Alyx Duncan and Lani-rain Feltham

Alyx’s short-film THE TIDE KEEPER screened in over twenty film festivals world-wide and won numerous awards including FIPRESCI Film Critics’ Choice Award, Best Short Animation at Warsaw, Best International short at Whistler and Best film/director/cinematography at Show Me Shorts. Alyx wrote, directed, produced and self-distributed feature film THE RED HOUSE in 35 cinemas in NZ. In 2015 she was awarded SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year and was one of the recipients of the 2016 Gaylene Preston Directors Award. Alyx recently choreographed Alison Maclean’s THE REHEARSAL and is currently developing feature THE SURROGATE and producing short, MOUSE with Lani-rain Feltham. She is also in early development of THE UNDERWOOD with Michele Powles.


Lani-rain is a filmmaker of Ngati Pikiao, Te Arawa and Pakeha descent. She has written two feature film scripts for Storm Films New York, LE BOMB and THE SAINT OF THE IMPOSSIBLE which is currently in development. Lani-rain has worked in development with award-winning filmmaker Vincent Ward for the last 6 years where she co-wrote his memoir, THE PAST AWAITS (published 2010). Lani-rain has produced numerous documentaries, museum installations and art projects. Lani-rain is currently directing her short film, MOUSE and producing short EACH TO THEIR OWN, with director Maria Ines Manchego. She is also the writer on Paora Joseph’s new film MAUI’S HOOK and producing SPOOKERS directed by Florian Habicht.


Armagan Ballantyne and Jackie Van Beek

Armagan’s short films have screened and won awards at festivals around the world including Venice, Melbourne, Telluride, London and New York. She developed her debut feature film THE STRENGTH OF WATER at the Sundance Institute, which was selected for competition at the Berlin Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Armagan directed LILY AND RA a short film for Art for the World for the Human Rights Commission. It had its first official screening for the UN General Assembly in New York and went on to screen in gallery spaces, and festival’s. In 2014 She attended Werner Herzogs Rogue film school and last year she co-directed film excerpts for NGA HAU a large installation for the Wellington Museum.


Jackie is a actor, writer and director in theatre and film. She has made seven award-winning short films produced in New Zealand, Australia and London. Her short films have played at numerous festivals including Berlin, London, Palm Springs and MIFF. Jackie won SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year in 2013 and was awarded first prize in the 2015 WIFT International Shortcase for her short film UPHILL. As an actor she is best known for her role as the eager familiar in WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and the inept producer, Pauline, in FUNNY GIRLS. She is currently in post-production with her first feature film, THE INLAND ROAD, and in advanced development with another feature, THE BREAKER UPPERERS with co-writer Madeleine Sami.


Florian Habicht

Florian Habicht was born in Berlin, and immigrated with his family to New Zealand in the early eighties. He studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts Auckland and Binger Filmlab in Amsterdam. He is one of our most prolific filmmakers being responsible for some of NZ’s most innovative films, from experimental WOODENHEAD (2003), cult documentaries KAIKOHE DEMOLITION (2004) & RUBBINGS OF A LIVE MAN (2008), to his participatory LOVE STORY (2010) and cinematic homage to  brit-pop band, PULP: A FILM ABOUT LIFE, DEATH & SUPERMARKETS (2014). Florian is currently in post-production with his seventh feature film SPOOKERS, and has two other films in development.

Tusi Tamasese

Tusi Tamasese spent 18 years in his native Samoa, before moving to New Zealand and completing a double major in film and political science. After shooting short Va Tapuia in Samoa with private funding, he directed his debut feature The Orator / O Le Tulafale, filmed entirely in the Samoan language. Tamasese’s tale of an outsider in conflict with his community scored multiple honours at the 2011 Venice Film Festival.


Jesse Griffin

Jesse Griffin comedy director, writer, actor and stand-up comedian returned to New Zealand in 2010 after 15 years working in the UK and Australia. He was a member of The 4 Noels, an Australian based comic trio that from 1997 to 2007. Jesse began performing as comedic character Wilson Dixon in 2004 and has written six festival length live shows, produced two albums and performed in NZ, Australia and UK. Wilson Dixon was commissioned for a 4 part series on BBC Radio 2 in 2009, an hour long comedy special on TVNZ in 2012. As an actor Jesse is known for his roles in television shows LAST MAN STANDING (2005), 800 WORDS (2016) as well as comedy game show 7 DAYS.

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Nic Gorman

Nic is a writer/director, interested in working in genre but especially attracted to the possibilities for human connections and conflict implicit within those genres. His short film, Here Be Monsters, which he wrote and co-directed was funded in the Fresh Shorts scheme and played at festivals both here and overseas, including Fantastic Fest 2013 – the biggest genre festival in the USA. It won several awards at the Show Me Shorts festival 2013 including best screenplay and was awarded best short film at the 2013 New Zealand Film Awards. Currently his team has a feature in development called Human Traces.


Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu

Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu is a writer and actor. Her play THE BLACK, was named one of Auckland Theatre’s Best Moments of 2015 by The Pantograph Punch. Her most recent play, SEAN PENN IN HIS BOAT, was awarded runner up at the prestigious Adam Play Awards 2016 and is in the process of being developed by Playmarket New Zealand. Josephine is one of eight filmmakers selected to participate in Script to Screen’s 2016 FilmUp Mentorship Programme. She is working alongside her mentor, Mexican filmmaker Dana Rotberg, developing her first feature film script. Josephine has written TITTY & BASH, a short film directed by Awanui Simich-Pene, that is part of a feature length film WARU currently in post-production.


Maile Daugherty

Maile has worked in film and television for 20 years as a producer and EP, line producer, post/vfx producer, and content developer. Maile trained as a writer gaining an MA in Communication Studies from Auckland University of Technology, majoring in screenwriting in 1998. In this period she wrote two feature film screenplays: Crashed and The Gift. She then went on to write and direct children’s interstitial content for TV3. After much time working in the producing side of the business, two and a half years ago Maile decided to return to her writing roots, writing drafts for the feature scripts Missu Peace (Japanese/NZ co-production) and drama Division, as well as developing the surfing film, Drop.

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Max Currie

Max Currie wrote and directed the 2014 feature EVERYTHING WE LOVED, which played in competition in a slew of festivals, including Palm Springs, Munich, Sāo Paulo, Seattle, St Petersburg and Marrakech, won Best Actress and Best Cinematography at the 2014 NZ Film Awards, Best Actor at St Tropez, and Best Director at VTXIFF 2015 in Texas. EVERYTHING WE LOVED remains the number one most-watched title on NZ Film On Demand. Max now has two features in NZFC development, one set in New Jersey, USA, the other set across Piha and Berlin. Max also writes TV drama, working for five years as a full-time writer on Shortland Street (TV2) then more recently, Step Dave (TV2), as both storyliner and script writer.

Kelly Kilgour

Kelly Kilgour

Kelly is a writer and producer who has worked in the creative sector for over a decade. After graduating with an MA in Creative writing he began a career writing and producing across theatre, film and television. He currently writes for Songs from the Inside (Maori Television) and is developing a feature film based on the concept, amongst others on his slate.


Michelle Savill and Sophie Henderson

Michelle Savill’s short film ELLEN IS LEAVING won the Best Narrative Short Film Award at SXSW Film Festival and the Golden Gate Award for Best Narrative Short at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Since then it has been screened in prestigious international festivals, which include Clermont-Ferrand, Chicago International and Aspen Shortsfest. Michelle’s other shorts, ELAINE RIDES AGAIN and BETTY BANNED SWEETS have been accepted into several international film festivals including MIFF where she was invited to participate in the festival’s Accelerator programme. In 2011, she was awarded a Script to Screen scholarship in New York working as an intern in the script development department of Killer Films. Michelle currently works as a freelance commercial director and is represented by agency Thick as Thieves.

Sophie is a NZ screenwriter, playwright and actor. Her first screenplay, FANTAIL, in which she also starred, was nominated for 8 NZ Film Awards and had it’s world premiere at Rotterdam Film Festival in 2013. As an actor, Sophie is best known for playing, Cheryl’s lawyer, Bailey Wilson in the final season of OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE.  As co-general manager Sophie programmed the Basement Theatre for 4 years, developing emerging artists and new work. In 2015 Sophie worked in the script department for the miniseries THE BEAUTIFUL LIE and is now writing on new Australian TV drama, LUCKY CHARMING as well as developing her project MANHUNT as a feature film and as a play with Silo theatre.


Gillian Ashurst

Gillian Ashurst is a Canterbury based writer and director. Her filmmaking career kicked off when her first short film, the sci-fi themed Venus Blue, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999. This led to a deal by the NZFC and Portman Entertainment to fund her first feature film, the award winning road movie, Snakeskin. After Snakeskin, Gillian took time off to raise her family, but continued to write and direct documentaries. These included Rocketman – the story of Bill Pickering, who headed NASA’s early unmanned space explorations, and Alchemy and Atoms – a three part documentary about Ernest Rutherford. Gillian recently returned to feature film, with several new projects in development.

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Yamin Tun

Yamin Tun is a writer/director, and a graduate of the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics & Economics. She won the Unitec scholarship prize in the 48hour film competition. She is an Asia NZ Foundation Arts Grant recipient for three consecutive years (2011-2014). Yamin’s short films include TWO PRINCES, WAIT and THE DREAM OF THE DRIVER (runner-up, Tropfest 2016). Her feature film script HONG KONG STORY was shortlisted by Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2016. In 2013, Yamin was selected by Film Finances Inc to attend Telluride Film Festival, and meet film industry people in Los Angeles. Yamin has also been shortlisted for the Script to Screen Killer Films internship and the 2016 DDB Showtools New Directors Award.


Miriam Smith

Miriam is currently developing the original feature script OH MOUNTAIN that began its life at the Binger Film Lab in Amsterdam.
Miriam is also developing a range of dramatic short and feature film projects with filmmaking partner Chris Pryor – together they have formed the film production company Deer Heart Films. Miriam co-directed and produced the critically acclaimed / award-winning feature documentary HOW FAR IS HEAVEN, and is currently producing the upcoming feature documentary THE GROUND WE WON – soon to be theatrically released in New Zealand. A graduate of the University of Auckland, Miriam has a BA in English & Film, where she was awarded the Senior English Prize, and a Masters in Creative & Performing Arts. Miriam has also written for print and BBC radio.


Victor Rodger

Victor Rodger is a New Zealand-born playwright of Samoan and palagi descent. His first play, SONS, won four New Zealand theatre awards, including Best New Play and Best New Writer. His play, MY NAME IS GARY COOPER was this year performed by Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu while his award-winning play BLACK FAGGOT has performed to sell out houses in Melbourne, Brisbane, Edinbrugh and throughout New Zealand. GIRL ON A CORNER debuted to critical acclaim in the 2015 Auckland Fringe Festival and won Best Direction and Best Performance gongs. A long-time writer for SHORTLAND STREET, Victor is currently adapting BLACK FAGGOT for the big screen as well as an original feature film project, TAHITIAN PRINCE.

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Ghazaleh Golbakhsh

Ghazaleh is an Iranian-New Zealand writer and filmmaker and Fulbright scholar who studied post-graduate screenwriting at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 2012. She has an MA in Documentary from the University of Auckland where she made an award winning thesis documentary on Iran. It premiered in Israel and won the outstanding student film award in Beijing. Ghazaleh has written various short films and her first feature screenplay was shortlisted twice for the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab in 2014 and 2015, and also reached the top 10% of the Nicholl’s Fellowship. When younger she wanted to become Michael Jackson. Thankfully now she just wants to continue being a tortured writer and filmmaker.

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Rachel House and Mitch Tawhi Thomas

Ko Ngati Maniapoto te iwi. Mitch has spent most of his life writing stage plays, including award winning HAVE CAR WILL TRAVEL and HUI.
Currently Mitch is developing his screenwriting skills while also working and living in Whangarei, teaching Drama and English at Tikipunga High School.



Rachel has worked as both a director and actor across stage, film and television. As an actor she has featured in many of New Zealand’s most recent successful project including WHALE RIDER, BOY and HOPE AND WIRE. She has an established career as a director of acclaimed plays, including Mitch Tawhi Thomas’s HUI, and the MAORI TROILUS AND CRESSIDA for the Globe Theatre in London. In 2009 she directed the Premiere Shorts funded WINTER BOY. Rachel is also a sought after acting coach for children and teens, working on projects such as FANTAIL, BOY and THE DARK HORSE.

Rachel is an Arts Laureate recipient for her work across many platforms.


Sophie Henderson and Gaysorn Thavat

Sophie is a New Zealand screenwriter, theatre-maker and actor. Her first screenplay, FANTAIL, in which she also starred, was nominated for 8 NZ Film Awards including best actress and best screenplay and had its international premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2014. FANTAIL was selected for the Melbourne International Film Festival last year where it picked up a People’s Choice Award. Sophie is currently developing her project MANHUNT as a feature film and also as a play with Silo Theatre. She is based in Melbourne, working on Australian mini-series THE BEAUTIFUL LIE in the script department.

Gaysorn worked through the ranks of the camera department and became a 1st AC working on many NZ and overseas productions. It was standing beside cameras for those years, watching directors and actors working that inspired her to move into directing. Since 2005, she has shot commercials in NZ, Australia, Europe and the US, but is most proud of her PSAs for the City Mission, Breast Cancer Foundation and Family Violence. In 2009 she directed her first short film BRAVE DONKEY which much to her surprise was selected for numerous festivals. Gaysorn has been developing THE JUSTICE OF BUNNY KING since 2006 with Greg King, and more recently Sophie Henderson. Gaysorn lives between Auckland and Thames with her partner Ginny Loane.



Mark Albiston and Paul Stanley Ward

Mark Albiston received the Special Distinction award  in the Short Film Section at Cannes for RUN (with Louis Sutherland), winning prizes at a number of other festivals. Mark and Louis won this again in 2009 with their follow up short, THE SIX DOLLAR FIFTY MAN. This gave the duo the distinction of being the first directors to twice win in that category, before going on to win Best International Short at Sundance. Mark and Louis premiered their first feature SHOPPING at Sundance in 2013, which went on to win the Grand Prix at Berlin International Film Festival and seven awards at the New Zealand Film Awards.

Paul Stanley Ward received a Qantas best screenplay award for debut short GRAFFITI OF MR TUPAIA (2008). After an OE that took in an Oxford masters and producing for Discovery Channel, he was writer for NZ TV doco series HERE TO STAY and UNDERCOVER. He scripted 2010 short film festival success CHOICE NIGHT, Venice-selected COLD SNAP (2013) and THE KEEPER (2014). In 2014 digital media project WILD EYES (getting Kiwi kids to go wild) won NZ On Air ‘Kickstart’ funding. He is developing a feature with Mark Albiston (short-listed for the 2015 Sundance Screenwriters Lab). Ward is senior writer for NZ On Screen and in 2013 his Script to Screen FilmUp mentor was Neil Cross.