This year marks the eleventh year of the FilmUp mentorship programme, and we are delighted to announce the 2023/24 participants who will join this growing community. 

Script to Screen engaged three external selectors to read all of the applications.  They selected 8 exceptional participants with a project in development. The selected participants listed below will be matched with a mentor to help develop their project. During the six-month programme the group will also participate in a series of three FilmUp Hubs that include round tables, group workshops, and guest speakers. 

There was an outstanding range of applications for the 2024 programme, and the final selection was a challenging process for our selectors. We congratulate this year’s participants and would like to thank all the filmmakers who applied.

The 8 filmmakers selected for FilmUp 2024: 

(Pictured left to right above) 

  • Pulkit Arora
    Writer/Director – Soft – Feature Film  
  • Danny Aumua
    Writer/Director/Producer – Sorry I’m Samoan – Feature Film 
  • Ryan Carter
    Writer- Choreomania – Feature Film  
  • Anna Rose Duckworth
    Director – Put a Baby in Me – Feature Film 
  • Ella Gilbert
    Writer/Director – The Desert Road – Feature Film 
  • Angeline Loo
    Writer/Director – Hungry Ghosts – Feature Film 
  • Maza White
    Writer/Director – Ruptured – Feature Film 
  • Harry Wynn
    Writer/Director – Zyzz (Working Title) – Feature Documentary 


FilmUp is made possible thanks to funding from The New Zealand Film Commission


Calling all aspiring filmmakers, storytellers and creatives! Want to learn how to use the power of cinema to tell your stories?

The South Auckland Short Film Workshop is a two-day workshop, held over two weekends, that covers how to turn an idea into a short film. Whether you’re new to filmmaking or have some experience, we are calling everyone who aspires to tell their stories on the screen to come and learn what it takes to bring your story to life.

Over two successive Saturdays, experienced filmmakers will guide you through the principles of how to write a short film, the role of the director, what it takes to get your short film off the ground and what’s needed to pitch to funders and collaborators. Speakers include Marina Alofagia McCartney (Milk & Honey, Vai), Nikki Si’ulepa (Same But Different, Mā, Snow in Paradise) and Vea Mafile’o (The Panthers, For My Fathers Kingdom).

Who it is for: New and emerging creatives 17+ from any industry who have an interest in short filmmaking.

When: Sat 18th November and Sat 25th November 2023 (9am-5pm each day)

Where: Friendship House, 20 Putney Way, Manukau CBD, Auckland 2104
Wheelchair access is available. If you require special assistance, please let us know.

Cost: General Admission $12.50 (inc GST + BF) Tickets via Humanitix 

What to Bring: Pen and paper. Coffee, tea and snacks provided. You can bring lunch with you or there are many places to buy lunch in the immediate vicinity.

Participants from this workshop with a connection to South Auckland are encouraged to apply for Script to Screen’s South Shorts 2023 Mentorship Programme when applications open in February. Read more about South Shorts here.

Participants from this workshop with a connection to South Auckland are encouraged to apply for Script to Screen’s South Shorts 2023 Mentorship Programme when applications open in February. Read more about South Shorts here.. 


Marina Alofagia McCartney

(Pitonu’ū, Satupa’itea and Vailoa, Palauli – Savai’i, Samoa / Newcastle –England / Romani – England)

Marina Alofagia McCartney is an award-winning filmmaker and scholar with films featured in numerous festivals, including Palm Springs, NZIFF, ImagineNATIVE, Hawai’i International Film Festival. Marina wrote and directed the Samoan piece for the film Vai, which opened the NATIVe section at the 2019 Berlinale, and screened at festivals including SXSW, Edinburgh Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival. She has worked on writers’ tables as a storyliner and screenwriter (My Life Is Murder) and is developing several projects including her feature Dusky and NZFC Catalyst film, The Return.

 Nikki Si’ulepa

Sātalo, Solāua (Sāmoa)

Nikki Si’ulepa is an Aotearoa-born Samoan with German and Chinese ancestry from the villages of Sātalo, Falealili and Solāua. She’s an actor, writer, director, camera operator, screen tutor, and founding Pacific Islands Screen Artists Komiti member (PISA, est. 2020). She’s worked in the New Zealand screen industry since her debut acting role in Whole of the Moon in 1995, where she won two best actress awards. Her films have also won awards and nominations and have screened at international film festivals, including Berlinale, Tribeca, Sydney, Melbourne, FIFO, Queerscreen, NZIFF, Hollyshorts, and imagineNATIVE.

In 2021, Nikki created ScreenFit classes for writers, directors and actors of various skills, backgrounds and experiences to come together and work scenes to stay ‘screen fit’. Nikki has taught acting for screen and facilitated workshops on writing and filmmaking at South Shorts, The Actors Program, Excel Performing Arts, Actors Lab Studio, and various PISA events. Nikki can be seen on Canadian and New Zealand television screens in South Pacific Pictures’ thriller, The Sounds, in Roseanne Liang’s Shadow in the Cloud post-apocalyptic comedy drama, Creamerie, and guest stars opposite Kiwi Xena icon Lucy Lawless in My Life is Murder. Nikki’s currently writing and developing a new slate of films and series’.

Nikki loves arthouse films, vegan ice cream, fun film festivals, and short walks on the beach.

Vea Madile’o

Tongaleleka, Ha’apai (Tonga), Ngāti Te Wehi (Māori), English and Scottish

Vea is an Auckland based freelance film, television and media director, producer and artist who has filmed and exhibited her work extensively throughout the Pacific Islands. 2019 was a big year for Vea. Her debut feature film NZ Film Commission funded documentary, For My Father’s Kingdom, world premiered at the prestigious 2019 Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival, in which Vea and partner / co-director / cinematographer, Jeremiah Tauamiti, and Vea’s siblings and father attended. FMFK won a jury award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and is the first ever Pacific Islands feature length documentary in the world to be directed and produced by Tongan women. Vea’s short film, Toa’ipuapuagā – Strength in Suffering A Samoan Stigmata, also premiered at the 2019 Berlinale. Vea won the Moana Best Pasifika Non-Fiction Director at the 2019 Wairoa Maori Film Festival Inc. Film Festival.

Vea has worked as an art director and location camera operator / director for TVNZ’s Pacific shows, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika, and for Pacific one-stop-shop website The Coconet TV and in films MariaLiliu, My Friend Michael Jones, MESSiAH Short Film, Finding Honk, The Map Reader. Vea is also the founder of the Okalani Film Festival and the Nuku’alofa Film Festival NFF.

Vea is currently developing a feature documentary, short film, and dramatic feature film. Vea has also produced three sons aged ten, six and three years old, some of her best productions to date.

This workshop is made possible thanks to generous support from Creative Communities Auckland and Foundation North.

Script to Screen also receives financial support from the New Zealand Film Commission.

Spend a day with Pip Hall (One Lane Bridge, Jonah, Why Does Love?) as she guides participants through her process when developing story ideas for TV series.

Throughout the day Pip will look at character and character function, theme and story engine as well as constructing an outstanding pilot script and pitch document. This workshop will be craft based and combines practical elements, presented content, group work, discussion and case studies.

Promising to be both interactive and engaging, this is a terrific opportunity to spend a day focusing on your craft as a writer. You’ll be working on your ideas as well as taking notes, so bring your notepad or preferred writing device.

When: 9am – 5pm, Saturday 4th November 2023
Where:H D Skinner Annex, 361 Great King Street North, North Dunedin, Dunedin 9016. The room for the workshop is upstairs.
Wheelchair access is available. If you require special assistance, please let us know. 

Cost: General Admission $30 (incl. GST & Booking Fee) via Humanitix.

Who is it for? Anyone 17+ currently working on a story idea for the screen. This workshop would be particularly beneficial for those writing for TV Series and will be a mix of teaching and writing exercises.

What to bring? Please bring a new or existing idea to work on. Also a notebook & pen or note-taking device, a water bottle and your lunch. Script to Screen will provide snacks, tea and coffee. There are café’s in the area if you prefer to buy your lunch.

Travel Grants Available for residents of Otago and Southland: Film Otago Southland will provide up to 5 travel grants of up to $100 each for participants who reside outside of the Dunedin City Council boundaries and have their permanent residence in the Otago or Southland region. The grants are allocated on a first-in basis. Please get in touch with Film Otago Southland Coordinator Stefan Roesch via email to secure your travel grant:




Pip Hall is an award-winning scriptwriter and playwright. She works extensively in television as a creator, writer, developer, story liner, script consultant and executive producer.  She has written over forty million dollars’ worth of content including three series of One Lane Bridge, Why Does Love, Runaway Millionairesand The Brokenwood Mysteries.

“I love telling stories because I want to share the human condition, so that we know we are not alone in this big, crazy world; so we can celebrate our similarities and our differences.” – Pip Hall










This workshop is made possible with the support of the Dunedin City Creative Communities Scheme, Dunedin City Council, Film Otago Southland, Film Dunedin and New Zealand Film Commission.


Kōpere Hou reflects the colour, the radiance and beauty of a new rainbow and is symbolic of the significant display and presence of a well-crafted short film.

Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts offers a rare opportunity to get funding for your short film idea. You can apply with live-action, animation or documentary projects between 4 and 25 minutes. The programme was established to find talent with distinct voices and aims to nurture, challenge, and inspire the selected filmmakers through a development and mentoring process.

Six teams will be selected to receive up to $30,000 to facilitate the cost of making their short film. The teams behind each of these projects will attend a two-day development workshop in June 2024 and be matched with experienced industry practitioners to receive six weeks of mentoring as they get their project ‘shoot ready’.

There are two stages to the application process.

At Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage One you will need to have a writer, director and producer to submit  the following:

Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage One is open now and will close at 1:00pm on Monday 6 November. Applications are made via the Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts Funding Portal.

A shortlist of 18 teams will be selected from the Stage One applications and invited to submit a Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage Two application in January 2024. From the shortlist, six projects will receive $30,000 grants. The teams behind each of these projects will attend a two-day development workshop held 8-9 June 2024 and will be matched with experienced mentors to get their project ‘shoot ready’. The focus is on the development of both people and stories.

Criteria and requirements for the assessment of both Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage One and Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage Two can be viewed on our website. If you have any questions, please contact Script to Screen:


APPLICATIONS OPEN: NOW, Wednesday 27 September 2023 (Apply via Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts Portal)
APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 1pm, Monday 6 November, 2023

APPLICATIONS OPEN: Monday 15 January 2024 
APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 1pm, Monday 26 February 2024 
MENTORSHIPS: 10 June to 19 July 2024 (Six weeks) 

Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts is an NZFC initiative run in partnership with Script to Screen.

Photographer Xander Dixon. From Hey, Brainy Man directed by Jo Randerson & Loren Taylor 2023

Mid-winter is a good time for planning and we here at STS are plotting the next twelve months. We wanted to let you know that our development programmes will open later than usual. STS relies on funding, and one of our funding sources opened a couple of months later than usual, hence the change to our dates. For those of you who are planning around these submission dates, here’s an idea of what to expect:

As mentioned, they are all funding contingent, and these dates may change, but if you are thinking you would like to apply this is a good guide.

We have some great community workshops and TALKS coming up, so pop the ones that are in your region on your calendar. Keep an eye on your email, for when registrations open.

11 August – Christchurch TALK 

16 September – Queenstown Workshop

21 October – Auckland Workshop

4 November – Dunedin workshop


Have you ever had funds to bring on a script consultant or editor for your screen story but have struggled to find the right person to work with?

In response to an industry need for greater access to experienced script developers, Script to Screen launches Aotearoa’s first ever multi-consultant Script Development Service. It provides access to experienced, thoughtful story developers who can help you progress your story in a meaningful way.

Our Script Development Service is underpinned by manaakitanga, excellence and rigour.

Script Developers: 

We have entered into agreements with experienced script developers who work with feature films, short films and series. They are working creatives who do development work when they have time available.


There are six services, each begins with a conversation with your developer to explore your intention, motivation, and the kaupapa of your story.
1.  Feature Film – In depth discussiondiscussion and feedback on where the script is at, and guidance with how to move forward from the current draft.
Fee: NZ $1,500 (+ GST if applicable)

2.  Feature Film – Script consultancy: in-depth development, with the consultant guiding the writer to a workable plan for the next draft. The writer then writes the draft without the developer.
Fee range: NZ $2,875-$4,600 (+ GST if applicable)

3.  Feature Film – Script edit: in depth development, with the consultant guiding the writer to a workable plan for the next draft. The developer continues to work with the writer throughout the writing of the draft all the way through to delivery.
Fee range: NZ $5,750-$9,000 (+ GST if applicable)


4.  Short Film – In depth script discussion: discussion and feedback on where the short film script is at, and guidance to move forward from the current draft.
Fee: NZ $440 (+ GST if applicable)

5.  Pitch Deck for a limited series – In depth discussion: discussion, feedback and guidance on strengthening your Pitch Deck.
Fee: NZ $880 (+ GST if applicable)

6.  Pitch Deck for a limited series, with pilot episode – In depth discussion: discussion, feedback and guidance on strengthening your pitch deck and the pilot episode.
Fee: NZ $1,400 (+ GST if applicable)

Script to Screen launches a series of video tutorials where talented New Zealand filmmakers share their knowledge and advice about how to develop a short film or web series. Over nine videos, viewers learn how to find a good story, write a script, prepare for production and pitch the project to funders and collaborators.

The videos are a valuable resource for any new or emerging screen practitioners developing a screen project as they are full of tips and insights thoughtfully shared by experienced writers, directors and producers from the NZ screen community.

The filmmakers who contributed are Hamish Bennett (Bellbird, Ross & Beth, The Dump), Robyn Grace (Power Rangers Dino Fury, Sweet Tooth, Oranges and Lemons), Sophie Henderson (The Justice of Bunny King, Baby Done, Fantail), Alex Lovell (My Friend Michael Jones, Mister Sunshine), Shoshana McCallum (INSiDE, Head High, Creamerie), Marina Alofagia McCartney (Vai, Milk & Honey), Jaimee Poipoi (Krystal), Emmett Skilton (Millennial Jenny, Auckward Love), Morgan Leigh Stewart (Albularyo, Blood and Gold, Deathgasm), Dianne Taylor (Beyond the Known World, Apron Strings, Hauraki) and Karin Williams (Burning of the Gods, Teine Sā, Sis).

Jackie Dennis, Executive Director at Script to Screen said “These tutorials are packed with information about what to do if you want to make a short film or web series and we are so happy to now be able to share them with anyone interested in telling screen stories. They remove the mystery and will support the development of new voices in Aotearoa”.

Script to Screen created these videos in 2021 for the Paerangi Project – a development programme that reduced barriers by offering accessible learning to those who had not had the opportunity to study filmmaking. With the successful completion of the Paerangi Project earlier this year, the video tutorials are now available to all.

The tutorials are:

Each video has closed captions, and transcripts in .pdf and .doc formats. Self-directed homework accompanies the videos and can be downloaded from our website.

Paerangi Project and these video tutorials are possible thanks to funding from Screenrights Cultural Fund and New Zealand Film Commission.

We’re Looking forward to seeing you at the next Big Screen Symposium on Sat 9 and Sun 10 July 2022 at the ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland! Tickets are now on sale. Each ticket gives you access to two days of sessions with local and international speakers, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, and our much-loved networking drinks on the Friday night. Industry concessions apply to members of participating organisations.

The WIFT Awards will again be held at the same venue the night before on Fri 8 July to complement the event.

Subscribe to our mailing list here, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with announcements.

Script to Screen is excited to be offering scholarships for six screen practitioners to take part in UCLA’s 10-week online training course Writing Screenplay Coverage.

Script to Screen will provide wrap-around support for the six participants before, during and after the course which runs from 30 September to 8 December 2021 (NZST). The UCLA course content is delivered through an online learning platform where you can engage with the instructor and classmates. There are no required live meetings, but assignments are due regularly. This course upskills aspiring story analysts, script editors, script assessors and development producers.

UCLA Extension: Writing Screenplay Coverage – Course Description:
“You learn how to do an in-depth analysis of the three-act structure, as well as dramatic and comic scene construction. You also learn the precise terminology used in story sessions, the foundations for great dialogue, and how to find original approaches to established genres. These and other principles become synthesised into coverage written to the highest professional standards in preparation for a job as either a story analyst or screenwriter who needs to critique his or her own scripts effectively.”

Script to Screen has identified a need to increase the diversity of script readers, assessors and selectors in Aotearoa and will therefore prioritise EOI from people with diverse identities and backgrounds.

The six selected participants will attend two Script to Screen workshops, one before the course starts and one after it finishes. The workshops will give context to the US-based course, demonstrating how the learning can be applied to a New Zealand context. Participants will also form a study group for the duration of the course.

To be eligible for this opportunity you need to:

UCLA course costs are paid for by Script to Screen thanks to support from the US Consulate. The workshops will take place in Auckland and all travel costs for participants based outside of Auckland will be covered by Script to Screen.

Those interested in participating please submit an expression of interest. It will include:

Expressions of Interest close: 20 June 2021, 11:59pm


Script to Screen Alumni Florian Habicht‘s new film James & Isey is currently screening in cinemas all over Aotearoa. How can a film, shot without a film crew, become a hit at the NZ box office?

Florian would love to have coffee or lunch with you at Bestie Cafe in Auckland, and share some of his filmmaking secrets with you.

To enter, simply email us a publicity stunt idea for James & Isey and Florian will choose his favourite and try and make it happen!

James & Isey in cinemas now! Find a screening near you.

Entries close: Sun 30 May 2021

Florian Habicht was born in Berlin, and immigrated with his family to New Zealand in the 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 (2011) and cinematic homage to British band Pulp – Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets (2014). Florian released his seventh feature film Spookers in 2017. James & Isey (2021) is his eighth feature, currently showing in cinemas. His films have been distributed in over 18 countries.

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