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McGee Appointment Strengthens Winning Partnership

Media Release
NHNZ
Thursday February 7th, 2008


McGee Appointment Strengthens Winning Partnership


Internationally acclaimed NHNZ filmmaker Ian McGee has been appointed as Otago University's Director of Filmmaking.

The appointment reinforces a seven-year partnership between NHNZ and Otago University's Centre for Science Communication which attracts aspiring filmmakers from around the globe and, from this year will offer a Masters in Science and Natural History Filmmaking.

The appointment will see Ian divide his time between mentoring students at the filmmaking course and, writing and producing programmes at NHNZ.

The University's Centre of Science Communication director, Lloyd Davis, says the course has flourished since its inception in 2001 due to NHNZ's support.

"We're in the fortunate position of having a world renowned production house in close proximity. NHNZ's involvement in the course has been pivotal to its success, helping to attract high-calibre students and elevating its reputation to one of the most hotly contested postgraduate courses in the world.

"Our students will benefit immensely from Ian's expertise in natural history filmmaking. His pedigree is second to none and we're extremely pleased to confirm his appointment," he said.

The Emmy award winning writer and producer began his career as an entomologist, studying for his Master of Science degree at Massey University. He arrived in Dunedin to work with Television New Zealand's Natural History Unit as researcher for a 1990 series presented by renowned botanist David Bellamy entitled Moa's Ark.

Over the next four years Mr McGee worked as a researcher and assistant producer for other natural history series and taught at Otago University briefly before working as a writer and producer at Taylormade Productions.

In 1996 he returned to NHNZ to produce several documentaries and then went on to produce and write for the series, Twisted Tales. In 1999 he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Craft in News and Documentary Programming – Writers for Twisted Tales: The Bat. The following year, Mr McGee and co-writer Quinn Berentson were again nominated for an Emmy Award in the same category for writing Twisted Tales: The Rat.

After completing 26 episodes of Twisted Tales in 2001, Mr McGee went on to write and produce The Most Extreme series which became one of Animal Planet’s top rating shows and ran for six years earning another Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in a Craft in News and Documentary Programming – Graphic and Artistic Design.

Mr McGee describes his latest appointment as providing "the best of both worlds" - an opportunity to share his expertise with up and coming filmmakers while continuing to work on groundbreaking new projects at NHNZ.

"I'm constantly impressed with the talent of graduates from the course, many of whom are now employed at NHNZ. The chance to share my experience with new generations of filmmakers while retaining involvement in the filmmaking process at NHNZ is a great opportunity," he says.

NHNZ managing director Michael Stedman says the unique partnership between the company and the university is an outstanding example of how a commercial enterprise can contribute directly to New Zealand's talent pool.

"Our input into the course has been fundamental to its evolution. By sharing our expertise and resources, we're also helping to future proof NHNZ by directly investing in the future of our next potential Emmy award winner."


ENDS

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