2016 Hokianga Film Project – Workshop 1.0 – Storytelling for the Screen

April 28, 2016 - April 29, 2016, SOUTH HOKIANGA

Script to Screen presents a two-day filmmaking workshop aimed at rangatahi in the Far North region.

Join us in the April school holidays for a free two-day workshop that will give you the tools you need to take stories from your community and tell them on screen.

The aim of the workshop is to foster local talent and encourage aspiring filmmakers. The workshop is suitable for ages 15+, and adults of all ages are welcome. No experience or prior knowledge of filmmaking is necessary – but those with experience are more than welcome and will also benefit from the workshop. The workshop covers short drama and short documentary formats.

We also welcome those who work with rangatahi in the Far North region, who would like to learn more about how to inspire their youth to write and make a film project with local content. Whānau are also welcome to attend.

On Day 1, participants will hear from esteemed filmmakers – writer/director Michael Bennett and producer Quinton Hita, about the essential elements of storytelling and how to bring ideas to life.

On Day 2 participants will have the opportunity to pitch their short film idea to the group for advice and feedback. A noho marae after Day 1 includes screenings of Māori and other NZ short films and short documentaries. Whānau and friends are welcome to join us for dinner and movies. There will also be the opportunity to discuss your film ideas with the group after dinner.

Up to four of the writers who pitch on Friday will be chosen to go on to develop their ideas into finished scripts alongside a mentor. The aim is to finish the scripts in July, and to make the films in October at a five-day workshop. To be considered for mentoring, projects should be based in or strongly connected to Northland, and the mentoring is aimed at youth (recommended age 15-25 years old). Projects can be pitched in teams, and to be eligible for mentoring the teams should include at least one filmmaker under 25 years old. School projects are welcome. Anyone is welcome to attend the workshop and pitch their idea for feedback, but only those aged 15-25 years old will be eligible for script mentoring.

When: Thursday 28th April 9am – Friday 29th April 5pm. Noho marae on Thursday night. (These are the last two days of the school holidays.)

Where: Matai Aranui Marae, 49 Wikaira Rd, Whirinaki.

Cost: A $10 contribution towards food and accommodation would be greatly appreciated. Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner will be provided. Contributions of food also welcome.

Registration: If you would like to attend, please rsvp to Eloise on eloise@script-to-screen.co.nz or ring the office on 09 360 5400. This workshop is aimed at ages 15+.

This workshop is the first in a series of three film workshops in 2016.

SCHEDULE – Workshop 1.0

Day One – Thurs 28 April

9:00am – Meet at Matai Aranui Marae

10:30am – Storytelling for the screen with writer/director Michael Bennett (Matariki, The Confessions of Prisoner T) Learn about the key points of what makes a great story for the screen and how to stay true to the heart of your idea.

12:30pm – Lunch

1:30pm – Michael Bennett leads a group session on writing

2:30pm – Bringing projects to life with producer Quinton Hita (Taua, Mt Zion) Learn about the role of the producer, and the obstacles and joys of bringing a film to life

5:30pm – Break/help prepare kai

6:30pm – Dinner

7:30pm – Film screenings in the whare – prepare for overnight stay

Day Two – Friday 29th April

8:00am – Breakfast

9:00am – Writing

9:30am – Teams pitch their film project ideas one by one and receive feedback on their idea

12:30 – Lunch

1:30pm – Pitching resumes

4:00pm – Judging panel convene – group helps clean the space

4:30pm – Judging panel announce projects to go on for mentoring

5:00pm – Workshop ends

Michael Bennett is a writer/director of Te Arawa descent (Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Wakaue), working extensively within short and feature film, web series, and documentary forms. Michael’s first short film MICHELLE’S THRID NOVEL accompanied the US gala premiere of PULP FICTION at the 1994 New York Film Festival. He has since gone on to write and direct internationally award winning shorts COW and KEROSENE CREEK. In 2010 he co-wrote and directed the award-winning feature film MATARIKI which debuted at TIFF. He recently devised and wrote all 20 episodes of popular web series THE FACTORY, and wrote and directed documentary THE CONFESSIONS OF PRISONER T – an in-depth look at the Teina Pora case, and just released his first book IN DARK PLACES, also on Teina’s story. As well as working on his own projects, Michael is an experienced script editor.

Quinton Hita (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Taranaki) is an actor and producer with over 20 years experience in the screen industry. Early in his career he presented MAI TIME on TV2 for two years, meanwhile writing, producing and presenting KA HAO TE RANGATAHI for Ruia Mai. He then worked as a radio presenter and Tautoko FM and Mai FM, and went on to land a two year contract in the core cast of SHORTLAND STREET. In film, Quinton made a mark working with writer/director Tearepa Kahi, producing short film TAUA, and feature film MT ZION. Now head of KURA PRODUCTIONS, his production company has produced over 400 hours of TV including KUPUHANA, PUKORO, SEARCH4STARS, TOKU REO and KOWHAO RAU.


Project Idea – optional

To get the most out of the workshop, we encourage you come with a project idea. It’s best if you can write an outline of the idea and bring it along to the workshop. You are welcome to work in teams. The workshop is aimed at those working on short-form film projects, that is short films, short documentaries or web projects.

Participants are welcome to bring along and pitch full length projects i.e. a feature film or a feature documentary, but these projects won’t be eligible for mentoring.

If you don’t have an idea, come along and listen. You might develop an idea during the workshop based on what you are learning.

Writing an outline

The outline should be half a page, describing what your film is about, what happens in the film, and what you want people to feel when they are watching it. You could also include why this story is important to you or why this story needs to be told. Remember to include details like, how long you expect to be (short films are usually 5-15 mins long), whether it is a comedy or drama etc, and the characters’ names.

If your project is a series – like a web series, then it is helpful to include a description of how the story develops over the episodes. You may also want to include a short summary of what happens in each episode.

There will also be time to work on writing these outlines during the workshop, so don’t worry if you don’t have one when you arrive.


You will have a chance to pitch your idea to the group on the Friday. Your idea might change throughout the weekend, or you might end up pitching a new idea based on something you have learnt throughout the weekend.

Pitching the idea will give you a chance to get feedback on the idea itself and how to best communicate it. 2-4 ideas will be chosen to be part of a mentoring programme offering the chance to work one-on-one with an industry professional on writing the script and getting the film/project made. To be considered for mentoring, the project should be strongly connected to Northland – so either the team members live in Northland, or the story is set in Northland (or both). The mentoring is aimed at youth (recommended age 15-25 years old), so teams should include at least one filmmaker under 25 years old. School projects are welcome. Those over 25 are welcome to attend, pitch their idea and get feedback, but will not be eligible for the mentoring programme.


2-4 ideas will be chosen to be part of the Hokianga Film Project. Each writer will receive mentoring, including one-on-one script mentoring, with a focus on getting their projects made. The mentoring will take place in the July school holidays, so those chosen to participate will need to be available then. The aim is to finish the scripts in the July school holidays, ready to be made in a 5 day workshop in the October school holidays. See below for more details.


April – Workshop 1.0 – Storytelling for the Screen – A two-day workshop open to anyone in the Far North who wants to learn about crafting stories to be told on screen. Participants have the opportunity to pitch their project to the group for advice and feedback. Up to four writers will be chosen to go on for script mentoring, with the aim of the films being made in October.

July – Workshop 2.0 – Script Writing – A three day screenwriting workshop aimed at rangatahi in the Far North. Learn how to take stories you have written, or stories from your community, and make them come alive on screen.

July – Workshop 3.0 – Let’s Make the Films – Everyone who attended the first workshop and more! are welcome to come back to this 5 day workshop to help up to four writers make their films. Volunteer filmmakers will be present at the workshop to help get the films made.

Registrations for the April workshop are now open. Email Eloise to sign up. 


New Stories from New Pasifika and Asian Storytellers

March 21, 2019

Eight new scripted stories by, for and about Pasifika and Asian peoples have been selected for development under a new initiative from NZ On Air. The teams selected will participate in a development programme run by Script to Screen, including follow up mentoring to guide them as they prepare to submit production funding applications.... Read more