Issue date: 
Thursday, 8 August 2019

Featuring over 35 speakers from around the world, in a two-day programme that includes case studies, panels, conversations and keynotes.

The Power of Inclusion summit has added more multi-hyphenate, courageous and inspiring speakers to its line-up, who will come together in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand on 3rd and 4th October 2019, to focus on pertinent issues in the inclusion and representation space in the screen, entertainment and technology landscape.

The Power of Inclusion summit will bring people together, presenting a myriad of world views and positing future action to create a more inclusive industry and world; all enveloped in the special environment that Aotearoa New Zealand and its peoples have to offer.

Speakers include writers, directors and producers making ground breaking work; activists, founders, executives and researchers from companies and initiatives leading the way in inclusion; top tier US studio and SVOD executives; and leading practitioners from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Joining previously announced speakers that included New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern and writer and director Niki Caro is Tilane Jones Vice President of visionary grass-roots film distribution collective ARRAY (13th, Selma, When They See Us) and actor and advocate Magda Szubanski (Kath & Kim, Babe), who was a driving force in Australia achieving marriage equality.

Jones said, "I am honoured to represent our distribution collaborative, ARRAY at The Power of Inclusion summit. ARRAY has a ten year history of amplifying filmmakers of colour and women on and off the screen, including our recent 23rd film acquisition MERATA by Māori filmmaker Hepi Mita. Joining together with artists and advocates for change in New Zealand is pivotal as we work towards a more inclusive entertainment landscape around the world." 

Szubanski said, "During the Nazi Occupation my Catholic Polish family risked their lives to hide Jewish people. This history has taught me how imperative it is to hold together the social fabric that binds us. New Zealand has become a leading light in the struggle against the forces of hate and fear that threaten to pull our world apart. I totally support the kaupapa of this summit and am thrilled to join my Kiwi cousins in helping to build a world of compassion and connection.” 

Osnat Shurer, producer of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award®-nominated feature film Moana and former head of Pixar Animation Studios’ short film group, joins The Power of Inclusion, as does Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Women in Film LA, who was pivotal in the creation of inclusivity and gender equity industry initiative ReFrame.

Shurer said, “On Moana, I had the honour of collaborating with so many talented Pasifika and Māori actors, composers and educators, many of whom call Aotearoa home, and I am so thrilled to be returning for The Power of Inclusion.

Newly announced antipodean speakers include cultural commentator and creator Benjamin Law (The Family Law, Waltzing the Dragon with Benjamin Law); filmmakers Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton (Waru, Vai); comedian extraordinaire Alice Snedden, and Madeleine Sami who joins her previously announced co-writer, director and actor from The Breaker Upperers, Jackie van Beek.

Other previously announced speakers include MACRO founder & CEO Charles D. King, The Black List founder Franklin Leonard and leading expert on social change in media, Dr. Stacy L. Smith. Along with support from Geena Davis and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

The summit will be hosted by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI), with support from The Walt Disney Studios. It will take place at Aotea Centre on 3rd and 4th October 2019 in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Full programme and final speakers to be announced. For more information including registration, please go to

Newly announced speakers:

Tilane Jones leads Ava DuVernay’s grass-roots film distribution collective ARRAY as Vice President, having worked with DuVernay for over ten years and earning film credits that include Oscar nominated and four-time Emmy winner 13TH and Oscar nominated Selma.

Magda Szubanski AO is a celebrated actor, producer and best-selling author, and was ‘The Most Talked About Person’ in 2017 for her crucial role in advocating for marriage equality Australia.

Osnat Shurer is the Academy Award®-nominated Producer of Moana who created the film’s Oceanic Story Trust, a team of Pasifika consultants and collaborators on the film, and previously lead Pixar Animation Studios short film group.

Kirsten Schaffer is Executive Director of Women in Film, Los Angeles and has been instrumental in the launching of industry game changer ReFrame, an initiative to advance inclusivity and gender equity.

Benjamin Law is an Australian journalist, columnist and screenwriter, who adapted his book The Family Law into a critically-acclaimed and award-winning comedy series.

Madeleine Sami is an accomplished actor, writer and director having done all three for the hit film The Breaker Upperers with Jackie van Beek, has starred in the feature What we do in the Shadows and created critically acclaimed TV series Super City.

Kerry Warkia (Papua New Guinean Tolai/Scottish) is a producer who has been at the forefront of some of New Zealand’s most innovative content for film, television and web, including ground-breaking feature films Waru and Vai.

Kiel McNaughton (Māori Ngāti Māhanga/Chinese/Pākehā) is a director and producer of diverse and innovative narrative content, including ground-breaking feature films Waru and Vai which he produced.

Alice Snedden is a writer, comedian and improvisor with a string of top New Zealand TV credits to her name and one half of the popular podcast, "Boners of the Heart".

Previously 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 is a multi award-winning New Zealand film director and screenwriter whose credits include Mulan, The Zookeeper's Wife, North Country and Whale Rider).

Charles D. King is Founder & CEO of MACRO and producer of Sorry to Bother You and Mudbound; executive producer of Fences.

Franklin Leonard, American film executive and founder of The Black List, a yearly publication featuring Hollywood's most popular unproduced screenplays.

Philippa Boyens is an 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 is the founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California.

Maria Giese is an award-winning feature film director who, in 2015, became the person that instigated the biggest industry-wide Federal investigation for women directors in Hollywood history.

Jackie van Beek is an award-winning actor, writer and director whose directing credits include films The Inland Road and The Breaker Upperers (with Madeleine Sami) and TV series Wellington Paranormal (NZ) and What we do in the Shadows (US).

Hope Dickson Leach is the award-winning writer-director of The Levelling and co-founded Raising Films, a campaigning community for parent and carers in the screen industries

and introducing rising star Ana Scotney (Ngāti Tāwhaki), who made her feature film acting debut in The Breaker Upperers and is a film and award-winning theatre maker.

Explore all speakers on The Power of Inclusion website.

About the New Zealand Film Commission

The New Zealand Film Commission invests in original and culturally significant films, encourages talented New Zealand filmmakers through developing career pathways and facilitating connections offshore, and works to increase the number of people seeing New Zealand films here and overseas. It is responsible for marketing New Zealand’s screen production industry overseas and attracting international screen productions to New Zealand. The NZFC supports the growth of economic activity and helps ensure New Zealand has sustainable screen sector businesses operating within an internationally competitive screen sector.  The NZFC also helps negotiate co-production treaties and is responsible for administering the New Zealand Screen Production Grant, the Post, Digital and Visual Effects Grant and the 5% Uplift, and for certifying official co-productions and New Zealand films for tax purposes. 

International productions are eligible for a grant rebate of 20 per cent of qualifying New Zealand production expenditure. An additional 5 per cent grant is available to applicants who demonstrate significant economic benefits to New Zealand, recognising that screen productions can raise New Zealand’s profile internationally, attract high value tourists, international students and profile innovative and creative people and technologies.

About Women in Film and Television International

The first WIFT network (Women in Film & Television) started in Los Angeles in the seventies as a reaction to the male dominance in the film and television industry. Today there are around 50 WIFT and WIFT-like networks with about 20,000 members over six continents - all working for the same goal -a better gender balance in the industry, both behind and in front of the camera. 

WIFTI (Women in Film & Television International) is the global network which connects all organisations to one common voice. It champions women’s rights and sustainability for women working in all areas of film, television and other screen-based media. WIFTI works with three pillars - CONNECTION, KNOWLEDGE and VISIBILITY.

About The Walt Disney Studios

For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; and Lucasfilm. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 8 August 2019