleh then used a Fulbright General Graduate award for further post-graduate studies in film production and screenwriting at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, became an intern for Sundance and was elected as the Women of Cinematic Arts Student Board co-chair. As an emerging filmmaker she was selected for the first Commonwealth Writers Film Lab in Auckland. Her fifth short film, The Waiting Room, has just been selected for the International Exile Film Festival in Sweden. Four years ago, when I last interviewed her, Ghazaleh’s feature screenplay At the End of the World, a coming of age road trip comedy, had b…