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NZ Update #10: 48Hours Aotearoa New Zealand 2017

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It's time to register for Aotearoa New Zealand's HP48Hours (48Hours) film competition, founded by Ant Timpson in 2003 and supported by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), our taxpayer-funded film organisation. So here's my view of the competition, an interview with veteran participant Ruth Korver and an analysis of director participation in 2016, by gender.

I've been curious about 48Hours since 2006, when I started my PhD on the development of women's feature films in New Zealand. What, I wondered back then, are the roles of film initiatives created outside the NZFC? How do they feed into women's opportunities to make taxpayer-funded feature films? How do the NZFC's contributions – if any – to these initiatives benefit women writers and directors who want to make features?

Whenever I've thought about how 48Hours benefits women who want to write and direct features, I've decided “Yes and No”. In 2009, for instance, I wrote “...our 'pathway…

Vaishnavi Sundar, activist filmmaker

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Activist #womeninfilm from around the world are my major online blessings.  Vaishnavi Sundar, from Chennai, India, is one of these. We met when she supported the open letter to Cannes that a group of us circulated a couple of months ago and then wrote about the letter for her Women Making Films site, 'an online platform with an offline collaboration model. Women come together, create'. 

Vaishnavi's Lime Soda company has made a group of short films and docos and her Aage Jake Left(Go Ahead and Take Left) has been selected for this year's London Feminist Film Festival. 

Vaishnavi is currently crowd-funding for her But What Was She Wearing?, exposing Indian policies of workplace sexual harassment, with an all-women crew.



WW You started out in a completely different field. What made you pivot towards film? Was there an 'inciting incident'? VS No, there was no inciting incident, but a lot of clues from the universe. I have always hated to conform to the rat race that is…

NZ Update #9: Louise Hutt on Her 'Online Heroines'

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I've been reflecting on webseries in Aotearoa New Zealand, because I believe they're central to our development of a diverse and sophisticated female protagonism. I'll write about some of them soon; having Louise Hutt's extraordinary and pioneering Online Heroines as a reference point will make a big difference. Ngā mihi nui, Louise.


by Louise Hutt

In New Zealand, we like to think of our film industry as pioneering. We’ve got Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson, Taika Waititi, Andrew Adamson—who made Shrek and Narnia—and Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. But it also has a dark underside that we don’t like to talk about. When people play devil’s advocate and ask if gender discrimination is even a problem in our industry, I ask if they can name a woman director from New Zealand. On a good day, they’ve heard of Jane Campion. However, I’m still yet to find anyone who can name a second.

If you’re a woman who wants to make films, why is it so hard? Diane Twiss, the firs…

NZ Update #8: More Local #DirectedByWomen Features at #NZIFF

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NB All these #NZIFF 2017 posts are joined together and looking beautiful over on Medium


Every year, Women & Hollywood counts the #DirectedByWomen features at Cannes, in the various categories. This year, the site noted a slight increase, to 29 percent overall.

To compare, for the first time since 2014, I've just counted the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) features listed in its Wellington catalogue. I included docos, but excluded the animation and short film programmes.

I used to feel that I was the only person concerned about the NZIFF stats. That's no longer so. Many more people now want there to be gender equity behind the camera and to explore ways to make this happen. Many more people are also concerned about representation in front of the camera, about how we're all affected by seeing the world primarily through the white male gaze. Actor Jessica Chastain is one of these.  This is what she said at the final press conference, after she sat on the…