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New wave of NZ Filmmakers receive international recognition

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Six New Zealand screenwriters have had their scripts selected as part of the Black List New Zealand Project (BLNZP), a partnership between internationally acclaimed the Black List and the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC).

The six writers will take part in a professional development workshop and mentorship series hosted by the Black List with leading global screen industry executives heading up the panels and mentoring the filmmakers. They will also receive up to NZ$25,000 in NZFC development financing to complete the next draft of their script.

179 scripts were submitted for the BLNZP and New Zealand Film Commission CEO Annabelle Sheehan says the quality was exceptional. "We have an extraordinary pool of filmmaking talent in New Zealand and that has shone through in the calibre and diversity of the submissions."

Franklin Leonard, founder and CEO of the Black List agrees, saying, "The talent the New Zealand Film Commission managed to gather as part of this submission process was remarkable both in aggregate and at its highest levels. We're incredibly excited by our first Lab cohort and what the next steps will be with their scripts."

The successful screenplays cover genres from romance and comedy to crime and horror, offering unique perspectives from a richly diverse group of writers; Anna Nuria Francino (BARA), Taratoa Stappard (MĀRAMA), Shuchi Kothari (NAVRATRI AKA NINE NIGHTS), Finnius Teppett (I.O.U), Claire Barclay (LONG GONE), and Yamin Tun (HONG KONG STORY).

The aim of the BLNZP is to provide a platform to amplify the voices of filmmakers who have typically been underrepresented. "It’s great to see Māori and diverse filmmakers feature so strongly in the selection. Having the Black List founder Franklin Leonard and his team working with us to place our writers in front of some of the most significant screen executives in Hollywood is an extraordinary opportunity," says Ms Sheehan.

Among the Hollywood mentors available to the New Zealand writers are David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel (Blackklansman), Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You).

The BLNZP is a one-off fund, designed to help promote relationships between writers and producers and create international opportunities for New Zealand feature films.

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