WIFT NZ Events

Echo Janman, Producer

Echo, tell us a little about yourself: your background, work history and why you decided to pursue a career in film and television.

I came to NZ in 2000 from the States to begin a postgraduate degree in cultural anthropology. It was during this time that I met Paul Janman, and in 2004 we packed up everything and moved to Tonga together. We worked as teachers at a small school that challenged the corporate model of education and championed a critical understanding of culture and the classical spirit. Inspired by their example, we returned to Auckland in 2006 and established our own independent film company, Public Films.

Tell us about your most recent and current projects.
As a husband and wife team we worked relentlessly on our first feature documentary film,Tongan Ark, for over 6 years. During this time we also produced several short films and taught ourselves filmmaking from start to finish. Being independent has allowed us to take our time to let the the story develop and establish a deep relationship with our subject. It is incredibly rewarding to be a producer on this project and to see our first feature film now receiving positive reviews, gaining momentum in the international festival circuit and literally changing peoples lives.
I work full-time at the University of Auckland and currently only produce projects for Public Films. Our next project is a collaboration between Director Paul Janman and writer Scott Hamilton creating alternative Aotearoa histories through the lens of 'radical travel'. I'm also working on a short doco about an ailing South Alabama jukebox company.

Why do you think it's important for women to have access to the types of mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities that WIFT offers?
It is a highly competitive and fast-moving industry to say the least. I haven't pursued a formal education in film studies or worked in television, so having the opportunity to attend WIFTNZ workshops and seminars has been a tremendous boost. It has been so encouraging to hear the experiences of others and get advice from the experts. It has also been great to meet other women who have stood their ground to tell stories the way they believe they should be told, and to meet women working in all areas of the industry. Interviewed 18 December 2012

View Echo Janman's membership profile.