Eligibility Criteria  

Q: Where can we seek external (objective) advice on whether we are emerging or mid-career filmmakers?
A: As this programme is funded by NZFC, we are using their career level descriptions. You can contact info@script-to-screen.co.nz to seek more nuanced advice. 

Q: Does living in central Otago count?
A: You must have your current permanent residence in either Otago or Southland to take part in Southern Pilots.  

Q: Do you have to have a director attached? Can it be Writer / Producer duo?  
A: The team does not have to have a director attached, it can be a Writer and Producer duo. 

Q: Do you have to have a producer attached? Can it be Writer / Director duo?  
A: The team must have a producer attached. 

Q: Does the cultural consultant need to be based in the area?
A: Only the key team members Producer, Writer and Director need to be based in the Otago Southland Region. The cultural consultant does not need to be based in the area, but if there is a suitable consultant in the region it would be good to use them.  

Q: We are working on a series that must be shot in Dunedin but only 1 of the team is Otago based, the others Wellington / Auckland but no longer live in the city. Does that mean we are not eligible for this initiative?
A: Correct, the Wellington / Auckland team members are not living in Otago or Southland right now, so this teams project would not be eligible. A priority of the programme is to foster and develop local talent living in Otago or Southland.  

Q: Does the project need to be set / shot in Otago and/or Southland?
A: No, but preference will be given to projects either set in Otago and/or Southland or will be shot in Otago and/or Southland. 


Project Content/Duration 

Q: Is a one-hour drama suitable?
A: There is no minimum or maximum duration for the Southern Pilots projects, but duration should suit the experience level of the team and meet the requirements of the intended platform. 

Q: The application called for 5-10 pages of sample script. Can a full episode be given?  
A: The selectors will only be reading 5 pages for a series 30mins or less, and 10 pages for series greater than 30mins.  

Q: Are there any genres that are a focus for this initiative, e.g. comedy, horror, etc.
A: All genres will be considered.  

Q: Are selectors looking for any specific content? E.g. highlighting rural NZ issues, as an example. Or is it anything goes?
A: The selectors have no preconceived ideas about what they want. They will be looking for the best ideas. Preference will be given to projects that are set in Otago and/or Southland or will be shot in Otago and/or Southland. 

Q: Are there any objections to target audience type with content containing drug use/nudity/expletives 
A: No, as long as it is suitable for, and can be found by the proposed audience. 

Q: Will animated series be considered?
A: Yes, animated series will be considered. Information about where the animation would take place will be an important part of an application for animated series.  


Other Questions 

Q: If a story isn’t ready for this year, is Southern Pilots likely to be a regular event? 
A: Southern Pilots is reliant on funding. We cannot know, at this time, if we will successfully achieve funding in the future, but we would like to run the programme again. Please join our mailing list to receive notifications of future announcements.  


Q: Does the team of Writer, Director, need to contracted to the Producer?
A: We highly recommend the IP holder has a Letter of Understanding or a Development Agreement in place with each member of the team if the team do not hold the IP jointly. Please read the NZWG’s Best Practice Guide, in particular the Tools For A Strong Start.

Linked below:




Q: Submitting your documents. What to Submit? 
A: You must attach one document (no more than 10 pages) as a PDF answering all questions 1-9. Your script sample of 5-10 pages must be uploaded and attached as a separate PDF.   



Six filmmaking teams have been selected for Kōpere Hou Fresh Shorts  2021/22, and each will receive project development and a grant of $15,000 to make their short film.

The final six were selected from 112 applications received. 18 teams were shortlisted and given feedback from independent assessors.  Fresh Shorts programme manager Emma Mortimer supported the teams as they prepared for a more detailed application to Whiringa Tuarua – Stage Two in January. From those 18 submissions, six have been selected.  Two teams who were shortlisted last year, but didn’t get selected, did further work on their projects and resubmitted with success this year.

Through a development process and mentoring these writers, producers and directors are supported to improve their projects to an excellent standard where the story is shoot ready. The teams will get the advice they need, and guidance from experienced mentors.

Jackie Dennis, Executive Director of Script to Screen Te Tari Tuhi Kupu A Whakaahua says, “it’s our joy to create a tailored programme that nurtures, challenges, and inspires these filmmakers. We look forward to supporting each member of the teams as they develop their stories and prepare for production.

Dale Corlett, Head of NZFC Talent Development says ” We were impressed by both the talent of all the shortlisted teams and the uniqueness of their stories. We look forward to working alongside the funded teams to bring exceptional films to the screen.”


The 6 selected teams and their projects are:

Can I submit a  Series Concept in any genre?
Yes, you can submit a comedy/thriller/crime/horror/sci-fi etc series concept as long as it is scripted.

Do I have to have a producer attached to my project to apply?
No, but it is important that the series is being developed to pitch to broadcasters, platforms or co-producers experienced at getting series funded and produced. So if one of the writers is also going to pitch the series after Bootcamp, then a producer does not need to be in the team.

Can I be both the writer and the producer?
Yes, you can be a producer and writer of your TV series concept as long as you are capable of performing both roles.

Do all team members have to attend in person?
All key team members must be able to attend the two-day development lab in person in Auckland 4 & 5 May, the online session mid June and the pitch day 26 June. 

If there is a highly experienced producer guiding a new producer (or writer-producer), only the new producer needs to attend the development lab.

How do I know if my experience level meet eligibility?
We expect applicants to be on a learning pathway. For this programme, if you think you are emerging or mid-career and that you can learn from Series Bootcamp advisors, then you are eligible. You may choose to address how this programme would develop your career in your biography e.g. you are an experienced writer/director who is stepping into producing; or you are an experienced producer in film/doco/reality TV but not Scripted TV.

Can I apply more than once?
Yes, but keep in mind the selectors would have to eliminate one project from the short list should one team member be attached to two projects that are in the shortlist.

Five teams have been selected to workshop their short film project over three days for the final stage of Paerangi Project. In March 2022 the teams will attend the Stage Threeworkshop, a three-day residential development workshop where they will receive tailored script feedback, directing mentoring, and producing advice from industry mentors. The workshop teaches the participants valuable skills to push their projects closer to production and is also an opportunity for them to meet like-minded people and industry practitioners.

In June 2021, 110 aspiring filmmakers from around the motu registered for Stage One of Paerangi Project to pursue their interest in developing a short film or web series. From this group, seven teams were selected to participate in Stage Two, and received six weeks of online mentorship with an experienced filmmaker to refine their project.

The projects and participants chosen for Stage Three are:

Congratulations to all the participants!

The Paerangi Project was initiated to support those who live outside the main centres, in remote regions or those who are isolated from opportunities to learn about filmmaking. Registrations came from all over NZ; Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau, Bay of Plenty / Te Moana-a-Toi, Canterbury / Waitaha, Gisborne/ Te Tai Rāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay / Te Matau-a-Māui, Manawatū-Wanganui, Northland / Te Tai Tokerau, Otago / Ōtākou, Southland / Murihiku, Tasman / Te Tai-o-Aorere, Waikato, and Wellington / Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, as well as from the Cook Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.

This initiative came about thanks to the Screenrights Cultural Fund  New Voices, to advance those who, for whatever reason, have found doors not readily open to them. New Zealand Film Commission matched the funding to support the development of aspiring filmmakers who have felt isolated from opportunities.


Script to Screen and Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission would like to thank all the filmmakers who applied for Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage One. There was a wealth of great ideas and some extremely strong talent to select from.

From a total of 112 applications, a panel of external film industry assessors shortlisted 18 projects. These shortlisted teams have been invited to apply for Whiringa Tuarua – Stage Two. At this stage, each team will be supported throughout so they can submit a full application.

The 18 shortlisted teams have a one in three chance of workshopping their project with industry experts and receiving a grant of $15,000 to make their film.

We now have great pleasure in announcing the projects and teams who have been shortlisted for Whiringa Tuarua – Stage Two of Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts 2021/22.

Congratulations to:


Script to Screen and Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission work in partnership to deliver the Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts programme.

Image: Stuntman (directed by Pavel Kvatch)

A conversation with the creators of Netflix’s new hit crime thriller Clickbait. While set in the US, Clickbait was developed and made in Australia. It was filmed in and around Melbourne with both US and Australian actors and post-production was completed whilst the city was dealing with many restrictions caused by the pandemic. Co-creators Tony Ayres and Christian White talk with moderator Cass Avery across a wide range of subjects including writing and collaboration, building a team, adapting the series for the US and the audience metrics they received from Netflix.

This Script to Screen Talk was held on 19 October 2021 as an online webinar and made possible thanks to generous support from the New Zealand Film Commission, Foundation North and Images & Sound.

Watch more TALKS from us

Hear more TALKS from us


Tony Ayres is an award-winning Australian showrunner, writer and director. He is well known for creating some of Australia’s most revered film and television dramas including The Home Song Stories, Nowhere Boys, The Slap, Glitch, Stateless and most recently Clickbait, along with feature movies Cut Snake (2015), The Home Song Stories (2007) and Walking on Water (2002).

Christian White is an Australian author, screenwriter and producer. He has written award-winning novels The Nowhere Child and The Wife and the Widow. Christian co-created the television series Clickbait, with Tony Ayres. He also co-wrote the feature film Relic, a horror/drama starring Emily Mortimer, Bella Heathcote and Robyn Nevin.

Cass Avery is a producer, executive producer and writer, Cass has helmed and scripted more than 50 documentaries and television series commissioned in NZ and Australia. She is currently Head of Development and the Executive Producer at Augusto.

Tues 19 October
5:30pm – 6:30pm NZDT – TALK


This Script to Screen TALK is made possible thanks to generous support from the
New Zealand Film CommissionFoundation North and Images & Sound.

Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts is on the search for the next generation of up-and-coming NZ filmmakers.

Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts is an NZFC initiative run in partnership with Script to Screen. The programme’s aim is to nurture, challenge, and inspire short filmmaking talent through a development and industry mentoring process. The focus is on the development of both people and stories.

Six teams will be selected to receive up to $15,000 to facilitate the cost of making a short narrative film. The films can be live-action, animation or documentary, with a duration of between four and 25 minutes. The teams behind each of these projects will attend a two-day development workshop in March 2022 and be matched with an experienced industry practitioner to receive six weeks of mentoring to get their project ‘shoot ready’.

Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts 2021 applications open Monday 30 August and close at 1pm on 11 October. There are two stages to the application process.

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

A shortlist of 18 teams will be invited to submit a Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage Two application in mid-November. From the shortlist, six projects will receive $15,000 grants. The teams behind each of these projects will attend a two-day development workshop from 19-20 March 2022 and be matched with an experienced industry practitioner to receive six weeks of mentoring to get their project ‘shoot ready’.

Criteria and requirements for the assessment of both Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage One and Whiringa Tuatahi – Stage Two can be viewed on our website.

Script to Screen and the NZFC will hold an online Q&A about this new application process for Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts on 16 September 2021, at 5.30 pm. 

If you have any questions please contact Script to Screen: FreshShorts@script-to-screen.co.nz

Kōpere Hou – Fresh Shorts is a New Zealand Film Commission Short Film Fund and Script to Screen manages the reading, assessment, workshop and mentoring aspects of the Fresh Shorts Development Programme.

Learn how to make your feature film script stand out in this in-depth scriptwriting workshop. David White will lead you through some of the things he discovered when writing and directing This Town.

Openings! Whether on the page or on screen, the opening scene needs to grab the audience. During the first half of the workshop, David will explore ways to write an impactful opening scene by sharing his experience with the scripted opening of This Town, and the vast changes made to translate the script to the screen.

Write what you know! From locations to characters, using richness from the world around you can help create depth especially when working with the lower budgets of first films. In the second half of this workshop, David will explore how using texture from places and characters you know intimately can help you build a believable world for your film.

Saturday 7th August 2021
9am – 5pm
Drama 2, Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newton, Wellington.

Who it is for: This workshop is aimed at beginning and emerging feature film writers. Directors and producers wanting to learn more about taking a script into production will also find this workshop valuable and are encouraged to attend. All levels of experience welcome.

Cost: General Admission $23 (incl. GST) via Eventbrite.

What to Bring: Pen and paper. Snacks, tea and coffee will be provided. Please bring your own lunch or there are places to buy your lunch in the vicinity.

COVID Alert Level Note: This workshop will go ahead under Alert Level 1. If Wellington is in Alert Level 2, the workshop date will be reviewed. If Wellington is in Alert Level 3 or 4, the workshop will be postponed.


David White has produced and directed a substantial body of documentary and drama work that has enjoyed considerable national and international success, among them Meat, Shihad: Beautiful Machine, I Kill, Little Criminals, The Cleanest Pig and This Town.  His work has screened at over 50 film festivals including Sundance, AFI, SXSW, SilverDocs, Tribeca, MIFF, TRUE/FALSE, Clermont Ferrand and been commissioned and screened on BBC, Sky and PRIME TV.

He was the first New Zealander to be shortlisted for a Cinema Eye Honor for his film I Kill (2013). His next two documentaries Little Criminals (2015) and Of Decades in Colour (2017) aired on PRIME TV to strong ratings and critical acclaim. Feature documentary Meat (2017) opened to 4-star reviews and sell-out audiences throughout NZ, was released on multiple NZME platforms and has sold globally.

David’s (writer/director/producer) debut comedy film This Town was developed at the prestigious Venice Biennale College – Cinema, amongst just 12 selected from a worldwide call. It was critically acclaimed and stayed at number one at the NZ theatrical box office for 21days. World sales are being handled by The Film Sales Company.

This workshop is made possible thanks to generous support from New Zealand Film Commission and Creative Communities Wellington.


Script to Screen in partnership with US-based Catalyst Story Institute is proud to announce the New Zealand finalists selected to participate in the Storieroad International program.

Storieroad International program is focused on discovering content creators and advancing creative careers within the global episodic marketplace. Philip Gilpin Jr, Catalyst Executive Director explains “Creating pathways for storytellers to have their voices heard is the heart of Catalyst’s mission. For too long, too many artists have felt a lack of connection to our television industry, and this collaboration with Script to Screen is a solution that gives creators opportunities for advancement”.

Applicants had to be developing a series. It could be any genre, length or format and at any stage of development including development of subsequent seasons.

Catalyst’s team of industry professionals selected up to 10 finalists and semi-finalists from each participating country including New Zealand, and their projects will be in competition at the 2021 Catalyst Content Festival in Duluth, Minnesota. The finalists get a 12-month scholarship to Catalyst Story Institute where they get US-based industry support to progress their project. Philip said “the incredibly high calibre of shows submitted from New Zealand made it difficult to choose only ten, and it shows that the raw talent level in New Zealand is in the top echelon of the independent creative world.”

Jackie Dennis, Executive Director of Script to Screen said “we entered into this partnership to create international connections for the exceptional talent we have here in New Zealand – it’s wonderful to see so many of our stories stand out”. Ahead of the international market, the finalists will present their ten projects to New Zealand screen industry professionals at a special invite-only showcase.

List of Finalists :

(Pictured left to right above)

Agnes Peel-McGregor with Shadowodd
Ahi Karunaharan and Maile Daugherty with Serenade
Alyssa Stringfellow with Chloe and the…
Emma Slade with Night Vision
Jake Pitcher with Don’t Tell Mum
Kathryn Burnett with Sleeper
Mia Maramara with The Witch Doctor
Millen Baird with Darryl
Paula Whetu Jones with I DATE Rejects
Stephen Campbell with The Cove

More info about the finalists  here.

List of Semi Finalists :

Alexander Behse with Sugar Alpha: BLUE SKY, BLACK DEATH
Donald Mayo with Please Don’t Break Anything
Fiona Armstrong with Constance
Gaylene Barnes with Tātai Whetū Trinity Sun
Jonathan Watt with Hard Knock 
Kip Chapman with Public Affairs
Louise Lever with Revolt She Said
Millen Baird with Naki Blues
Paul Kalburgi with Second Time Around
Slavko Martinov with CLUB LIFE
Tony Moore with The Rash
Vhari Lennox and Elana Tkatch with Lottie’s Choice


This is a Catalyst Story Institute initiative run in partnership with Script to Screen and in collaboration with “The Innovation Station” at the U.S. Department of State and Careers in Entertainment founded by the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation.

The Auckland showcase is possible thanks to the US Consulate.



We’re proud to launch Paerangi Project – a programme designed to reach fresh, distinctive and authentic voices across Aotearoa.

Paerangi offers accessible learning about how to develop your own short film or web series idea. It is for new and emerging talent living across Aotearoa, and enables you to make screen stories in your own backyard.

The programme is for those interested in developing a short film or web series who have not had the opportunity to learn about filmmaking. This lack of opportunity could be for a variety of reasons, for example, you may be living in a remote region, an isolated situation or face social, economic or accessibility barriers.

Stage One, delivered online, gives you access to a series of video tutorials delivered by experienced filmmakers. The tutorials lead you through the process of developing your own concept including writing, directing, producing and pitching, and gives homework exercises to complete in your own time alongside the video tutorials.

Contributors to the video are: Alex Lovell (My Friend Michael Jones, Mister Sunshine), Dianne Taylor (Apron Strings, Beyond the Known World, Hauraki)Emmett Skilton (Millennial Jenny, Auckward Love)Hamish Bennett (Bellbird, Ross & Beth, The Dump)Jaimee Poipoi (Electric Shoelace Productions), Karin Williams (SIS)Marina Alofagia McCartney (Vai, Milk & Honey)Morgan Leigh Stewart (K’ Rd Stories, Bird’s Eye! Deathgasm)Robyn Grace (Power Rangers: Dino Charge, Sweet Tooth, Oranges and Lemons)Shoshana McCallum (Head High, Creamerie, West Side,) and Sophie Henderson (The Justice of Bunny King, Baby Done, Fantail).

Registration for Stage One is open now!

At Stage Two, participants who registered for Stage One are eligible to apply for a six-week mentorship with an experienced filmmaker who will guide them as they refine their short film or web series project. The homework exercises you complete in Stage One form the basis of the Stage Two application.

And at Stage Three, up to four teams are invited to a three-day residential development lab in Auckland where they will develop their project even further, receiving tailored script feedback, directing mentoring, and producing advice from industry mentors.

Paerangi Project is made possible thanks to generous support from Screenrights Cultural Fund and New Zealand Film Commission.


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