Senior executives, producers, showrunners and writers of internationally acclaimed shows, including American Horror Story, Better Call Saul, Bloodline, Glee, Glitch, Marcella, Please Like Me, Succession and Supergirl, will arrive in New Zealand next week to be advisors in an intensive week-long Series Drama Lab designed to develop strong New Zealand projects for the international and domestic market.

The Series Drama Lab is part of Raupapa Whakaari: Drama to the World, a new initiative from the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air delivered in conjunction with Script to Screen. The initiative supports ten talented New Zealand writer/producer teams to develop distinctive, high-end scripted series with international and domestic appeal.

The advisor line-up includes Caitlin Parrish creator, writer and producer (The Red Line, Supergirl); Chris Loveall  Vice President, International Programming for AMC, SundanceTV and BBC America (EP Fortitude, Please Like Me); Chris Oliver-Taylor CEO of Fremantle Media Australia; Christine Bartlett a writer, creator and producer (Five Bedrooms , The Wrong Girl); multiple Emmy award winning producer Dante Di Loreto (Temple Grandin, American Horror Story, Glee); Jonathan Glatzer writer, producer, director (Succession, Better Call Saul, Bloodline); Louise Fox co-creator, writer, producer (Glitch, Broadchurch);  Nicola Larder co-creator, executive producer (Marcella).

Annabelle Sheehan, CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission, said, “The excellence and high profile credits of the international advisors will provide significant inspiration for our New Zealand creative teams regarding their work with the global marketplace.  The week focuses on the commercial and creative drivers for producers and showrunners and will help shape the next wave of New Zealand series drama for New Zealand and the rest of the world.”

NZ On Air CEO, Jane Wrightson said, “The combined brainpower of a stellar lineup of international advisors with outstanding local talent and their ideas has great promise – we are very much looking forward to seeing the next stage of these Raupapa Whakaari projects. ”

Script to Screen Executive Director Jackie Dennis said, “This hasn’t happened in New Zealand before. The writers and producers coming to the Series Drama Lab will develop their projects with advisors who have worked on exceptional shows that have found dedicated audiences all around the world. I can’t wait to see the results.”

The international advisors will take part in panels, conversations and case studies and provide feedback on participating teams’ series drama concepts in story and market meetings.

The ten teams have received initial development of $10,000. Following the Series Drama Lab and submission of the re-worked projects, four teams will be selected to receive additional development funding of up to $80,000 each.

New Zealand funding agencies, NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission have partnered on the development of ten series ideas with international and domestic appeal.

The initiative, Raupapa Whakaari Drama to the World, will support each writer/producer team to develop distinctive, high-end scripted series with an initial grant of NZ$10,000. Each team will also attend a Series Drama Lab, held in conjunction with Script to Screen, where international advisors will give feedback on story and market to assist the teams to further develop their concepts and strengthen appeal to the international marketplace.

Following the Series Drama Lab and submission of the re-worked projects, four teams will be selected to receive additional development funding of up to NZ$80,000.

New Zealand Film Commission CEO Annabelle Sheehan said “There really has never been a better time to tell stories than now, thanks to the global expansion of mega platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and now Disney with Disney Plus and then its takeover of Hulu this week. Drama to the World will support New Zealand writers and producers to develop distinctive projects and stand-out in a crowded global competitive landscape. “

“NZ On Air is thrilled to be supporting local creatives to potentially tell their stories on an international stage through this initiative. The incredibly high quality of the applications received spoke clearly of the depth and breadth of talent we have working in New Zealand” says NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“Script to Screen is delighted to be delivering the Series Drama Lab, supporting New Zealand screen makers to tell extraordinary stories. The Lab will connect, upskill, and energise the participants and foster international pathways for their stories, and our industry” says Executive Director Jackie Dennis.

The ten successful projects are:

More information on the teams and projects, can be found here


The New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air in conjunction with Script to Screen present RAUPAPA WHAKAARI: DRAMA TO THE WORLD, a new initiative designed to develop and package distinctive high-end series drama for the international market.

The initiative supports writer/producer teams through a dual approach of project development funding and advice from international drama practitioners at the top of their game.

Applications for Raupapa Whakaari: Drama to the World will close April 1, after which up to 10 writer/producer teams with distinctive series concepts and a strong track record will be selected. Successful applicant teams will be notified on or before Monday, May 6. Each selected team will attend an immersive five-day Series Drama Lab and receive a grant of $10,000 to further develop their concept into a strong pitch.

The Series Drama Lab is five-days of intensive project development under the tutelage of high-level international advisors, including craft-based workshops, story feedback sessions and writers’ tables.

Following the lab each team will have the opportunity to submit a re-worked pitch and a plan for packaging their project for the international market, with four grants available of up to $80,000.

“This initiative will support ambitious New Zealand visions for global series drama. New Zealand screen writers and producers have a real capacity to engage in what is a pervasive global appetite for unique stories supported by the Raupapa Whakaari Funding,” said NZFC CEO, Annabelle Sheehan.

“We are thrilled to partner in Raupapa Whakaari. The potential to deliver larger-scale local stories for New Zealand audiences that have a good shot to compete internationally, is exciting. It represents an exceptionally good opportunity for local creative talent to shine on a world stage,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

“We are delighted to conceive and deliver the Series Drama Lab for the Raupapa Whakaari fund. Esther Cahill-Chiaroni brings her expertise and nurturing spirit to the Lab as Programme Director. She will match international advisors to the stand-out filmmakers selected so they can develop ground breaking shows for a global audience”, said Jackie Dennis, Executive Director of Script to Screen.

Applications open: 18 February 2019, 9am
Applications close: 1 April, 9am
Applicants notified:  Monday May 6
5-day Series Drama Lab: June 10-15, 2019




RAUPAPA WHAKAARI: DRAMA TO THE WORLD is a New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air initiative run in conjunction with Script to Screen.

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