Essential information

It struck me, that the conditions in which I was given a true opportunity to be a filmmaker are not available today and have never been in Aotearoa. In 1981 I was lucky enough to attend film school in Australia where everyone was not only paid a living stipend, but we were able to make short films with budgets supplied by the school as well as meet and be together with like-minded students some of whom I’m still close to. In my experience the true learning happened on projects and between peers.  

This moment feels like a time to give back and I am incredibly grateful that Netflix has chosen to fully support this Pop Up Film Intensive which I characterise as A WAVE IN THE OCEAN .... At this stage it may be a standalone, but we are hoping it will act as a pilot and there will be many more.  

- Jane Campion  



The Film Intensive is a place of learning, as well as an experience, and an experiment devoted to a deep connection to self and to material. It is based on the belief that each of us filmmakers has a sacred psyche that dreams to express itself poetically, humorously, dramatically through visual story telling.  
We want to create a space where risk and ambition are playmates, honoured and respected. A place where curiosity and inquiry is never ending and persistence and hard work shape intuition and outcomes.  

What is the Intensive?

It is an initiative that supports emerging film director/writers to deepen their practice and find their voice.  

When, Where and How Long?

The Intensive begins early November 2022 and flows through to October 2023. 
Based in Wellington.  

To participate, applicants not resident in Wellington would need to travel from their homes for a 10-day laboratory in November 2022 and participate in a series of laboratories and associated work and stay in Wellington for a cumulative minimum of 5 months in total through 2023. This comprises the first year of the programme.  
There is no tuition charge for those who are selected to participate. For each accepted student, for Year 1 there is a living stipend of $32,000 and additional financial assistance for accommodation, accessibility and travel of up to $25,000. 

Year One

The Arc of the Intensive begins with an introductory 10-day session followed by 4 – 5 sessions of 5 days each that cover exploration of meaning-making with sound and image, up to working with non-actors and actors including casting and rehearsal practice and film coverage. The emphasis is on practice. 
Part way through Year 1 there is a 6-day RESIDENTIAL SCRIPT CAMP focusing on writing (meals and accommodations provided).  

During the remainder of Year 1 the learning and exercises will be tailored to need. 

Year Two

The focus is exclusively on each director’s production of a fully funded short film, the budget is currently expected to be up to NZ$100,000 per film.  

The Intensive finishes when you complete your film. All films must be started in good time and must be completed by the end of the second year.  
Executive producers will be engaged to oversee each short film’s budget and production as an entirely independent production. 
For Year 2 there is no financial support available nor a requirement to be resident in Wellington.  

Who is running the Course?

The Intensive is the brainchild of, me, Jane Campion. I’m the Artistic Director of the initiative and will be participating across the whole first year. Philippa Campbell, who has a long history of work with emerging filmmakers, is the Co-Director. I will invite one or two significant international guests and New Zealand leading professionals to join us, to inspire and share knowledge across various aspects of the programme.   

Application Details  

Who should apply?

The Intensive is for emerging filmmakers with a minimum age of 21 years, we are looking for people with energy. If you are a bona fide directing team, you may apply as a team. Unfortunately, it’s not an opportunity for beginners...sorry... as a rough guide you will need to have made at least one short drama film as director that speaks to your potential and capacity, if not more. Experience as a documentary filmmaker is considered equivalent and once again, you will need to have made at least one, if not more, documentaries. The Intensive is also open to people who have directed one feature film but want an opportunity to explore more deeply and gain skills. 

 It is also possible to apply if you have other equivalent artistic experience in disciplines such as directing theatre, writing literature or poetry and have been published or have perhaps completed a visual arts degree but want to make film a priority. It’s important that you have a high level of obsession/passion for film or other visual story telling such as series drama and that filmmaking is something you want to exclusively focus on and make your career. You need to want to connect and communicate with an audience.    
You need to be highly motivated, available to fully participate in the programme, able to write at least a short film, be keen on being part of a FILM HUB where crewing on other people’s projects in the first year will be required, open to feedback, and come with a positive and motivated attitude.  

Who will be accepted?

We’re looking for 8 – 10 director/writers.  
We are committed to having a wide diverse range of people from different backgrounds and lived experiences involved, with proven talent and the capacity to grow. At least 50% of the successful applicants will be women or those who identify as women. 
All applicants must be New Zealand permanent residents or citizens and be vaccinated and boosted for COVID or willing to be vaccinated and boosted if required, and otherwise willing to abide by COVID protocols used in the New Zealand film industry as they evolve.  
All the eligible applications will be considered by a small independent selection panel made up of experienced practitioners and industry experts, including Jane. A short list of applicants will then be drawn up and interviewed in person or by zoom if you are overseas.  
A few applicants will be perfectly suited, some will not yet be ready, and a big chunk will be very equally eligible.  

What to do?

Scientists tell us that 'random selection' within the equally eligible is fairest so we will do that.  

We are sorry, of course, if you are not successful but no matter what, the film education sector being stirred, and opportunity created is good for everyone. We plan to do 'breakout annex masterclasses' for the community at large with our visiting experts, and Jane is committing to one too. It’s so important for filmmakers to get to meet each other and have access to information.  

This fund is now closed to applications

If you have not applied for NZFC funding before, you will need to register for an account apply online at

The programme has few openings, so please respect other applicants and only apply if you would commit to the programme if accepted.  


Last updated: 
Tuesday, 26 July 2022