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Showing posts from February, 2017

NZ Update 4: Writers & Directors A-Z

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This is the final part of a 4-Part NZ Update series. Part 1 was Gender Breakthrough in New Zealand Film Commission Funding. Part 2 was a letter to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women, Paula Bennett, about the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. Part 3: WIFTNZ.

New Zealand women who write and direct long-form screen works – many of them also actors – are blossoming. Five years ago, if I created this kind of list, I would have been confident that I included most of them. And because there were so few women whose work reached cinemas I also found it straightforward to offer to interview them all. Those things are no longer true. It was a fine moment when I realised I could (just about) do an A-Z of those I do know about. A less fine moment when I realised that it would take me all year to make it comprehensive: I haven't got enough time to do that.

So how did I compile this list? It's arbitrary and a little random. I thought about whose work excites me, whose work I hunge…

NZ Update 3: WIFT New Zealand

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This is Part 3 of an NZ Update 4-part series. Part 1 was Gender Breakthrough in New Zealand Film Commission Funding. Part 2 was a letter to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women, Paula Bennett, about the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. Part 4 is a not-quite-A-Z of New Zealand women directors and some writers.

So how has Women in Film & Television New Zealand (WIFTNZ) responded to the lack of gender parity between women and men who write and direct, in particular the lack of gender parity in allocation of taxpayer funding? For example, does it endorse Telefilm Canada's statement, referred to back in Part 1 and to some extent implicit in the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC)'s latest Annual Report?–
Based on industry recommendations that these two roles require immediate critical attention, gender parity amongst directors and screenwriters was identified as a priority (emphasis added).The simple answer: No-one Knows For Sure. And because of this, I believe it'…

Treat Her Right!

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New Zealand women are coming together in a New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Campaign, to tell the government that it’s time to ‘Treat Her Right’ and enforce New Zealand’s Equal Pay Act, passed in 1972. The campaign’s just started, with a remake of the Donna Summer video and song She Works Hard for the Money. It will culminate on International Women’s Day, 8 March.

Directed by Loren Taylor — one of New Zealand’s many accomplished actor/writer/directors, perhaps best known for her role in Eagle vs Shark — She Works Hard for the Money features a range of Kiwi comedians, personalities and members of the public. It was shot by 2016 New Zealand Cinematographer of the year Ginny Loane (Mahana).

NZ Update 2: Letter to Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett

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Kia ora Deputy Prime Minster, and congratulations. 
After the news of your promotion came, and the news that you are now also Minister for Women (and Minister of various other things), it was good to hear you say that you’re a feminist, most of the time. And to read that you said ‘I hope there are some young Māori women out there watching the news tonight who say, 'in a few years that is going to be me'’. 

Does that mean you're familiar with Geena Davis' mantra, amplified through her Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media: 'If She Can See It She Can Be It'? Does it mean you're familiar with director (Selma, Queen Sugar, 13th etc) Ava DuVernay's questions
Why is it important for girls and women to see themselves on screen? ...Film is a mirror. If you don’t see yourself, does it mean you don’t exist?
And I remember a couple of years ago listening to you at the Beehive, when you launched the Jade Speaks Up project – including a short animation I scripted. …

NZ Update 1: Gender Breakthrough in New Zealand Film Commission Funding

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In Hollywood, it's getting worse for women directors.  Legal action to remedy this is steaming ahead, with a high-powered summit due in March. Meanwhile women writers and directors outside Hollywood  are independently making more and more long-form projects, including many excellent webseries that bypass the ongoing problems for traditional marketing and distribution of women's work. Globally, there's also an increase in cross-border alliances among filmmakers and activists.  

With all this in mind, here's the first of a four-part series about what's happening in Aotearoa New Zealand right now, building on last year'sWomen Are *Not* the Problem?;2015'sThe Activist Complex Female Protagonist Whispers in New Zealand; my Writer and Director Gender in New Zealand Feature Films(including TV movies) list; and the other posts listed inGender Issues in Film in New Zealand.

Part 2 is an open letter to New Zealand's new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women,…

Result! WIFTNSW's Protests Make a Difference

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Remember WIFTNSW (Sydney, Australia) and its Sausage Party, back in December? Followed by its protest about hiring a Canadian woman director for the television remake of that classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock? Those protests have borne fruit, as reported in WIFTNSW’s latest newsletter. The Sausage Party highlighted the Australian Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards(AACTAs) disproportionately low amount of nominations and pre-selected films directed and driven by female creatives. Among the twenty-eight narrative feature films pre-selected for the AACTAs Screening Tour, just two were directed by women. And, as WIFTNSW pointed out, when female content cannot reach the public voting platform in the first instance there’s no point calling for quotas in award juries. Furthermore, of the twenty-eight films selected for consideration, seven films (a full quarter of the total), violated AACTAs’ own eligibility criteria and at least two fully eligible films helmed by women wer…