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NZFC & NZ On Air announce joint doco fund

The NZFC and NZ On Air have announced a new $2.5 million fund for documentaries with both theatrical and broadcast potential. It is expected that this new collaboration between the two organisations will invest in at least five quality documentary projects to screen in cinemas, on television and online. The scheme will focus on funding one-off documentaries from experienced New Zealand documentary filmmakers.  There are no restrictions on treatment or style.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for talented New Zealand documentary makers to develop and make top quality documentaries likely to catch the eye of international film festival programmers” says NZFC Chief Executive Graeme Mason.

“We want to fund projects with clear New Zealand relevance that will interest and challenge a prime-time television audience” says NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

Projects will plan for theatrical distribution in at least three New Zealand cities and also have a New Zealand free-to-air broadcaster attached.  The broadcaster will need to commit to screening the documentary in prime-time around six months from the documentary’s theatrical premiere date, and contribute a licence fee towards the cost of production.

The documentary may also be released on DVD and must be made available in its entirety to NZ On Screen for free public viewing within five years of its theatrical premiere date.
The NZFC and NZ On Air will release details through a request for proposals on 18 April with a view to green-lighting successful projects in October.

The NZFC is also pleased to announce Te Whai Ao to run in conjunction with the joint Documentary Fund. Te Whai Ao is a dedicated documentary development fund focused on supporting emerging filmmakers with truly cinematic projects and distinctive voices.  Funding will be by way of a grant, enabling filmmakers to move projects to a stage where they are eligible to seek production, post-production or finishing funding. 

Key facts
What is the timetable for applications and decisions?
Issue RFP: 18 April
Submission deadline: 26 July
Shortlist circulated: 21 August
Selection meeting: 30 September
Decisions announced: October 2013

Who will select the projects?
A panel made up of staff from NZ On Air and the NZFC alongside local and international industry experts.

Who can apply?
New Zealand documentary-makers with an important documentary credit (either television or theatrical).  Projects will need a producer but in some cases the director might also be a producer. 

How do I show I have distribution in at least three New Zealand cities?
With a credible distribution plan.  The plan may rely on a distributor, self-distribution or the New Zealand International Film Festival.

How many times can I apply?
There is no limit on the number of applications that can be made.

Is there a cap on the amount I can apply for?
While budgets will vary depending on the scope of each project no single project is likely to receive funding in excess of $750,000 and most are expected to be less than $500,000. 

Projects requiring higher budgets are strongly encouraged to seek additional investment from other sources.  

How long does the documentary need to be?
Duration will be at least 1.5 commercial hours (usually 66 minutes). It may screen in a different format for television (eg a two-parter or an edited duration).

Can I get funding from other sources too?
Absolutely

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