Women in Film

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The voices and perspectives of women are integral to telling the stories of our country, its culture and communities.

We are committed to increasing awareness of gender equality in the New Zealand screen industry, and are doing this by:

• Collecting and publishing information and statistics on women working in the screen industry.

We will continue to publish and make available gender statistics based on our funding information.  We gather gender information from production crews on NZFC funded projects, and this information is shared with the industry on an annual basis. Be believe insights gained from this information enhance understanding about ways to increase the participation and retention of women in the industry.

A record number of women directors and writers received development funding in the 2015/16 financial year and the latest feature film development statistics show an increase to the number of women directors, producers and writers attached to applications. 


•  A 50% participation rate for women filmmakers in the talent development area.

In 2015, when we launched our gender policy, we set a target of 50% participation rate for women filmmakers across professional development initiatives.  Since 2015, we have met or exceeded the 50% target, not just across professional development grants, but across all our talent development grants. 
This includes:

  • professional development awards
  • internships
  • existing annual programmes such as supporting attendance at the Big Screen Symposium and AnimfxNZ
  • Fresh Shorts funding

The number of applications and recipients are published regularly and if we begin tracking below the 50% participation rate, we will actively encourage women to apply. 

• Identifying and engaging with women filmmakers.

The Talent Development team actively engage with filmmakers in a variety of ways. In the 2015/16 financial year, 53% of the team’s engagements have been with female filmmakers. 
Some of the initiatives have been:

  • Talent development support for eight wahine Māori writer/directors on feature anthology film Waru
  • Running a Talent Express programme for women directors
  • Supporting three women filmmakers to attend the Melbourne Film Festival’s Accelerator talent lab
  • A year-long DEGNZ incubator for women directors

• An annual award for women in the industry

In 2015, we awarded our first scholarship to a female filmmaker. Supported by Jane Campion, the JC CineFem scholarship for a female cinematographer was awarded to Maria Ines Manchego. 
In 2016, the award was supported by Gaylene Preston. The level of applicants was so high, we increased the level of support to award three women directors, Gillian Ashurst, Alyx Duncan and Armagan Ballantyne.
The third scholarship, in memory of pioneering wahine Māori filmmaker, Ramai Hayward, will support a wahine Māori director and the recipient(s) will be announced toward the middle of 2017.

• Encouraging proposals from guilds and industry organisations that support and enhance their work in upskilling women

Over the last year we have supported several initiatives for women suggested by industry guilds
These include:

  • Supporting DEGNZ’s female talent incubator which has supported ten women directors as they work toward making their first feature film.
  • Increasing core funding to WIFT
  • Supporting PIFT in running a directing internship programme for six Pacific Island women directors
  • Making it mandatory that guilds and other industry organisations that receive funding from the NZFC report on the gender mix in their talent development programmes

We will continue to encourage proposals and initiatives from guilds and other industry organisations that support the professional development of women in the film industry.