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Directors for improv workshop

DEGNZ, Auckland, 14 February 2015: Four emerging film directors have been selected to attend renowned Australian directing and acting coach Rob Marchand’s Character-based Improvisation Workshop to be held from 20 – 24 March 2015 by the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ.

They are:

  • Gillian Ashurst (Snakeskin)
  • Max Currie (Everything We Loved)
  • Alyx Duncan (The Red House)
  • Lauren Jackson (I’m Going to Mum’s)

“This workshop is all about directors working with actors—putting the script to one side and going ‘off-road’ to improvise and explore the wider possibilities of character in order to enrich the story,” said writer/director Fiona Samuel.

“The selected projects and creative teams are bursting with potential, and I hope the five days working with Rob Marchand will give a huge boost to these new and exciting films in development.”

The selection panel comprised Samuel, actor Theresa Healey and producer Christina Milligan.

“Rob fully explores UK director Mike Leigh’s method of improvisation in his workshops,” said DEGNZ Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu. “I am confident that this approach will be a rich and rewarding experience for not only the directors on the course, but for the actors they will bring with them as well as those they work with in future.”

Rob Marchand is an award-winning film director with over 25 years experience who is hailed as Australia’s foremost expert in this process. Rob runs his acclaimed workshops in Europe, the U.K. Australia and now in New Zealand.

The workshop is made possible with the financial assistance of the New Zealand Film Commission and the assistance of Script to Screen.

Rob Marchand
Robert Marchand is an award-winning Australian film director with over 25 years experience. Most recently he directed The Lost Tools of Henry Hoke, a 21-part series for the ABC. His credits include the television mini-series Fields Of Fire, Come In Spinner, Sun On The Stubble, Kangaroo Palace and The Potato Factory; for his past work he has been awarded four AFI Awards and has also received Logie, ATOM & Penguin awards and nominations. He is also a writer and lecturer, and a mentor to emerging filmmakers.

Robert is hailed as Australia’s foremost expert in the Character-based Improvisation Process. Since 1993 he has run over 80 workshops for actors, and filmmakers across Australia and overseas: most recently he conducted workshops in Croatia, Britain, Vietnam and New Zealand. He has run workshops for writers and directors at NIDA and the VCA; his workshops are on the curriculum of the 16th Street Actors Studio, Melbourne; they have been an integral part of the Flinders University Drama Centre program; a director’s variant has been part of the Grad Dip program at AFTRS (Australian Film, Television & Radio School) and his master classes have been featured at the ADG Conference; SPA Fringe Conference; and once upon a time at the AFC’s IndiVisions initiative.

Robert also conducts tailor-made workshops for directors about to start rehearsals on their feature films, creating characters in a pre-rehearsal environment. Past projects include Cedar Boys (Serhat Carradee); Newcastle (Dan Castle); Playing For Charlie (Pene Patrick), and most recently The Great Maiden’s Blush (Andrea Bosshard).

Robert’s PhD at Flinders University investigated the creation of character through the CBI Process in relation to fictive identities. He has recently adapted the process to provide diagnostic training of GPs for the Paediatric Mental Health Training Unit at Adelaide’s Women & Children’s Hospital.


Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
The Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand represents Directors and Editors in the New Zealand screen industry. This includes Directors and Editors of feature drama and documentary; television drama, documentary and factual programmes; short films; video art; animation; commercials and web content.

The Guild:

  • Is dedicated to promoting excellence in the arts of directing and editing.
  • Fosters collegiality and unity within the screen industry.
  • Promotes members’ creative and economic rights.
  • Works to improve industry working conditions and remuneration.
  • Offers professional advice and information on contracts and industry standards and practice.
  • Delivers professional development events, networking opportunities, career advice, dispute resolution, mentoring, workshops, training, discounts and regular news bulletins for members across all levels of expertise, from novices to seasoned professionals.

We are a voice for Directors and Editors in influencing policy in the interest of our members. We do this through our membership of the pan‐industry group SINZ (Screen Industry New Zealand), and by making submissions to government and public officials. Internationally we work co-operatively with other guilds and we belong to IEASDO (International Affiliation of English‐Speaking Directors’ Organisations).

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