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Success in finding fresh Asian and Pasifika storytellers

12 August 2019

Success in the quest to find fresh Asian and Pasifika storytellers and ideas

NZ On Air is backing three exciting new projects that break fresh ground in content for NZ audiences, and will propel careers.

Using $1.5m of the new crown funding received in Budget 2018/19, NZ On Air put out a call late last year for Scripted proposals from newer Pacific and Asian content-makers to extend the range of storytelling available to NZ audiences.

From 33 applications received, eight projects were selected for a talent development initiative led by Script to Screen, which included an opportunity to pitch their projects to platforms. This process culminated in applications for production funding by six of the teams.

The three successful projects will not only cater to under-served audiences, but in some cases do so in new ways, and with very talented new creatives at the helm.

Inked, a coming-of-age comedy-drama sees recent college dropout, Jiayue, launch a tattoo studio while struggling to reconcile with her Chinese immigrant father. It is the first NZ On Air funded project predominantly in Mandarin with English subtitles and comes from an emerging Asian producer/writer/director team. Made for Prime it will simultaneously play on NZ’s largest online Chinese media platform for a Chinese youth audience.

For young Pasifika audiences, Brutal Lives is about a former boxing champion haunted by his Tongan ancestor’s spirit. Based on a Tongan legend, the story will be brought to life for the by a Tongan and Niuean/Samoan producer/writer/director team.

The second Pasifika project is Sis, a spinoff of the viral hit series Baby Mama’s Club. The comedy sketch special will explore themes familiar to Pasifika people, and all people of colour. It will be available free on the Comedy Central website, and will simultaneously screen on Comedy Central via Sky, with a further free-to-air prime time broadcast three months later on Prime.

“These exciting projects break new ground for funded content in NZ. They provide opportunities for newer Pasifika and Asian creatives to make content for significant audiences, and they trial some new ways of catering for harder to reach, predominantly young audiences,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“The extra funding in Budget 2018/19 allowed us breathing room to innovate and provide genuinely fresh and exciting content and opportunities, which we hope will be a springboard for further success for these talented creatives,” she continued.

Funding details

Sis, 1 x 44 mins, Culture Factory (Hanelle Harris, Gaby Solomona, Leki-Jackson-Bourke, Destiny Momoisea & Maia Thompson) for & Prime, up to $499,864

Brutal Lives, 6 x 12 mins, Kingston Productions (Sandra Kailahi, Vela Manusaute, Laina Cheung & Michael Bennett) for, up to $499,852

Inked, 8 x 15 mins, Himalaya Studio ( Florence Lam, Tian Gan, Mingjian Cui, Zijun Yang, Vhari Lennox, Selina Joe & Liz Di Fiore) for Prime &, up to $400,000


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