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The annual Gender Scholarship award recognises and celebrates women in the screen industry and is aimed at supporting their career progression.The New Zealand Film Commission is excited to be working with Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami as our patrons of this year’s NZFC Gender Scholarship which has a focus on comedy.

Since 2015, the NZFC has awarded an annual scholarship to female filmmakers in areas of the industry where female participation has historically been low.  Past scholarships have been awarded to female cinematographers, directors, wahine Māori directors and Pacific Island screen writers. 

The 2020 award celebrates female comedy creators, writers, directors and performers.

2020 patrons are comedy creators Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami:

“We’re excited to invite submissions from female screenwriters, directors and creators of comedy content to apply for five $10,000 scholarship grants.

We are looking to support female practitioners working in comedy. You may be a writer, a director or a performer – we’re accepting submissions from anyone who is generating scripts or content. We are looking for women who are passionate about their creative work and have been working hard. We want to support exciting comedic practitioners including those who haven’t yet had much luck finding financial support for their creative work. 

You fit the criteria if you’ve been working away on scripts or projects and maybe you’ve had some funding previously, or maybe you haven’t had any little luck yet with funding applications. Or you may have been busy creating content without asking for financial assistance. Essentially, we are looking to give a boost to five women who show talent and commitment to their passion but haven’t yet got to the place where the money’s pouring in.

It can sometimes be hard to define ‘comedy’. A lot of projects contain a blend of comedy and drama so we’re happy to receive submissions from women who work in both genres. But if your only desire is to create dark stories ruminating on the misery of the world (although these films can be brilliant) this isn’t the grant for you.

If you fit the criteria, all we require is a short application that lets us know who you are, what you’ve been doing, how long you’ve been doing it for and what you’re interested in creating. If you’d rather talk through this instead, feel free to make us a short video no longer than 3 minutes. We don’t need you to include links to your creative work at this stage.

We’re keen to know whether you’ve applied for funding opportunities before and how many of these applications have been successful and how many times you’ve not been funded. We will create a shortlist before making our recommendations so if you are shortlisted expect a request for a short interview and be prepared to send us something that illustrates your work – short script, video clip etc. 

Looking forward to your submissions"

- Jackie and Madeleine


The Gender Scholarship is a $10,000 grant. The NZFC will award five grants in total.

Applications for this award are to be submitted by nomination, there are two ways to nominate:

  • where a nominee fills in the application themselves.
  • Nomination by others: where a person who has consent from the nominee fills out the application on behalf of the nominee.  

If you are nominating someone, you need to have their consent and be able to provide a biography and description of what you believe makes that person successful, and why they should receive the scholarship.


  • The nominee must be generating short or long-form comedy scripts and/or screen content. 
  • Nominees must be those who identify as female, are a comedy creator, writer, director or performer and are actively participating in the screen industry.
  • Nominees must be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

Applicants must supply the following:

  • An overview of why the nominee should receive the Gender Scholarship (300 words maximum). 

This can be submitted as a written response, by a self-nominee or someone nominating a person. 


as a piece to camera video by self-nominees (maximum of three minutes submitted as a Vimeo link). Self-nominee applicants may submit both a written piece and video if they wish but one or the other is acceptable.

  • A brief biography of the nominee (200 words maximum and can include NZ on Screen link, IMBD, LinkedIn or Website link).
  • List of the comedy scripts or content the nominee has made so far in their career.
  • An indication of how the nominee would utilise the award to progress their career (300 words maximum)
  • What comedy content is the nominee developing e.g. films/television/web-series/writing
  • What funding has the nominee applied for and successfully received from NZFC and other funding bodies?
  • What funding has the nominee applied for and not received from NZFC and other funding bodies?


Application Assessment

Applications will first be assessed for eligibility. Following that, the selection panel will shortlist applications. The selection panel will be made up of our patrons for the Gender Scholarship, Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified and requested to submit samples of their work and be interviewed by the selection panel. Following interviews, the selection panel will meet with the NZFC Head of Talent Development and the NZFC CEO and make recommendations. The final decisions will be made by the NZFC Head of Talent Development and the NZFC CEO. 

The five award recipients will be notified by 12 June 2020 and the scholarships will be publicly announced in mid-June 2020.

Applications must be submitted via the NZFC online portal and close Monday 18 May 2020 at 1pm.

No late or incomplete applications will be accepted. Applicants will be advised of final decisions in the week commencing 15 June 2020.

Reminder applicants must register for an on online account if they do not already have one to access the portal application form:

This fund is now closed to applications.

Any questions, please email the Talent Pathways Manager at Please include the subject line: Gender Scholarship

New Zealand Filmmakers, Screenwriter
Funding type
Last updated: 
Wednesday, 19 June 2019