Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Linda Niccol – New Zealand Writer & Director

Linda Niccol at Newport Beach
I love New Zealand-based films about 'us'. And I love the diasporic elements in New Zealand women’s filmmaking: the contributions of women writers and directors who – like me – come to live here as children or adults and contribute differently than those from families who've lived here for generations; and the contributions of the women – some of them the same women – who move in and out of New Zealand to work. Our global reach.

Best known are Jane Campion, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, Christine Jeffs, Niki Caro (in pre-production on Callas, starring Noomi Rapace!) and Dana Rotberg, whose White Lies/Tuakiri Huna is currently attracting acclaim and audiences in Mexico. And there are others. Dianne Taylor wrote the first NZ-India co-production, Pan Nalin’s Beyond The Known World, now in post-production. Writers and producers Donna Malane and Paula Boock define their Lippy Pictures as a production company ‘making quality film and television for the local and international market’. Their Field Punishment no 1 recently won a Gold World Medal for Drama Special at the 2015 New York Festivals International Television and Film Awards and their adaptation of Kate De Goldi’s award-winning The 10pm Question, to be directed by Yasemin Samdereli, is steadily moving forward as a co-production with Germany with production funding secured from the New Zealand Film Commission. Fingers crossed that their project also benefits from Pro Quote Regie’s activism and the new European awareness of the inequity of women's film funding, thanks to the European Audiovisual Observatory's research and the work of many others.

Linda Niccol’s diasporic elements also interest me. Co-writer of Second-Hand Wedding (2008), the eighth-highest grossing New Zealand film ever in the most recent list I could find, her Miss Adventure won the highly competitive New Zealand Writers Guild Unproduced Screenplay Award in 2012 and her Poppy and Looking for Lila Ray were also placed in the top 10, an extraordinary achievement. And she’s been consistently a finalist or winner in overseas script competitions.