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Our Staff

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The Film Commission has four business units. 

  • Development and Production
  • Talent Development
  • Marketing 
  • International (which houses Incentives, Screen Attraction, and Enquiries)

There are four support groups, Business Affairs, Te Rautaki Māori, Finance and Resources. 


  • Annabelle Sheehan


    Annabelle commenced her role as CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission in January 2018. Prior to this, Annabelle was CEO of South Australia Film Commission (SAFC) from 2015 to 2017.  Annabelle has longstanding experience as a Chief Executive and Senior Executive in the Australian screen industry.   From 2003 to 2013, Ms Sheehan was the CEO and Senior Agent at RGM Artist Group (RGM), a major Australian talent agency representing Australia's leading artists in film, television, theatre and radio. Prior to joining RGM, she was Head of the Film and Television division at Australia’s peak national production education centre – The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) for six years. Her career began in post-production from which she has an extensive list of credits, nominations and awards for her work on feature films such as Dead Calm, Mad Max 3, The Piano, Fearless and Portrait of a Lady.

    She holds a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies from New York University. Her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Graduate Diploma in Education were gained at the University of Technology Sydney.

  • Mladen Ivancic

    Chief Operating Officer

    Mladen leads the NZFC’s corporate functions, ensuring appropriate support to NZFC staff and programmes across Finance, Business Affairs, Operations and HR. He supports the CEO in the leadership and management of the NZFC and contributes to the strategic direction of the organisation. He also manages co-production approval, film certification  and has input into the NZFC’s interface with Government

  • Tayla Hancock

    Policy Advisor

    Tayla is responsible for providing policy advice and support to the NZFC team.  She is also responsible for co-ordinating our ministerial and governance services. She has a Masters’ Degree in Cultural Anthropology and has experience in using visual research methods and understanding how marginalised communities are represented in film and photography. Tayla has previously worked as a lecturer in Cultural Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington and for the Department of Justice in Melbourne as a Policy Advisor and Project Consultant.

Development and Production

Want to make a feature film or documentary? Then our Development and Production team are the people to talk to. The team is headed by Leanne Saunders and made up of members Lloyd Meiklejohn, Rouzie Hassanova, Marc Ashton, Mechele Harron and Jane Simons.

Turning ideas into films

This team develops exciting ideas into great films. They will tell you what we can do to help your feature or documentary idea become a film, including script, shoot and post-production. Enquiries about Early Development Fund (EDF) and Advanced Development Fund (ADF) applications should be sent to Mechele and about production investment applications should be sent to Marc. This unit’s focus is working with filmmakers to create the best possible films, so if you want general assistance with your career then you need to talk to our Talent Development team.

  • Leanne Saunders

    Head of Development and Production

    Leanne is responsible for overseeing the development of films from the early development stage through to the end of post-production. Her department focuses on supporting exciting ideas to become great films. 

    Leanne has over 15 years’ experience in film and television production. Her feature film credits include The Weight of Elephants, Born to Dance, The Devil’s Rock, Christmas and Desert. With Headstrong co-founder Ant Timpson, Leanne executive produced low budget features The Devil Dared Me To and A Song of Good.  More recently, through Piki Films, Leanne produced Hunt for the Wilderpeople with company partners Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi. 

  • Lloyd Meiklejohn

    Investment Executive

    Lloyd focuses on assessing feature film projects for creative, financial and market potential and advising on appropriate budget levels, potential market attachment and distribution pathways to enhance the pipeline of projects moving forward into production. Most of his career has been in Europe, and Lloyd has extensive deal making and investment experience.

    Lloyd was Head of Legal and Business Affairs at the NZFC from 2003 to December 2005 when he returned to London where he worked as an independent consultant and director for financial institutions, government agencies and independent screen producers. His successful screen financing experience ranges from international tax-based transactions, securitisations and defeasance arrangements to state and third sector funding and grants. He returned to New Zealand in 2015 and since then has been CEO of New Zealand screen production company, Field Theory Ltd, based in Auckland. He also has business interests in renewable energy and blockchain exchanges.

  • Marc Ashton

    Production Executive

    Marc’s career in film began in the early 90s in multiplex management and distribution across the east coast of Australia at the height of Hoyts Corp’s expansion. This was followed by over two decades in domestic and international film and television production; starting on the studio floor in a variety of technical crew roles. He has had a successful freelance career as assistant director and/or co-producer at the highest level of production with many prominent filmmakers both in New Zealand and Australia, as well as short stints in the US and China.  His credits as 1st AD include Top of the Lake, Hope and Wire and Boy and his co-producer credits include The Lovely Bones and Terminus.

  • Mechele Harron

    Development Coordinator

    Mechele descends from Tainui/Taranaki whakapapa, with strong ties to Tūrangawaewae Marae and Parihaka Pa.  She started her career as a news journalist before heading into the world of television and working her way up to becoming a producer at Māori Television in Tamāki Makaurau, enabling her to produce many Māori language programmes including historical documentary series and tamariki programmes.  Mechele provides administration support for the Development and Production team and is the key point of contact for feature film development enquires.

  • Jane Simons

    Development and Production Department Coordinator

    Jane assists Head of Development, Leanne Saunders and the rest of the Development and Production team. Jane descends from Te Arawa, her hapu being Ngati Rangitihi. She previously worked as a VFX production coordinator for film and commercials, a career which she started in London, and continued upon her return to New Zealand. Feature films she has worked on include The Martian, Spectre, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Alita: Battle Angel. Jane graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with Bachelor’s degree in Film & Art History.



  • Vicki Jackways

    Vicki Jackways

    Special Projects Manager

    Vicki began her film industry career in 1984 in Wellington with TVC production company Flying Fish.  In 2004 she joined Park Road Post Production as the new facility built up its’ client and production portfolio.  As Head of Marketing for Park Road and Stone Street and part of the senior leadership team she was  responsible for the business marketing strategy to attract and manage domestic and international projects from a financial, branding and client experience perspective. 

    Vicki has been on the Board and is currently President of WIFT NZ (Women In Film & Television) and in 2017 was a Co-Founder and Director of SETNZ (Screen Experience Trust NZ), an initiative to bring Hollywood executives into New Zealand on an eight-day familiarisation program in 2018 and 2019. 

  • Tom Kelly

    Tom Kelly

    Projects Coordinator

    Tom is coordinating the Screen Production Recovery fund.

    He began his career in the Scotland as production manager of shorts and factual television. Since becoming a New Zealander he has worked on local and international films including Mulan, Coming Home in the Dark, Shopping, and Second Hand Wedding, as well as a wide range of documentary television shows.

Talent Development

Need help with your career? Want to make some connections here or overseas? Would you like to make a short film? Then contact our Talent Development team. It is led by Dale Corlett and comprises Jude McLaren with support from development co-ordinator Ange Senior.

Developing careers

Our focus is on finding, fostering, connecting and progressing exceptional New Zealand filmmaking talent. We help in the development of careers and making connections for you both here and overseas. We want to help local and expat producers, directors, writers and actors. The team is also responsible for our relationship with industry guilds and organisations, and for supporting short films, which are a valuable stepping stone to feature films. 

  • Dale Corlett

    Head of Talent Development

    Dale is responsible for leading the Talent Development department. He leads on Premiere Pathways, Fresh Shorts, Talent Development Grants, Interactive Development Fund and numerous other talent development initiatives. He is the primary contact with the New Zealand Screen Industry Guilds. He is available to speak with about career pathways and funding options. Before joining the Commission in 2015, Dale, a kiwi, had been living and working in the UK for 17 years, most recently as CEO/Creative Director of GMAC Film in Scotland. In this role since 2004, Dale was responsible for identifying high quality emerging talent and supporting them to progress from shorts to features and developing a career in the film industry. He was also proactive in the creation of innovative, diversity-led and gender focused talent development programmes in Scotland.

  • Jude McLaren

    Talent Pathways Manager

    Jude manages the funding process for the bi-annual Fresh Shorts rounds, including development labs. She supports filmmakers in their career development from the short to feature space. Jude is also available to speak with about career pathways and funding options. Jude has extensive production and development experience in the New Zealand screen industry. Commencing her career initially as Production Manager and then Development Executive at the Gibson Group, Jude has most recently been Digital Producer at Storybox, developing and producing online video. In 2013 Jude graduated from AUT with a Certificate in Career Development with a chosen focus on the creative sector.

  • Ange Senior

    Talent Development Executive

    Ange coordinates and facilitates the smooth running of the Talent Development team, particularly around Fresh Shorts, Premiere Pathways and other talent development initiatives. She provides support to the Head of Talent Development, Dale Corlett and the Talent Pathways Manager, Jude McLaren. Ange began her career in the Irish film and television industry as a script supervisor after graduating from the National Film School of Ireland. She has spent the last ten years working on a diverse range of film and television projects, from large scale tv shows to feature films and shorts.


Do you want to tell the world about your film? Our marketing team is run by Jasmin McSweeney and comprises of Kate Larkindale, Hayley Weston, Molly Littlejohn and Tracey Brown. We are focussed on getting more people watching great New Zealand feature films, both here and overseas. 

What we do

Jasmin is the person to talk to about dealing with sales agents, distributors and major festivals. Kate focuses on publications and marketing collateral for films, and oversees our video-on-demand (VOD) platform. Hayley co-ordinates festival submissions and assists Jasmin in promoting New Zealand films. Tracey looks after film materials and deliveries. Molly assists Jasmin and the team. For all media enquiries, please contact Jasmin McSweeney.

  • Jasmin McSweeney

    Head of Marketing

    Jasmin is responsible for the promotion and marketing of New Zealand films and the New Zealand Film Commission, in New Zealand and internationally. She consults with filmmakers, international sales agents and distributors on international film festival and market placement. Within New Zealand, she assists distributors and filmmakers to identify and engage with their film’s audience through test screenings, audience research and distribution grants. Since 2005, Jasmin has been involved with the marketing and promotion of most of the films the Film Commission has invested in including The World’s Fastest Indian, Boy, The Dark Horse, The Dead Lands, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Pork Pie and Chasing Great.

  • Kate Larkindale

    Marketing and Communications Executive

    Kate supports Jasmin in promoting New Zealand films locally. She has over 20 years experience in exhibition and distribution, having managed cinemas in New Zealand and Australia.  She has worked on numerous film festivals, acted as distributor for many films and been a film reviewer in print and on TV. She is also the author of three young adult novels, The Sidewalk's RegretsAn Unstill Life and Stumped.

  • Tracey Brown

    Film Materials Manager

    Tracey manages the delivery of all feature film materials and collateral. She works closely with filmmakers and post-production facilities to arrange material orders for fulfilling distribution agreements both nationally and internationally. Tracey has 16 years’ experience in post-production and has most recently been working as a Post-Production Producer at Park Road Post.  She has worked on a long list of films including Home By Christmas, West of Memphis, The Hobbit films, The Orator and The Adventures of TinTin.

  • Hayley Weston

    Film Festival and Marketing Executive

    Hayley looks after domestic and international film festival and cultural screenings. She works with Jasmin on festival release strategy, submitting the work of our talented short and feature filmmakers, preparing for major international showcase markets and arranging delivery. With nearly 15 years’ experience in theatrical, festival and home entertainment distribution and marketing, Hayley has previously worked with Rialto Distribution, Reading Entertainment, Roadshow Films and as a guest Short Film Competition Juror for the Melbourne International Film Festival.

  • Molly Littlejohn

    Social Media and Marketing Coordinator

    Molly assists Head of Marketing, Jasmin McSweeney and the rest of the Marketing team. She graduated from Wellington’s Victoria University with a Bachelor’s degree in Film & Theatre. She has previously worked at Pukeko Pictures as a script assistant and educational advisor, and Disney Chanel AU/NZ as a presenter and content producer. With a love of entertainment Molly also emcee’s and manages trivia, karaoke and bingo nights around Wellington.

Te Rautaki Māori

Do you have a great Māori story you want to tell? We greatly value our unique Māori culture, and films with strong cultural elements are among the most successful in which we have invested , both here and overseas. 

Our team

Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble is the NZFC's Pou Whakahaere and leads on implementing Te Rautaki Māori with assistance from Kathryn Graham and Chantelle Watts.  Feel free to contact any one of these staff members with enquiries related to Māori stories. We want to help you make great Māori films for global audiences. 

  • Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble

    Pou Whakahaere

    Karen is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of the NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori. She is of Te Arawa descent, born and raised in Rotorua. Waaka-Tibble is a producer with extensive experience in governance, culture, intellectual property rights, iwi and community organisations as well as active involvement in Māori screen issues. For the past 15 years she has been producer for Kura Productions, working with Quinton Hita on a range of television productions using te reo Māori. She has served as a board member of Ngā Aho Whakaari - the Māori in Film & Television collective and prior to her screen industry career, she worked extensively in the tourism industry in Rotorua.

  • Chantelle Watts

    Kaiwhakarite (Rautaki Coordinator)

    Chantelle is the co-ordinator of Te Rautaki Māori team, working closely alongside the NZFC’s Pou Whakahaere and the Development & Production team. Chantelle is of Ngāti Tūwharetoa iwi. She studied at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in Wellington, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts Management. Previously Chantelle has worked in film, theatre, retail and hospitality. Originally from Hawke’s Bay, Chantelle moved to Wellington to pursue her passion for filmmaking as a writer and director.

  • Kathryn Ariana Graham

    Whakawhanake Hinonga/ Māori Development Executive

    Iwi: Ngati Koroki Kahukura

    Kathryn is responsible for developing talent across the Māori film industry, encouraging more Māori and Pasifika people to engage with the NZFC and implementing of the NZFC’s Te Rautaki Māori. Kathryn has worked as a creative director in the television industry across a wide genre of content from kids to primetime documentary. For the last 17 years Graham has been working inside the broadcast networks as a Commissioning Editor for both Television New Zealand and Māori Television supporting Māori and the use of te reo Māori inside the network environment and encouraging a diversity of content on mainstream networks.

International Team

The International Team looks after Incentives, International Screen Attraction and International Relations. This team works with many organisations and individuals both here and overseas. Catherine Bates administers the Government’s New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).  Chris Payne connects New Zealand and international talent and works with government agencies offshore on co-production treaties. Philippa Mossman is responsible for attracting international productions to New Zealand and connecting them with our local industry.

Support team

Supporting Catherine, Chris and Philippa are Chris Tyson, Mel Read, Jacqui Wood and Pam McCabe.

  • Catherine Bates

    Head of Incentives

    Catherine manages the NZSPG, with a particular focus on the 5% Uplift, an additional grant that international productions which qualify for the 20% NZSPG and offer significant economic benefits to New Zealand may apply to receive. She is the New Zealand Film Commission's first point of contact for New Zealand government agencies in relation to the 5% Uplift and works closely with international productions and New Zealand government partners to deliver strong outcomes for all. Catherine began her career at Tourism New Zealand and whilst there was involved with the development of the New Zealand destination brand and global 100% Pure New Zealand campaign. Highlights of her career include development of the New Zealand Story and leadership of the NZ Inc Hobbit leverage programme, in particular the NZ Inc relationship with Wingnut Films and Warner Bros Los Angeles. 

  • Chris Payne

    Head of International Relations

    Chris facilitates introductions, relationships and opportunities for New Zealand filmmakers and international partners.  He is the New Zealand Film Commission’s first point of contact for overseas posts and the Film Commission’s sister agencies internationally.  Chris works with the Head of Incentives to secure effective talent development outcomes for New Zealand filmmakers on international productions seeking the 5% Uplift. Chris has worked in development and production in New Zealand and Japan for well over a decade.  In addition to feature film, Chris has worked across television, commercials and music videos, as well as in business development roles in the corporate sector.

  • Philippa Mossman

    Head of International Screen Attraction

    Philippa is the key conduit between overseas production customers and local industry specialists.  She oversees the provision of specialist screen services, including an international screen business enquiry service, and manages key relationships with New Zealand’s major international production customers. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the New Zealand production sector, most recently at state broadcaster Television New Zealand, where she held senior roles in production, channel management, programming and partnership.

  • Chris Tyson

    Incentives Executive

    An experienced line producer, Chris has over 20 years' experience in the New Zealand film industry and manages the application process for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG), including answering enquiries, receiving and reviewing applications and convening meetings to consider applications.

  • Mel Read

    Incentives Coordinator

    Mel works alongside Chris Tyson to provide administrative support during the application process for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG). Mel has previously worked in radio broadcasting and direct marketing, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Film & Theatre from Victoria University of Wellington. She has also worked as an usher for the New Zealand International Film Festival since 2003.

  • Jacqui Wood

    Enquiries Manager

    Jacqui is the enquiries manager, providing responses to location, facilities and crew advice requests. She has several years of experience as a film commissioner in the South Island and has worked with leading New Zealand producers and directors as a production coordinator on feature films and television series. 

  • Pam McCabe

    Office Coordinator

    Pam supports the staff in the international area's enquiries and incentives teams and is likely to be the first person you meet when you engage with them.

  • Nicola Lemberg

    Promotions Coordinator

    Nicola coordinates the PR and Promotions for the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. She comes from a background in film studio release publicity and social media marketing. Nicola graduated from AUT University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Television and Screen Production.

Business Affairs

The Business Affairs team is Rochelle Cooney,  Katie Baker, Kate Mooney, Grace Alexander and Bonnie Mahon.

Rochelle, Katie and Bonnie are responsible for all contractual matters while Kate manages the Te Ahi Kā programme and provides legal and adminstrative support.

  • Rochelle Cooney

    Business Affairs Manager

    Rochelle leads the Business Affairs Team and provides in-house legal and commercial advice including contractual arrangements for production financing and international distribution of New Zealand Film Commission films. Rochelle has previously worked in an in-house legal team in London and as a lawyer in commercial law firms, most recently Morrison Kent.

    Rochelle is currently on maternity leave.

  • Katie Baker

    Senior Business Affairs Executive

    Katie provides commercial and legal advice.  She deals with a broad range of contractual and compliance matters  including those related to film closings. Katie gained experience in commercial law firms in New Zealand (including as an external advisor to the Film Commission) and in the United Kingdom. Katie works part time and looks after her two young children when she isn’t at the Film Commission.

  • Bonnie Mahon

    Business Affairs Executive

    Bonnie works across all areas in the Business Affairs team, providing legal advice within the NZFC on a broad range of contractual and other legal matters. Bonnie has legal experience in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and is excited to put this to use in the film industry. She has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Otago University.

    Bonnie is currently on maternity leave.

  • Kate Mooney

    Business Affairs Executive

    Kate provides legal and administrative support to the Business Affairs team. She graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a conjoint Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Film and Media, and completed an exchange to Stockholm University, Sweden in 2016. Having also worked at the Light House Cinema, Kate is passionate about the film industry, particularly the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making it all happen.

  • Grace Alexander

    Business Affairs Executive

    Grace has a background in entertainment and commercial law, having previously acted for producers and other creatives at a specialist entertainment law firm. She has experience providing advice and support across many legal aspects of the screen industry, from financing and development to production and distribution. At the NZFC, Grace supports the Business Affairs team by providing legal assistance on a broad range of contractual and commercial matters, including film closings.


Our Finance team is headed by Mladen Ivancic and includes Catherine Robinson, Dominique Fromont and Carol Wang. They are responsible for managing the New Zealand Film Commission's financial and information management systems.

What we do

Mladen is responsible for the administration of co-production applications and works alongside Government agencies on the negotiation of new co-production agreements. Dominique manages royalty reports and film income from domestic and international distributors, sales agents and collection agencies. Catherine manages the distribution of film income to investors and filmmakers once it has been collected by us.

  • Catherine Robinson

    Finance Manager

    Catherine manages all our accounting and financial information. She also manages the Film Commission's film income account and distributes collected film income to investors and filmmakers. She has a wide range of accounting experience in both the public and private sector. Before starting at the Film Commission she spent five years in London where she worked for MTV.

  • Dominique Fromont

    Film Income Manager

    Dominique is responsible for royalties collection, including monitoring reports and income from international collection agencies.  Prior to coming to the New Zealand Film Commission, Dominique worked at various arts and film organisations including Three Foot Six Ltd, Film New Zealand, Wingnut Films and the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

  • Carol Wang

    Assistant Accountant

    Carol works on the management of financial information for the organisation, and to provide general assistance to Film Commission staff with financial administration.


  • Simon Brash

    Digital Advisor

    Simon is responsible for overseeing new digital initiatives, including the implementation of online application forms and overseeing the Film Commission's social media strategy. Coming from a background in marketing, communications and IT at Film New Zealand, Simon applies his experience to this role in order to improve communications with the industry.

  • Rowan Aitken

    System Administrator

    Rowan has responsibility for ensuring our IT runs smoothly.  Rowan has had a long and varied 30+ year career in IT, working in New Zealand, the UK and Australia in a range of industries as diverse as Customs, wholesale food distribution, life insurance and policing.  Before starting at the New Zealand Film Commission he was responsible for IT at the New Zealand Festival.

  • Virginia Ng

    HR Manager

    Virginia looks after the human resources function at NZFC supporting the CEO and Leadership team as well as the staff.

    She has over 15 years' experience in HR, Workforce Development, Recruitment and Resourcing working in both the private and public sectors.    

  • Joel Rudolph

    Office Coordinator

    As office coordinator, Joel works the front of house and provides administrative assistance to all departments ensuring that all office operations run smoothly. He fields most incoming enquiries so will likely be the first person to greet you when contacting the NZFC. Originally from Whanganui with strong ties to Rātana, Joel is a theatre graduate from Victoria University of Wellington and has worked predominantly in theatre in many roles including directing, production and stage management, sound design and marketing. He previously worked at Parliamentary Services, providing administrative and management support to Members of Parliament.

Last updated: 
Monday, 3 August 2020

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