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DEGNZ Selects Tusi Tamasese for International Mentorship

Press Release – Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) is pleased to announce the selection of filmmaker Tusi Tamasese as the recipient of the first DEGNZ International Director Mentorship.DEGNZ Selects Tusi Tamasese for International Director Mentorship


29 January 2015

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) is pleased to announce the selection of filmmaker Tusi Tamasese as the recipient of the first DEGNZ International Director Mentorship.

Tamasese will be matched with an international film director as a mentor to help guide his career.

“The panel deliberated long and hard over all the candidates, but Tusi’s unique voice and cinematic vision ultimately won us over,” said Guild President Peter Roberts.

“With a critically acclaimed first feature under his belt and the prospects of a strong filmmaking career ahead, we felt that Tusi would really benefit from the experienced guiding hand of an internationally successful director,” added DEGNZ board member Roseanne Liang.

The selection panel comprised Roberts, Liang, New Zealand Film Commission Professional Development Executive Bonnie Slater, independent producer Fiona Copland and DEGNZ Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu.

DEGNZ mentorships are intended to provide mid-career filmmakers with support and engagement with successful, seasoned filmmakers from the international industry. Through the mentorship, NZ filmmakers will connect with the wider world which impacts so heavily on the financing of their work, their ability to reach their audience and their assumptions about their careers.

The International Director Mentorship is part of a three-year, intensive professional development programme that DEGNZ runs with the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission. The inaugural DEGNZ International Mentorship in 2014 was awarded to editor Cushla Dillon, who has been mentored by expat New Zealand editor Justine Wright. The feature films Locke, Iron Lady and The Last King of Scotland number among Wright’s film editing credits.

DEGNZ intends to award three further mentorships in 2015, starting with one for documentary directing, then one each for drama directing and editing.


Tusi Tamasese Bio

Tusi is a prize winning graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, the NZ Film School and the University of Waikato, holding an MA in Creative Writing (script writing) and a Bachelor of Social Science (Majors in Screen and Media Studies and Political Science). He attended the Talent Campus of the Berlin Film Festival in 2010.

Tusi’s earlier work includes Va Tapuia – Sacred Spaces (2009) a 15 minute short film which premiered at the 2010 NZ International Film Festival and been selected to screen at the Hawaii, imagineNATIVE; Show me Shorts, Clermont Ferrand, Oberhausen and All Roads Film Festivals.

Tusi’s debut feature, The Orator – O Le Tulafale, was filmed entirely in the Samoan language. This tale of an outsider in conflict with his community scored multiple honours at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, was critically acclaimed internationally, and selected at numerous other international film festivals including Sundance. The Orator was New Zealand’s official submission for the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

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 panindustry 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 EnglishSpeaking Directors’ Organisations).

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