Calling all Far North filmmakers and creatives!!!
In July 2024, we are excited to bring two outstanding workshops to Kerikeri led by writer and director Michael Bennett (The Gone, In Dark Places). A four-day school holiday workshop for youth aged 14-18, and a one-day adult scriptwriting workshop.

Joining Michael for the Youth Workshop will be actor (Shortland StreetThe Brokenwood Mysteries), director and acting coach, Jamie Irvine.
This is a great opportunity for you to learn new skills and share your stories. So, book your place and tell your friends and whanau. These workshops are not to be missed.

The projects that Script to Screen does and the reason I’m so gung-ho enthusiastic about them is; it’s about accessing people whose stories just don’t make it on screen. It’s giving people skills to tell stories for the screen. Giving new voices and new stories the potential to become films– Michael Bennett

Free Youth Workshop – 4 days 

Monday 15 – Thursday 18 July
Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Road, Kerikeri 0230

Develop skills and learn about the fundamentals of crafting a story idea, writing a script and acting for camera. No experience or prior knowledge of filmmaking is necessary. We encourage anyone who has an interest in writing, filmmaking, and acting to apply. For ages 14 – 18.

Adult Workshop – 1 day

Sunday 14 July
Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Road, Kerikeri 0230

The morning will be spent delving into character, story structure, key moments and writing fundamentals. In the afternoon, you will develop your own original story idea and write a scene. This workshop is suitable for new and emerging filmmakers, local creatives wanting to reinvigorate a screen idea or anyone wanting to explore writing for film and television.



Michael Bennett
(Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue) is a screenwriter, filmmaker and author. Michael’s short films and feature films have screened and won awards internationally, including Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Locarno, New York, London, ImagiNative and Dreamspeakers. He is the 2020 recipient of the Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Award, awarded by the NZ Film Commission for excellence in Māori filmmaking. Michael devoted many years of his recent career to the fight for justice for Teina Pora, a young Māori man wrongly imprisoned for 21 years. Michael made the documentary The Confessions of Prisoner T, which lead to the discovery of evidence pivotal to Teina’s exoneration. Michael directed and co-wrote the TV feature film In Dark Places about Teina’s case, which was finalist for a record 11 awards in the NZ Television Awards, winning Best Film and Best Director. Michael has been head writer or showrunner for many dozens of hours of prime-time television drama including The Gone (NZ / Ireland crime thriller), Vegas (crime thriller), Te Kohu (supernatural drama), and Mataku (the Māori Twilight Zone). Michael’s debut novel Better The Blood, a crime thriller, was published in 2022 in the UK, USA, Australia and NZ, with nine international translations. Better The Blood was a finalist for the fiction prize at the 2023 New Zealand literary awards (The Ockhams) and won Best First Novel at the Ngaio Marsh Awards. Michael is currently adapting his novel for television, and his second novel, Return To Blood, is in bookstores now.


As an Actor, Director and Acting Coach Jamie Irvine has worked in Australia, Los Angeles, New York and New Zealand. Jamie is a NIDA acting graduate and continued his study with Susan Batson and at the Stella Adler Studio in NYC. Over twenty years, he has taught acting at NIDA, Actors Centre Australia, Theatre of Arts in Hollywood, South Seas Film School and various other institutions. Acting Credits include Sweet Tooth, Tinā, Power Rangers: Dino Fury, Shortland St, Underbelly:Land of the Long Green Cloud, Black Hands, Westside, Home and Away, Anzac Girls and The Brokenwood Mysteries. Jamie has also directed across several mediums and in 2022 he directed NZ on Air funded webseries Here if you Need. Jamie joined Script to Screen in January 2023, where he currently works as Programme Manager.

These workshops are made possible thanks to generous support from Foundation North. 

Following the recent New Zealand release of The Moon is Upside Down, Loren Taylor (writer/director/actor) joins moderator and writer Duncan Sarkies (Scarfies, and Two Little Boys) to discuss her writing process, the challenges of creating stories and characters that come alive on screen, and how she and her team moved this unique and beautifully crafted feature from her initial idea to production and release.

With a production schedule of just 22 days and a budget of $1.5million The Moon is Upside Down is a significant achievement. This promises to be a fascinating discussion and a rare insight into processes that will appeal to filmmakers at all levels, especially those wanting to make their first feature film.

“With exceptional performances, a deft tone and universal themes, The Moon is Upside Down is destined to become a film festival favourite. Those looking for blockbuster razzle-dazzle won’t find it here. But those looking for something deeper and more meaningful, well, they’ll find a lot to connect with.” – NZ Herald

Wednesday 26th June 2024 

6:30pm – 7:30pm – TALK 
7:30pm – 8:30pm – Cash bar, socialising and pizza

$5.00 + GST + Booking Fee. Sales via Humanitix to secure your seat

Te Auaha NZ Institute of Creativity, 65 Dixon St, Te Aro, Wellington

After the TALK, stay and have pizza on Script to Screen. There will be a cash bar and socialising with fellow filmmakers.

This Script to Screen TALKS is made possible thanks to New Zealand Film CommissionWhite Studios and Images and Sound.

Photograph by Rebecca McMillian


Loren Taylor is a director, actor and writer. Her debut feature as writer and director The Moon is Upside Down had its world premiere in competition at Estonia’s A-List festival POFF Tallinn Black Nights November 2023 where it played to sell-out houses and was awarded Best First Feature. Vendetta will release the film in Aotearoa New Zealand in May.  

Hey Brainy Man, the NZFC-funded short Loren co-directed with Jo Randerson, won NZ’s Best at Te Whānau Marama NZIFF 2023.  Evoke, a VR experience she wrote and co-directed was awarded the XR Award at DocEdge 2023.   

Loren attended the Sundance Feature lab and worked with Taika Waititi on their award-winning screenplay for Eagle vs Shark. She won Best Actress at the Newport International and St Tropez Film Festivals for her role as Lily. As a casting director Loren has worked on, among others, What We Do in the ShadowsThe Light Between Oceans and Top of The Lake. She is known for her work with children, which began with casting and on-set coaching for the Oscar nominated short Two Cars One Night. She is an advisor for and Board member of Story Camp Aotearoa and has been a guest mentor at A Wave in the Ocean.


Duncan Sarkies is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and novelist. His work, heralded by critics for its originality, is best known for its eccentric plots and darkly comic portrayals of ‘the outsider’ and the disturbed. 
Duncan’s career has been prolific across a variety of mediums. He wrote one episode for What We Do In The Shadows and two episodes for Flight of the Conchords. He has written several plays, a short story collection and two novels. Linda Herrick of the Weekend Herald describes Sarkies’ 2008 novel, Two Little Boys, as: ‘Quick, clever, twisted, acutely funny…This is the most amazing book. It’s dark, wildly funny, vivid, and brilliantly original.’ Two Little Boys, adapted in 2012 for the screen (starring Hamish Blake and Bret McKenzie) was co-written by Duncan and his brother Robert, as was the massively popular Scarfies. Duncan also wrote and contributed to the writing of four episodes of ABC’s show Maximum Choppage that aired in 2015, and script edited for ABC’s Soul Mates. He was the director, writer and co-creator of The Mysterious Secrets of Uncle Bertie’s Botanarium, a fantasy podcast series, which Loren Taylor acted in. 2025 will see Duncan release a third novel, Star Gazers, an allegory about the collapse of democracy in a society of alpaca breeders, while he is also developing a television project with comedian Barnie Duncan and a film project with animator Ned Wenlock. 
Duncan currently lives in Te Whanganui a Tara. 

For all those who missed out, we hear you! We couldn’t bring our speakers to every city, but the Script to Screen podcast channel gives you access to all recorded TALKS, no matter where you are. Here’s a link to all our TALKS recorded in 2023.

Listen on PodbeanApple Podcasts and Spotify.

In Conversation with Lee Tamahori

Script to Screen was delighted to present this in-conversation with Lee Tamahori, one of New Zealand’s most successful and celebrated filmmakers. He is the director and co-writer of The Convert, starring Guy Pearce and Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne and premiering at Toronto International Film Festival where it was described as ‘a stunning, sweeping & action-packed historical epic’. Paula Morris moderated the discussion exploring Lee’s approach to making the film, including story themes, ideology and past experiences that guided his decisions.

This talk was held in October 2023 at the Capitol Cinema in Auckland.

Kickstart Your Screenwriting Career

Explore the roots of accomplished New Zealand writers Briar Grace-Smith, Michael Bennett, and Pip Hall, and how they have each paved their way for a successful career in the screen industry. Jackie Dennis probes into their screenwriting process and seeks their advice for aspiring screenwriters including navigating writer’s block and special tips.

This talk was held in August 2023, at the Christchurch Screen Canterbury offices.

Development Essentials with Nicole Dade

Experienced screenwriter, script editor and development producer Nicole Dade breaks down the script development process and discusses how to develop your own idea so that it moves forward. Nicole talks about the main structural element of the story, the story world, and examines how the importance of finding the heart and primal theme of the story is fundamental to its success.

This talk was held in June 2023, at the Christchurch Screen Canterbury offices.

Crafting Powerful and Original Character Arc’s with Anthony Mullins

What story have you got to tell? Hear from Anthony Mullins about how to expand your possibilities as a storyteller and widen your storytelling landscape. This talk delves into the art of screenwriting and explores how writers can excel in crafting more complex intricate and authentic stories through character arcs that go beyond the hero’s journey.

This talk was recorded in Wellington, in May 2023.

Adapting Real Life For The Screen 

Three outstanding writer-directors, Welby Ings, Matthew J. Saville, and Paula Whetu Jones discuss their observations with producer Karin Williams in crafting feature films Punch, Whina and Juniper. If you are telling a story from real life, learn from the experiences of these filmmakers as they recall the creative choices used to weave these screen stories of truth, memory, and social history.

This talk was recorded live in Auckland, in March 2023.

These Script to Screen TALKS have been turned into podcasts thanks to the generous support of Images and Sound.

Note: Other supporters are detailed in their relevant podcasts. 


27 May, 2024

In March 2024 Script to Screen Trustees formed a recruitment committee to find the new Executive Director for Script to Screen Te Tari Tuhi Kupu a Whakaahua.

The committee conducted a thorough process to review applications and then interview well qualified candidates. Significant consideration was given to the skills, experiences and expertise needed to successfully lead Script to Screen.

We are now pleased to announce that Dale Corlett (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitāne, Ngāti Ira) has been engaged as Executive Director beginning 10 July 2024.

Dale is a BAFTA Scotland nominated feature film director who has worked in talent development for the past 30 years including 11 years as CEO/Creative Director of GMAC Film, a not-for-profit charity in Scotland recognised as one of the leading talent development and independent filmmaker centre’s there, and more recently 9 years as the Head of Talent Development at the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC).

During his time at the NZFC Dale led in the planning, development and implementation of the NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori and more recently the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. He also led in the development and implementation of the NZFC Talent Development strategy and worked closely with Script to Screen and all the guilds and industry organisations across the sector.

When he was interviewed for the Script to Screen role, Dale declared a conflict of interest as per the NZFC Conflict of Interest Policy. Since then, a process has been in place at the NZFC to manage the conflict, including delegation of Dale’s decision-making powers to another member of the NZFC leadership team. This means Dale is not a decision maker across any industry funding rounds that have been open or being assessed since Dale’s Script to Screen interview. Dale is due to finish at the NZFC in early July.

Dale says “I have always been inspired by the work Script to Screen delivers and the impact its programmes make for our screen storytellers. So, it is a huge honour and privilege to have been chosen by the board of Script to Screen to be the next Executive Director”.

Dale is passionate about untapping the potential of Aotearoa’s screen talent and he knows the local screen industry well. This will contribute to a smooth and seamless hand over as Jackie Dennis departs.

Please join us in welcoming our new Executive Director.

Dale Corlett


Kōpere Hou Fresh Shorts is an New Zealand Film Commission initiative run in partnership with Script to Screen.

Today we are thrilled to announce the talented filmmaking teams selected for this year’s Kōpere Hou Fresh Shorts. Three outstanding teams are poised to bring their creative visions to life with the support of development resources and a grant from the NZFC of $30,000 per team.

Kōpere Hou Fresh Shorts garnered significant attention this year, with a staggering 119 applications received. After careful consideration, twelve exceptional projects made it to the shortlist and advanced to Whiringa Tuarua – Stage Two. Despite facing tough decisions, we are proud to announce our final three selections.

“We extend our sincere appreciation to all the teams for their dedication and creativity throughout the application process,” says Jackie Dennis, Executive Director of Script to Screen. “The exceptional quality of submissions made the selection process both inspiring and challenging. For those whose projects weren’t selected, we encourage you not to be discouraged. Your passion and talent shine through, and we genuinely hope to see many of these captivating projects brought to life in the future.”

The writers, producers, and directors of the chosen teams will receive support to refine their stories, visions, and production plans. Through tailored workshops and guidance from experienced advisors, they will embark on a transformative six-week journey to enhance their projects’ potential for success.

This year’s selected projects promise a rich tapestry of storytelling, spanning across horror, animation, and drama genres. We congratulate the talented team members hailing from Auckland, Wellington, and Canterbury, whose distinct voices will enrich the already amazing collection of New Zealand’s short films.

The three selected teams and their projects are:

Kōpere Hou Fresh Shorts is a New Zealand Film Commission initiative run in partnership with Script to Screen.


Hear from some of the key creatives of TVNZ smash hit, After the Party, a series many are calling the best new Kiwi offering in years.

Story creators Robyn Malcolm and Dianne Taylor and producer/director Peter Salmon come together to talk about their collaborative process, from the very earliest story conversations to the writing, all stages of production, and publicity.

Peter, Dianne and Robyn will discuss some of their learnings and how they managed challenges that inevitably arose along the way. With dynamic, talented speakers like these,  this promises to be an interesting and stimulating conversation.

There are limited seats, book early, don’t miss out!

When: Tuesday 23rd April, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Arrive from 6:00 PM for a 6.30 start

Where: The Spinoff
1/615 New North Road, Morningside
(entrance is off Western Springs Road)
Please get in touch if you have any accessibility requirements.

Cost: General Admission $5.00 (Plus. GST+BF) via Humanitix.

Please be sure to arrive with plenty of time to be seated for a 6:30 prompt start.
Allow time to find a park. There are bus and train stops close to the venue.

Robyn Malcolm, a celebrated multi Award winning New Zealand actress is renowned for her iconic portrayal of Cheryl West in Outrageous Fortune. She is currently engaged in filming the feature Pike alongside Melanie Lynskey and features in TVNZ/ITV’s After the Party, which she co-created and stars in alongside Peter Mullan. Her diverse screen presence extends to Warner Bros/Discovery’s Far North with Temuera Morrison, Apple TV’s Black Bird with Taron Egerton and the late Ray Liotta. Notably, she has made significant contributions to Australian television through appearances in series such as Rake, Upper Middle Bogan, Wanted, and Harrow, and has graced notable films like Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lovely Bones, and Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake.

Dianne’s latest project is the six-part t.v drama, After The Party, (dir. Peter Salmon) which she created in collaboration with lead actor, Robyn Malcolm. It screened on TVNZ in late 2023 and is available to view on TVNZ+.   Her previous work includes the feature film,  Beyond The Known World, (dir. Pan Nalin) which was filmed in India and released in New Zealand in April 2016. Her first film, Apron Strings, 2008 (dir. Sima Urale co-writer, Shuchi Kothari) opened the NZ International Film Festival and screened in numerous film festivals around the world, including Toronto.  Dianne also works as a script advisor and has mentored writers in the Show Me Shorts and Fresh Shorts development programmes.  In 2023 she was invited to tutor at the FilmNomad Screenwriting Workshop in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Peter Salmon is an award-winning director and producer working extensively in  Australia and New Zealand. A co-founder of Auckland production company Luminous Beast, he co-created and directed the Sky Originals series INSiDE, winner of the 2021 International Emmy for Short-Form Series.  His other directing credits include ABC’s RakeHarrow for Hulu and ABC, Halifax: Retribution for the Nine Network, the CBBC/Seven Network/TVNZ co-production Mystic;  the ABC’s The Beautiful Lie, starring Sarah Snook, the award-winning Nowhere BoysOffspring for Network Ten, and Wanted for Matchbox Pictures and Netflix, for which he won the New Zealand TV Award for Best Director.
Peter produced and directed the acclaimed NZ drama After The Party and has recently completed directing Madam, starring Rachel Griffiths and Martin Henderson.

This TALK is made possible thanks to the support from the New Zealand Film Commission, Images and Sound, White Studios and The Spinoff.


Narrative Design is the process of understanding story as a system. This understanding allows storytellers to better connect to both play and interactivity, for games, XR and live choice-driven experiences. It also gives a look “under the hood” at how story functions on a meta and micro structural level, which can help linear storytelling move away from rigid conventions.

This practical workshop will introduce three validated processes of narrative design that can be used across a wide range of media.

These result in clear and simple diagrams that can be used to clarify ideas, facilitate discussion and communicate to stakeholders.

Participants will work on their own laptops using the online collaboration tool, Miro – now a standard for the industry – and take a new idea from inspiration to a short choice-driven narrative design.

Alexander Swords works in writing, narrative design, and narrative direction for video games, XR and live interactive experiences. The workshop is based on the Forest Paths Method which is now used by studios and educators to develop and teach narrative design around the world.


Who is it for: Anyone 17+, any skill level.

When: Wednesday 3rd April, 10am – 4pm
Where:  Yoobee College of Creative Innovation – Auckland City Road Campus
Level 4/3 City Road, Grafton, Auckland 1010
Please get in touch with us if you require special assistance with the venue.

Cost: General Admission $125 (incl. GST+BF) via Humanitix.

What to bring: Laptop (not provided), water bottle and lunch. Snacks, tea and coffee will be provided. 1hr lunch break – countdown and cafes within walking distance.

Parking: Allow adequate time to find a public park; using public transport is recommended.

Alexander Swords is a writer, narrative designer and director in video games and interactive experiences. He’s also the creator of the Forest Paths Method for Narrative Design, a player-first approach to understanding story in an approachable and collaborative way, used internationally by developers and educators. Advising government, arts organisations, and educators, he’s an advocate for diverse stories and their writers, and is currently teaching at the National Institute for the Dramatic Arts (NIDA), a resident practitioner at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and on the Interactive and AI Committees for the Australian Writers’ Guild.

Script to Screen thanks Yoobee College of Creative Innovation for providing the venue on their city campus.


8 March, 2024

Script to Screen Announces Departure of Executive Director Jackie Dennis

After seven years of dedicated service to Script to Screen, Executive Director Jackie Dennis has announced her decision to resign from full-time work. She will remain in the role for three months to ensure a smooth transition as the organisation seeks a new Executive Director.

The Board of Script to Screen has commenced the recruitment process. They remain committed to Script to Screen’s ongoing success in developing the craft and culture of storytelling for the screen and are grateful for Jackie’s significant contributions to its growth under her leadership.

During her tenure Jackie made meaningful contributions, including founding the Script Development Service, partnering on the annual Kōpere Hou Fresh Shorts program with New Zealand Film Commission, launching Awhi peer-to-peer support for alumni during COVID-19 lockdown, overseeing the creation of a free online short film and web series tutorial, and collaborating on development programs in the South Island with Te Puna Matarau and Film Otago Southland.

She also managed Script to Screen taking full ownership of the Big Screen Symposium, and kept the two-day event a vibrant, much-loved gathering of screen creatives despite pandemic challenges.

According to Michael Harper, Chair of the Board of Script to Screen “Jackie has made an incredible contribution to Script to Screen. She has steered our organisation through the significant challenges of recent years with grace, humour, passion and great wisdom. On behalf of all of the current and former trustees and staff of Script to Screen, I want to thank Jackie for all of her hard work. She has achieved much during her 7 years, and we are very sad to say goodbye.”

Reflecting on her time, Jackie said, “It has been an absolute pleasure being part of such a talented creative community. I am proud of our shared accomplishments and will always cherish the memories from my time here. I hope to continue contributing in some way to a vibrant screen industry.”

For further information, please contact the recruitment committee via

To apply for the position, please follow this link:

Script to Screen, in partnership with Film Otago Southland, launches an exciting new development opportunity called Southern Pilots, for Otago and Southland based screen creators.

Script to Screen and Film Otago Southland are looking for new and emerging filmmakers with compelling, bold series story ideas suitable for development and viable for future production. Southern Pilots offers both talent and project development for three teams. The teams will have one-on-one advisor sessions and hear from industry speakers over a three-day development workshop, which aims to create outstanding pitch documents to present to potential producer partners and funders. 

Southern Pilots kaupapa is to help creatives from Otago and Southland generate IP for local and international audiences. This will, in turn, increase activity in both regions and foster a strong creative network of screen practitioners. 

Key Dates:

12 February: Applications open now
19 February: 5:30 pm application information webinar. Read FAQ’S Here
18 March: 1 pm applications close
21-23 June: 3-day workshop for selected teams



Script to Screen will manage the application and selection process and design and deliver the development workshop. We have a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy that informs our work. Southern Pilots uses the NZFC definition for new and emerging filmmakers.

Please contact the team at Script to Screen, for any further questions. 

This development programme is possible thanks to funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.



If you are a new or emerging filmmaker with a connection to South Auckland, don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity to advance your screenwriting abilities in 2024.

During this six-month mentorship programme, successful applicants attend a series of one-day hubs and are led through focused script development under the guidance of Briar Grace-Smith. Briar brings considerable experience and knowledge to the room for group mentorship, and each participant also gets one-on-one feedback. The hub days involve script read-throughs, writing exercises, and hearing from guest speakers about their experiences making films. On completion of the programme, you will leave with new skills and tools to develop your work, a great new network of like-minded practitioners, and a completed short film script.

This initiative is intended for people who live in South Auckland or are connected to the South Auckland community – maybe you grew up there, have whānau there, or feel connected to the community in some other way. This opportunity will help you to develop your story, share your unique perspective, and develop your career as a screenwriter within a supportive framework.

Applications for the 2024 South Shorts Mentorship Programme are open now.

Opens: Wednesday 7th February 2024
Closes: 1:00 PM Monday 25th March 2024
Notification of outcome: Early May 2024

“South Shorts has helped me with overcoming writers block and given me the confidence to present my ideas in a safe creative space. The connections I have made throughout the hubs are life changing and extremely valuable for my career moving forward. I would highly recommend these workshops to any filmmaker out there looking to develop their ideas and build connections with fellow likeminded creatives.”
– Kaitiaki Rodger, South Shorts 2023 Participant 

To apply you will need to submit: 
  • Short biography (300-word limit)
  • Why would this programme be valuable to you? (300-word limit)
  • Summarise your connection to South Auckland
  • Short film logline (One to two sentences summarising your short film concept – what and who is it about?)
  • Synopsis of your short film idea (600-word limit)
  • Script or written document for your short film idea (optional)
  • Must be connected to South Auckland
  • Aged 17+  


Briar Grace-Smith is of Ngā Puhi descent and a writer of short fiction, stage plays and feature films. Her plays include Ngā Pou Wāhine, Purapurawhetū and When Sun and Moon Collide. She is an Arts Foundation Laureate and was recently made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film, television and theatre. She has worked as a Development Executive for the New Zealand Film Commission and taught ‘Writing for Theatre’ at IIML (2015). Briar is a Sundance alumni and the writer of the feature films The Strength of Water and Fresh Meat. Her television credits include Fishskin SuitBeing EveKaitangata Twitch and the Australian children’s television series, Grace Beside Me (2017). She was a director and co-writer of the short film, Nine of Hearts, and wrote and directed Charm for the feature project Waru (2017). She collaborated with Toi Whakaari, directing Krystal, a short film by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu. She was the screenwriter and co-director of the feature film Cousins, and is a writer and co-director of Rūrangi, Series 2. Briar was made a member of the Directors branch of the Academy in 2022.

This programme is reliant on funding being achieved. Applicants will be informed of the funding outcome prior to the South Shorts submission deadline on the 25th of March.

The South Shorts Mentorship Programme is made possible thanks to generous support from Foundation North.



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