NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission announce new $2.5 million Documentary Fund

Posted Monday 18 Mar 2013

This new collaboration between the two organisations will invest in at least five quality documentary projects to screen in cinemas, on television and online.

It will focus on funding one-off documentaries from experienced New Zealand documentary filmmakers.  There are no restrictions on treatment or style.

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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