A young New Zealand filmmaker will gain cultural and industry insights when he heads to South Korea thanks to a new partnership between the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono and the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC).
Auckland-based producer and director Benjamin Brooking will spend a month in Korea from mid-December 2019 working with the global team of CJ Entertainment, meeting other directors and producers and visiting production sets.
CJ Entertainment is a major player in the South Korean film industry, with sales of US$4.2 billion in the last year.
Foundation director of business Felicity Roxburgh says professionals at all stage of their careers can benefit from experience in Asia.
“For young people we find it opens their eyes to the opportunities that Asia has to offer to New Zealanders. For people already a way into their careers, they know there are commercial opportunities, but need a chance to get to know their industry, make valuable connections, and build vital cultural understanding.”
Roxburgh said the connections would go beyond person-to-person relationships too.
“The advantage of sending mid-career professionals is that they can ignite partnerships between New Zealand and Asia production houses now, so it builds industry connections as well as personal connections.”
NZFC Head of International Relations Chris Payne says the NZFC already has strong relationships with production partners in Asia, and regularly facilitates collaborations between the New Zealand and Asian screen industries.
In addition to South Korea, New Zealand has a further 17 official co-production treaty arrangements, including with China, India, Singapore and Taiwan.
“This experience with CJ Entertainment will provide Benjamin with a strong understanding of the business of filmmaking in South Korea and also establish key relationships and a pathway for future screen project collaborations between our two countries.”
The Asia New Zealand Foundation has offered fully-funded internships at top companies in Asia for the last 10 years, focused on providing experiences for students and new graduates.
The Foundation is now working with partners to develop opportunities for mid-career professionals in Asia. This is the first partnership between the Foundation and the NZFC.
Brooking, who leaves for South Korea in December, has worked in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines and his goal is to produce works between Asia and New Zealand for global audiences.
He hopes to gain networks and professional development to help him communicate important stories across cultures.
“Films coming out of South Korea are incredible. I was interested in applying to gain an understanding of how a powerhouse like CJ Entertainment contributes to the Korean Wave of film, K-drama, and of course K-pop spreading around the world,” says Brooking.
“As well as getting to appreciate some of the inner workings of a major film producer, I'm also really excited to engage with South Korean culture. I hope to see some new places, try new foods, and meet new friends and colleagues through this experience.”