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Screen Fund projects reflect New Zealand society

1 November 2004

Screen Fund projects reflect New Zealand society

Identity and changing demographics in New Zealand’s multi-cultural society are examined in several of the moving-image projects supported in the latest round of the Screen Innovation Production Fund, announced this week.

Korean-born Auckland artist Hye Rim Lee, for instance, was offered a $22,000 grant supporting the TOKI/Cyborg Project. This series of experimental DVDs explores links between technology, the game design concept and popular culture. Dealing with issues of femininity, sexuality and fantasy, Lee presents the complex influences that contribute to a migrant Korean’s identity.

Aio Films Ltd and Wellington filmmaker Ainsley Gardiner’s short film, Reflections, offered a $20,000 grant, deals with bicultural identity. Mary, aged ten, becomes increasingly aware of her Mäori background when she befriends a young Mäori boy. Through the friendship, she gains some freedom and a better understanding of who she is. The film will be produced by New Zealand actor and Hollywood star Cliff Curtis, while rising star Taika Cohen will be director of photography.

The Screen Innovation Production Fund, a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission, supports the moving-image arts by funding innovative and often low-budget productions. In this funding round, the Fund received 106 applications requesting more than $1.7 million. Of these, 20 projects were offered funding totalling $270,096.

This year’s selection panel consisted of Lydia Wevers (Chair and member of Creative New Zealand’s Arts Board), Lawrence McDonald, Peter Salmon, Andrew Bancroft and Fiona Bartlett. Lydia Wevers said the panel was pleased with the number of high-quality applications for experimental films dealing with contemporary issues.

“New Zealand culture is developing quickly in its breadth and complexity,” she said. “With so many people of different cultural backgrounds calling New Zealand home, it’s great to see our filmmakers experimenting and tackling cultural and identity issues through a range of genres.”

Responding to a steady increase in applications to the Screen Innovation Production Fund, particularly in the area of digital features, the New Zealand Film Commission has increased its annual contribution from $250,000 to $350,000.

“We welcome the additional funding but there’s still considerable pressure on the Fund,” Lydia Wevers said. “We were only able to support one in five projects and once again, many worthwhile projects missed out on funding in this round.

“This is the only fund available to New Zealand moving-image artists that actively encourages risk-taking and experimentation, at the same time pushing the medium forward.” Continuing a recent trend, documentary projects made up a large number of the applications. Six projects were offered funding. These films deal with a range of contemporary issues from the rise of the Destiny Church in Wellington filmmaker Peter B. Bell’s Destiny in Motion ($14,410) and central Wellington’s graffiti art in Wellington film production company Pocket String Picture’s Graffiti Project ($3600) to Auckland’s urban night culture in Auckland filmmaker Briar March’s Night to Day ($11,000).

One of the Fund’s priorities is to support work by experimental or fine art film and video makers. Christchurch artist Nathan Pohio was offered a $8635 grant towards the production of Horses and The Fall as part of a moving-image based installation. Horses is inspired by the wild horses of the Kaimanawa Ranges, while The Fall appropriates a scene from an Arnold Schwartzenegger film, Commando, in which a man pushes a truck off a hillside, jumps in and rides to the bottom where it explodes into flames.

Another priority is to support innovative, non-commercial projects by established film and video-makers. Auckland filmmaker Grant La Hood was offered $19,658 towards the production of Log Jam, a dance film depicting competitive wood-chopping as an exhilarating dance of men, metal and wood - a sport that pitches youth against experience. Films supported through the Screen Innovation Production Fund are continuing to make their mark internationally. Prime Minister Helen Clark recently congratulated the Screen Innovation Production Fund after a record number (ten) of its projects were screened at the Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival in July 2004.

“This initiative clearly continues to prove its worth and I am pleased that the films produced under this Fund are being viewed by New Zealand audiences,” Miss Clarke said.

Applications to the Screen Innovation Production Fund’s next round close on 25 February 2005. Copies of the Funding Guide: Ngä Pütea 2004 - 2005 are available from Creative New Zealand offices or can be downloaded from the publications page of its website ( ends

A complete list of the Screen Innovation Production Fund grants follows. For further information about the grants please contact:

Screen Innovation Production Fund

Here is a list of the 20 projects offered grants in the latest funding round.

$20,000 to Ainsley Gardiner of Aio Films Ltd, Wellington: towards the production of Reflections, a short film about a young girl’s growing awareness of her bicultural identity.

$14,410 to Peter Bell of Wellington: towards the production of Destiny in Motion, a documentary about the growth of the evangelical Destiny Church into a fully fledged political party.

$10,000 to Dean Hapata of the Kapiti Coast: towards the post-production of Know the Links #3, the third part of a four-part documentary about the art, activism and music of marginalised people in 20 countries.

$5479 to Brendon Hornell of Wellington: towards the post-production of Splinter, a narrative-led horror/thriller.

$2975 to Matthew Knight and Jeff Avery of Brooklyn, Wellington: towards the post-production of The Tissue Man, a comedy set in Beijing about a Westerner working for an advertising company.

$19,658 to Grant La Hood of Herne Bay, Auckland: towards the production of Log Jam, a short dance film about the competitive sport of wood-chopping.

$24,000 to Sandor Lau of Auckland: towards the production of Squeegee Men, a documentary about the people who earn a living washing car windows at traffic lights.

$22,000 to Hye Rim Lee of St. Heliers, Auckland: towards the production of TOKI / Cyborg Project, a series of innovative and experimental DVDs exploring new technology, game design concept and popular culture.

$14,886 to Tintin Li of Whangaparoa, Auckland: towards the production of Little Love, an animated film about the immature love between a little boy and girl.

$11,000 to Briar March of Henderson, Auckland: toward the production of Night to Day, a documentary about social behaviour at night in Auckland Central.

$10,000 to Andrew Moore and Philip Moore of Birkenhead, Auckland: towards the post production of Skatopia ’78, a documentary about the South Auckland skate park, Skatopia, and the explosion in popularity of skateboarding in New Zealand during the 1970s.

$16,412 to Miles Murphy of Newtown, Wellington: towards the production of The Knock, a short film about a businessman’s psychological journey of self-discovery following an encounter with a young woman at his hotel door.

$984 to Christopher Payne of Remuera, Auckland: towards the cost of tape copying of Embers, a short film about an isolated young wife and her fears while awaiting the return of her husband from World War II.

$3600 to Edward Lynden-Bell and Pocket String Pictures, Wellington: towards the production of a Graffiti Project, a documentary celebrating Wellington’s vibrant visual graffiti culture.

$8635 to Nathan Pohio of Christchurch: towards the production of Horses and The Fall, a series of video installation art that explores ideas of space, nature, freedom, sublimation and reclamation.

$12,738 to Felicity Rogers of Beach Haven, Auckland: towards the production of Flame, an animated film about the last tango dance at a dance hall that is facing demolition.

$23,000 to Benjamin Rood of Auckland: towards the production of The Glassman’s Night, a short film about a man who returns home to spend time with his mother and younger brother.

$2500 to Leanne Saunders of Avondale, Auckland: towards the cost of DVD duplication of Gregory King’s Christmas, a film about the pressures a family faces at Christmas and the return of the eldest son from a long time overseas.

$22,819 to Michael Reihana of Toolbox Films Ltd of Piha, Auckland: towards the production of Pleasant Concrete, a short film about philosophical attitudes to suicide as an artistic statement or protest.

$25,000 to Victoria Wynne-Jones and Daniel Strang of Hamilton: towards the production of Invitation to a Voyage, a digital feature film about a boy and a girl who take an adventure in a boat down the Waikato River.


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