Twelve emerging screen producers of Māori, Pasifika and Pan-Asian heritage have been selected as the first cohort of a new screen development programme created to address the need for more culturally diverse producers in the NZ screen industry.
Ngā Aho Whakaari (Māori in Screen Production), PASC (Pan Asian Screen Collective) and key members of the Pasifika screen community collaborated to form MAP (Māori Asian Pasifika) Screen Development and created the MAP Screen Development: Producer Training course. The programme is funded by the NZ Film Commission and NZ On Air and is led by Sue Maslin and David Court from Australia’s prestigious Compton School.
Ngā Aho Whakaari’s Executive Director Hineani Melbourne (Tūhoe, Tainui) said:
“Ngā Aho Whakaari is dedicated to building capacity across the sector of film and television and is confident these candidates bring a depth knowledge in their respective skill sets, fresh perspectives and we believe great working relationships. It is our goal that this will ultimately result in great films and a strong screen industry.”
51 applications were received from NZ and abroad. The 12 successful applicants are:
- Angela Cudd
- Jaimee Poipoi
- Nathaniel Howe
- Nicole Horan
- Abba-Rose Dinah Vaiaoga-Ioasa
- Halifonua (Nua) Finau
- Vea Mafile’o
- Maria Tanner
- Hweiling Ow
- Kim Webby
- Michelle Ang
- Pachali Brewster
The training course was planned pre-COVID 19 but the lockdown has meant the programme will now move online. In a series of workshops running from May until November, the producers will learn everything they need to know about creating a sustainable production business, developing a slate of projects, understanding their personal and professional potential, generating income and increasing their skills and knowledge about all aspects of the screen industry.
The course is culturally significant as the first of its kind in Aotearoa NZ, and shows the willingness of funders to unite and support the next wave of visual storytellers. Hineani Melbourne continues, “Programmes exist for writers and directors but producers are the ones who curate which stories get told. We have long needed more diverse producers in our industry enabling us to tell our own stories. While our main focus wasn’t on selecting female producers, we were pleased to select a high number of qualified women for this programme. Receiving resources for this course is a way for our funders and the industry to show that they believe in our communities and are investing in our future.”
Jaimee Poipoi is one of three wāhine Māori producers selected for the programme. She shared her enthusiasm in being part of the first cohort, “I’ve been lucky to work with talented, creative artists that have helped shape my filmmaking journey so far. When I saw the opportunity to apply for this course, I thought how amazing it would be to take what I have learned in production and elevate it to that next level. And to do that while nerding out with other filmmakers whose work I have admired from afar… that will be an incredible experience. Being selected is so exciting. I feel grateful to be invited into this space and cannot wait to use this opportunity to help bring more of our stories, humor, and art to life.”
Nathaniel Howe said, “He tino hōnore tēnei mōkū ki te noho hei tauira i raro i ngā rekereke o ngā kaihautū rongonui o Aotearoa. E tino whakapono ana ahau ki ngā mahi a te hunga i pakanga kia ora rawa atu te ao pāpāhō Māori. Mo mātou te reanga hou e whai nei i ēnei tapuwae, me eke anō mātou ki taumata ake, ki ngā taumata e tika ana mō te ao pāpāhō o inamata. Koira te haepapa nui kua ūhia mai ki runga i ahau.”
The course culminates in an intensive two-day workshop in November focusing on marketing and pitching to funders, commissioners and platforms. There are high hopes that these producers will be empowered to tell stories enriched by their cultural experiences that will resonate with NZ and global audiences now and far into the future.