New Zealand Film and Television Awards

Tuesday, 17 July 2012, 9:34 am

Press Release: Screen Directors Guild

This press release discusses the  concerns over the New Zealand’s Screen Directors Guild (SDGNZ) regarding misinformation about the Film and Television Awards.

In 2005, as a service to the screen industry, the SDGNZ decided to run the film and television awards after several years of no awards event.

SDGNZ executive director Anna Cahill

Anna Cahill SDGNZ executive director

“The Guild took up this initiative as we felt it was important to recognise talented film and television makers by ensuring both were acknowledged in Awards ceremonies.” says Executive Director of SDGNZ Anna Cahill.

These New Zealand Screen Awards had a full range of film categories and TV categories and included a wide range of craft categories to ensure peer recognition. The SDGNZ awards did not have news and journalism categories because they seemed like a separate industry to us – and at that time they had their own awards. We also did not have a peoples’ choice award, as these awards were primarily an industry event.

The SDGNZ ran the New Zealand Screen Awards successfully for a number of years. In that time the Television Broadcasters Council, (now ThinkTV), TVNZ and TV3 started their own awards (called the Qantas Awards) with a heavy emphasis on TV news and journalism awards. The two sets of awards ran parallel for a couple of years.

Following overtures from the Television Broadcasters Council the SDGNZ and the TBC amalgamated to have just one industry award ceremony as the industry is relatively small and we were often chasing the same sponsors for our events. The new awards were called the NZ Film and Television Awards and were initially sponsored by Qantas. There was agreement to maintain the film categories, documentary categories and craft categories as well as news and current affairs awards.

The SDGNZ jointly ran the awards with Think TV successfully for three years. Both groups were represented on the organising committee. The awards do not generate any income above costs, so all of the SDGNZ committee worked without reward (as they are freelancers) to ensure the awards were not only a success, but they balanced the demands of film, television and news; and even more importantly kept an eye to the purpose of awards – celebrating the craft of making film and television.

It should be noted that the ThinkTV, TVNZ and TV3 representatives on the organising committee were in all in paid employment for the channels and so their involvement in the Awards came at no personal financial cost

This year, because of resource and financial constraints, the SDGNZ felt that it could no longer continue to subsidise the awards with members and staff’s limited time, so withdrew from the organising committee.

ThinkTV indicated it would be happy to continue organising the awards alone as it had sufficient resources to do so. However, at this stage ThinkTV decided to drop the film component of the awards (The SDGNZ and ThinkTV let the industry know there would be no Film element in the awards in a release on the 15th of March 2012).

The SDGNZ is naturally as disappointed as everyone else in the industry that the Film categories are no longer in the Awards. While we know from experience the tremendous costs and time commitment needed to run awards, we are confident the industry will discuss where the film element of the awards will now go and we hope that there will be an event in the future.

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