New Zealand Film Commission Execs Talk Incentives, More at Variety’s Global Conversations Summit

Jane Campion
The Locarno Film Festival will honor Jane Campion with its Pardo d’onore Manor award.

As part of Variety‘s Global Conversations Summit at the Cannes 2024 Film Festival, Variety executive editor Tatiana Siegel sat down with New Zealand Film Commission CEO Annie Murray and Philippa Mossman, head of International Screen Attraction at New Zealand Film Commission, to talk about the country’s thriving film industry.

Murray’s most recent project with the New Zealand Film Commission is a pop-up intensive film school by writer and director Jane Campion. Campion has hand-picked a class of ten filmmakers from 300 applicants and is taking them through a two-year program where they will develop and shoot original short films.

“What’s really important to [Campion] is that all the participants are paid to attend,” Murray explained. “So that removes barriers. It’s a super diverse group and they have spent a year with Dame Jane, who is not taking a fee and so very generously giving her time. And now the next year is making their short films.”

Through the pop-up film school, students get to work with other veteran filmmakers such as Peter Jackson and James Cameron, the latter of which allowed students to come on his sets and direct some of the scenes themselves.

“Where in the world would you have that opportunity as an emerging filmmaker?” said Murray. “It’s a magical place.”

Mossman added that the track record of New Zealand filmmakers at Cannes speaks for itself. Campion was the first female director to win the Palme d’Or in 1993 with “The Piano.” Other New Zealanders whose films screened at Cannes include Lee Tamahori, Jackson, Fran Walsh and Melanie Lynskey.

“Our history really matters to us, and we speak about that amazing legacy,” said Mossman. “And now, of course, after ‘Lord of the Rings’ and these other films, New Zealand is increasingly known for its diverse and incredible locations.”