March 18, 2021
Screen boss opened doors for Maori filmmakers
New Zealand Film Commission chair Dame Kerry Prendergast has praised the contribution of outgoing chief executive Annabelle Sheehan, including increasing opportunities for Māori and women in film.
Ms Sheenan is stepping down from Te Tuma Whakaata Taonga after three years and returning to Australia to complete treatment for breast cancer.
Dame Kerry says in 2018 Sheehan launched the 125 Fund to increase the number of women filmmakers gaining access to production funds to tell their stories.
The same year she launched Te Rautaki Māori and announced new funding programmes to ensure Māori filmmakers have access to financing and developing their stories and careers.
She also created the new role of Pou Whakahaere to lead on implementing Te Rautaki and strengthen partnerships with the Māori screen industry.
Despite the disruption to the film industry from COVID-19, production levels remained high, with international productions currently located in New Zealand between 1 July 2020 and 20 June 2021 estimated to trigger a spend of $730 million on New Zealand goods and services.
Local production is strong with 10 local films and series in production around the country with a further five in post-production.
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