Issue date: 
Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Tackling the topics of representation, inclusion and belonging in today’s screen, entertainment and technology landscape, the summit will include local and international heavyweights as guests and speakers

The Power of Inclusion will be hosted by New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI), with support from The Walt Disney Studios and take place in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand on 3 and 4 October 2019

The Power of Inclusion will reflect, stimulate and harness the momentum of conversations that are currently crucial to the global discourse on content.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will join keynote speakers, panels and in conversations that include writers and directors Niki Caro and Haifaa Al-Mansour, Charles D. King, MACRO founder & CEO, The Black List founder Franklin Leonard, writer and producer Philippa Boyens, leading expert on social change in media, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, breakthrough actor, film and theatre maker Ana Scotney (Ngāti Tāwhaki), along with the support of Geena Davis and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Further speakers and full programme to be announced.

An unprecedented event in the Asia Pacific region in scale and breadth of voices on the topics of representation, inclusion and belonging, The Power of Inclusion will also address core changes enveloping the industry, through the voices of those that are participating in them. Whether it is how distribution models are being disrupted, in what way the boundaries of storytelling are being pushed or how the technology landscape is widening, The Power of Inclusion will join the conversation while challenging and inciting action.

Cathleen Taff, President of Theatrical Distribution, Franchise Management and Business & Audience Insights at The Walt Disney Studios said “Our studio has enjoyed working with the New Zealand film community on several films, and we’re proud to be part of this important summit which will advance the global conversation around filmmaking, media and equality.”

This summit follows the NZFC’s creation of the 125 Fund - an investment fund to celebrate 125 years since New Zealand women won the right to vote, promoting New Zealand’s international leadership in women’s rights. The fund is open to dramatic features in any genre and offers an investment of $1.25 million each for up to two projects where the director and at least one other key creative is a woman.

NZFC Chief Executive Annabelle Sheehan says the summit demonstrates New Zealand’s international leadership in women’s rights and reinforces New Zealand’s commitment to equality in the industry.

“The summit will be a dynamic forum for expanding the opportunities for real global connection that comes with the rising wave of under-represented voices now breaking through old screen industry norms and barriers. The New Zealand Film Commission is committed to empowering greater inclusion and diversity in the New Zealand screen sector. In hosting the summit the New Zealand voice will figure in the expanding global screen economy.”

President of WIFTI Helene Granqvist says “On the heels of #metoo, it is more important than ever that women organize to support each other in the crucial work for equal rights and the same opportunities afforded to men. WIFT networks all over the globe have been working together for more than 40 years and we will continue until we have equal representation throughout the industry."

Announced speakers:

  • Rt Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand and the world’s youngest female head of government;
  • Niki Caro, multi award-winning New Zealand film director and screenwriter, Mulan (2020), The Zookeeper's Wife (2017), North Country (2005) and Whale Rider (2002);
  • Haifaa Al Mansour is the first female filmmaker from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the director of the first full-length film ever shot inside the Kingdom, Wadjda (2012), as well as the films Mary Shelley (2018) and Nappily Ever After (2018);
  • Charles D. King, Founder & CEO of MACRO and producer of Sorry to Bother You (2018) and Mudbound (2017); executive producer of Fences (2016);
  • Franklin Leonard, American film executive and founder of The Black List, a yearly publication featuring Hollywood's most popular unproduced screenplays;
  • Philippa Boyens, Academy Award-winning New Zealand writer of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and co-producer and writer of King Kong, The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lovely Bones;
  • Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California;
  • and introducing rising star Ana Scotney (Ngāti Tāwhaki), who made her feature film acting debut in The Breaker Upperers (2018) and is a film and award-winning theatre maker.

For more information including ticketing, please go to

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 17 April 2019