In Conversation With Screenwriter Rachel Lang

In Conversation With Screenwriter Rachel Lang

Posted Monday 15 Aug 2022

Here's a not-to-be-missed workshop for those interested in story development - whether you're a writer or not!
Scriptwriter Rachel Lang is one of the writers on a major production coming to Christchurch: Dark City: The Cleaner, which received funding funding from Te Puna Kairangi – Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund in May. She will join producer Nadia Maxwell (Human Traces, Reunion) in Christchurch for a discussion about story development.
Rachel has written some of New Zealand's best-known and loved television series: Outrageous Fortune, Shortland Street, The Almighty Johnsons, Nothing Trivial, Go Girls and many others.
She's a talented writer and an industry stalwart and we're over the moon to have her do a workshop with us!

The discussion will cover, among other things, the following topics:

· What a showrunner does;

· How you get to be a showrunner;

· How Covid has changed the practicalities of writing for television;

· What the ingredients for a successful writers room are;

· Tips for creating ideas and how to market them.

Bring your questions and Rachel will do her best to answer them!

Park in Car Park 2 off Solway Ave.

Parking is free after 5pm.

WIFT members free; non members $15 cash; includes drinks and nibbles.

RSVP essential to

Date: Wednesday 17 Aug 2022
Location: Jack Mann Auditorium, Digital Screen Campus, University of Canterbury
Time: 6:00 drinks for 6:30pm start


Upcoming events...

Thursday 25 Aug 2022

Filming With COVID or Predicting the Unpredictable (WTN)

We're bringing you this very timely and topical workshop with the latest information and advice, stories and strategies for filming with COVID from those at the coal front.

Still fresh from their Queenstown locations, producers Michelle Turner and Lisa Chatfield will share their perspectives on the ongoing changes and flexibilities required when filming in 2022 - including management strategies, new production considerations (for catering, transport, accommodation, location selection etc), new budget lines, new layers of administration and the ripple effect a single production can have right across the industry.

We're also pleased to have  experienced public health professional Tui Shadbolt join the panel. Tui worked in disease prevention including infection control, outbreak investigation and Health and Food Safety compliance for more than 20 years prior to joining the GSR Rings of Power crew in 2020. Tui has now moved on to the Stonehenge project.

Supporting them on the panel is Vicki Jackways, who is also right across the stories from the front line as Special Projects Manager - Screen Recovery Fund with the NZFC.

Moderator: Robin Laing, Producer

  • Lisa Chatfield - Producer, One Lane Bridge
  • Michelle Turner - Producer, Under the Vines
  • Tui Shadbolt - COVID Manager, Rings of Power & Stonehenge
  • Vicki Jackways - Special Projects  Manager Screen Recovery Fund

WIFT members free; non members $15 cash; includes drinks and nibbles.

Date: Thursday 25 August 2022
Location: Taia Studios, 4 Bay Rd, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Time: 6pm networking for 6:30pm start

RSVP essential to

Thursday 25 Aug 2022

Story Sovereignty and Cultural Safety (Christchurch)

Having control over one’s stories and the right to determine the direction of these stories is an essential and ongoing korero.

Some of the topics and questions the panel will explore are:

  • How can our industry centre the voices and concerns of Tangata Whenua, Tangata Moana, pan-Asian and other underserved groups?
  • How can our industry empower these groups in the storytelling space and ensure the protection of cultural, genealogical and spiritual capital?
  • How can we as an industry move beyond token representation onscreen and behind the camera to ensure meaningful collaboration?
  • What does cultural safety mean throughout all levels of the storytelling process?
  • What is Story Sovereignty and is there a collective understanding of what it is?

 This is an important and multi-layered conversation which we hope will add to the discourse on Story Sovereignty and Cultural Safety.

Moderator: Dr Hana O’Regan, Tumu Whakarae - Chief Executive Officer, CORE Education (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha).
Dr Hana O’Regan has worked in the areas of language revitalisation, identity and cultural development, te reo Māori and education for over 25 years. Dr O'Regan is a published author and composer and is recognised internationally for her work in indigenous language acquisition and revitalisation. In 2021 she was appointed as a member to The Waitangi Tribunal.


  • Te O Kahurangi WaakaPou Whakahaere - Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission, Producer (Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pūkeko).
    Te O Kahurangi is a producer with extensive experience in governance, culture, intellectual property rights, iwi and community organisations, as well as active involvement in Māori screen issues. She has been producer for Kura Productions, has served as a board member of Ngā Aho Whakaari, and is the Chair of the Trade Marks Māori Advisory Committee.

  • Anna Canton, Creative Producer, Brand & Marketing Specialist, (Pākehā/Chinese).  
    With an interest in edgy, high-stakes genre film, Anna brings a wealth of commercial project management skills, cultural leadership insight, practical film experience, and passionate storytelling to the table. As a Producer, her short films 'GRAVEL 3000' and award-winning* 'MODEL 15' have played at local and international festivals. As a woman-of-colour, she is focused on giving voice to those currently underrepresented in our industry.

    Tusiata Avia, MNZM, Poet, Author, Scriptwriter (Samoa/NZ Pākehā).
    Tusiata Avia is a poet, performer and children’s book writer, known for her dynamic performance style. She is regularly published in international literary journals and invited to appear at writers festivals around the globe. Her poetry is described by poet and novelist Sia Figiel as 'quite revolutionary in the sense that, not only does it define the face of Pacific literature in New Zealand, but it redefines the face of New Zealand literature itself.' 

Date: Thursday 25 August
Time: 6:00pm drinks for a 6:30pm start
Location: Jack Mann Auditorium, Digital Screen Campus, Dovedale Ave, Ilam. 

WIFT members FREE; non-members $15 cash. Includes a drink and nibbles.
RSVP essential to

Park in Car Park 2 off Solway Ave.

Parking is free after 5pm.

Wednesday 31 Aug 2022

The Director - DoP relationship

Continuing in our series examining key relationships for directors, we now bring you this workshop on the Director - Director of Photography relationship in collaboration with DEGANZ.

**WIFT NZ and DEGANZ members are free**

RSVP essential to

Our experienced panel will be discussing the following questions:

  • What are the ways a DOP and director can develop a shared visual language that enriches their creativity and the project?
  • How can directors and DOPs maintain a healthy collaborative relationship that lasts beyond one project?
  • What is the best way to deal with director-DOP creative differences?
  • What do directors most want from their DOPs?
  • What do DOPs most want from their directors?


Bayley Broome-Peake
Experienced 1st AC and DOP Bayley Broome-Peake will moderate this discussion. Bayley has worked in the camera department in Australia and New Zealand and her work spans TV commercials, TV series, music videos, webseries, and short film. Her work in New Zealand includes TV series Under The Vines, Sweet Tooth, The Panthers and Mean Mums


  • Paula Whetu Jones (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Porou)
    Paula has worked in the New Zealand screen industry for over two decades as a writer, director, researcher and producer. She directed 2003 documentary Gang Girls, a segment of the 2019 anthology film Waru, the 2020 comedy series I Date Rejects, and the 2022 feature film Whina, a biopic on the life of Dame Whina Cooper. 

  • Leon Narbey 
    A New Zealand Arts Laureate, Leon is one of New Zealand's most prolific and lauded cinematographers. His work has earned him national and international awards in recognition of the special artistic sensibility he has applied to the cinematography of many definitive New Zealand films. His talents have contributed to roughly 20 features, including Whale Rider, The Orator, No. 2, One Thousand Ropes, Rain of the Children, and Illustrious Energy which he directed. Leon was DOP on the feature film Whina.

  • Briar March
    Briar March is an award-winning filmmaker and previous Fulbright scholar whose works are grounded in a passionate desire to connect, foster debate, and inspire social change. Her films have been broadcast on major television networks around the world, and are regularly exhibited in film festivals. Her work includes the 2021 documentaries Mothers of the Revolution, There Once Was An Island, A Place To Call Home, Smoke Songs. She is currently in post-production with Dame Valerie Adams: More Than Gold.

  • Mark Lapwood
    Mark Lapwood NZCS ACS has over 25 years’ experience filming tv commercials, music videos, documentaries and feature films around the globe. He’s highly skilled in studio and location shoots, often collaborating in many languages and cultures, with both large and small crews. His feature film work includes More Than Gold: The Valerie Adams Story, Mothers of the Revolution, A Place To Call Home, The Coffin Club. Mark has a particularly strong eye for natural beauty in landscapes, architecture and people. 

The discussion panel will be followed by a Q&A session, so bring your burning questions along with you!

Time: 6:00pm for 6:30pm drinks
Date: Wednesday 31 August
Location: Click Studios, 145 Carrington Rd, Mt Albert, Auckland


WIFT NZ and DEGANZ Members FREE, non-members $15 cash at the door.

Wednesday 21 Sep 2022

The Director/1AD/Producer Dynamic

Continuing in our series examining key relationships for directors, we now bring you this workshop on the Director - 1st AD - Producer dynamic in collaboration with DEGANZ.

**WIFT NZ and DEGANZ members are free**

RSVP essential to

Facilitator: Mark Westerby, Producer, Managing Director Taia Studios.

Rob Sarkies, Director (Scarfies, Out Of The Blue, Two Little Boys, Jean, Consent, The Gulf, Wanted)
Rob is a highly regarded multi-award winning New Zealand filmmaker whose work spans feature film, series television and commercials. He is a passionate storyteller who works across multiple genres from comedy to true-life tragedy. Rob was a director on the Matchbox/NBC Universal production Wanted shooting in NZ and Thailand, and on the first two seasons of the acclaimed German-NZ series The Gulf.

Bruno de Bois, 1AD, Director (The Hobbit Trilogy, Zealandia, Savage, Don't Make Me Go, Mortal Engines)
Belgium-born Bruno moved to New Zealand in 2006. He started working as an Assistant Director on the first Avatar Movie. Since then, he worked on multiple international and local productions such as The Hobbit Trilogy, Avatar 2 & 3, Ghost in the Shell, Mortal Engines, Savage, Don’t Make Me Go. Bruno also directed three short films: Serial Killer, Dangerous Game and Zealandia which were selected and won many awards in festivals around the world.

Desray Armstrong, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Ngāti Porou, Producer (Millie Lies Low, Coming Home in the Dark, Juniper, Stray, Wellington Paranormal)
Desray's films have hit A-list international film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin and SXSW. She has worked on many local and international productions including A Wrinkle in Time, What We Do In the Shadows and Mortal Engines. In 2021 she produced three feature films during the Covid pandemic: Coming Home in the Dark, Juniper and Millie Lies Low.

Our experienced panel will be discussing the following questions:

  • What are the ways a successful dynamic between 1AD, Director and Producer can be nurtured?  
  • What are the ways a1AD can help balance the creative needs of the director and the logistical needs of the shoot?
  • What is the best way to deal with director-1AD differences?
  • What do directors and producers most want from their 1AD?
  • What do 1ADs most want from their directors and producers?

Programme is brought to you with generous support from the NZ Film Commission and Foundation North.