Issue date: 
Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) announced today that over $1.2million has been awarded to 33 companies, through its business and slate development schemes BOOST, BOOST UP and He Ara.

Making the announcement, NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan said that a record number of applications – 90 – were received across the three initiatives and the request for funds totalled  $4.6M.  “The number of applications indicates the importance of these funds to the industry during these challenging times.  Assessors were all impressed by the high quality of the businesses and projects pitched, making the decisions tightly debated. It’s clear that New Zealand screen companies are ready to move forward with some great projects.”

The assessors participated in a general panel discussion of the overall strengths and weaknesses of the applications in relation to current trends in the market.  Audio files of these discussions will be provided to all applicants.

Announced in April as an expansion of the existing BOOST fund to address the challenges posed by COVID-19, the NZFC offered $1million to fund the initiatives. In response to the high number of quality applications the NZFC expanded the pool of funds by a further $275K, awarding an additional  11 x $25,000 Business Development Grants.

Applications were assessed externally by executives from the international screen industry as well as local producers and NZFC staff. All assessors commented positively about the diversity of the applications, as well as the appeal of projects to the international market.

BOOST typically supports up to five teams annually, while He Ara supports three.  BOOST UP  is a new initiative focused on newer businesses that may have less experience and smaller slates of projects. The BOOST scheme is intended to encourage producers and screen businesses to explore business models and their ability to pivot and diversify into new areas to help build a more sustainable model, enabling them to work effectively and nimbly in a late stage and post COVID 19 setting.  He Ara supports filmmakers of Māori and/or Pacific Island heritage to create a range of quality New Zealand feature films shaped through their chosen development framework.

"The next wave of local New Zealand screen production is rich, innovative and diverse," says Sheehan.


Augusto awarded amount: $75,000
Fiona Copland (producer) awarded amount: $75,000
GFC Films awarded amount: $75,000
Helen Bowden (producer) awarded amount: $75,000
Libertine Pictures awarded amount: $75,000
Piki Films awarded amount: $75,000
Wheke Group awarded amount: $59,000
Wrestler awarded amount: $75,000


Māoriland Charitable Trust awarded amount: $50,000
Multinesia awarded amount: $50,000
Sandy Lane Productions awarded amount: $50,000


Angela Cudd (producer) awarded amount: $24,000
Cirkus awarded amount: $25,000
The DLC COM awarded amount: $24,000
Fish Entertainment awarded amount: $25,000
Lara Northcroft (producer) awarded amount: $25,000
Morgan Waru (producer) awarded amount: $25,000
Nicole van Heerden (producer) awarded amount: $25,000
Raqi Syed (producer) awarded amount: $25,000
Tough Love Tonic awarded amount: $18,000
Verity Mackintosh (producer) awarded amount: $25,000


Awa Films
Brown Sugar Apple Grunt
Cadness Street
Carthew Neal (producer) 
Catherine Fitzgerald (producer)
Firefly Films
Four Knights Film
Greenstone TV
Jill Macnab (producer)
Overactive Imagination
Screentime NZ
Southern Light Films



Brian Backus (USA), Christina Milligan (Ngāti Porou), Tanya Phegan (AUS) and Ray Strache (USA)

He Ara

Christina Milligan (Ngāti Porou), Briar Grace-Smith (Ngāpuhi) and Caren Rangi (Cook Islands Māori, Rarotonga, Rakahanga, Aitutaki)


Brian Backus (USA), Henning Kamm (Germany) Rhonda Kite, ONZM (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kuri, Ngai Tākoto) and Anick Poirier (Canada).

For more information about the successful businesses, producers and assessors, click here.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 3 June 2020