WIFTI Funding a big bonus for NZ Film maker

Posted Monday 18 Mar 2013


Producer Melissa Dodds read about Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) funding support on the WIFT website, but she assumed she had to be an American citizen or be making a certain type of film to make an application.

Thank goodness she read the small print and put in an application back in 2010. It meant she had an additional US$2000 for sound and music for her critically acclaimed short film.
Whakatiki Written by Bernadette Murphy and Directed by Louise Leitch. Whakatiki - a spirit rising, which traces one woman's visit to the river of her childhood for a day. Her spirit is awakened after years of being held captive by broken promises.

"It was a great boost, the money enabled us to (really focus on the soundscape of Kiri's underwater world and helped with sound and music design, in order) to get a high quality work-in-progress completed to submit to festivals." says Dodds.

WIFTI is a global network of 37 Women In Film chapters worldwide with over 10,000 members, dedicated to advancing professional development and achievement for women working in all areas of film, video, and other screen-based media. It was founded in Los Angeles in 1973 by Tichi Wilkerson Kassel.

Dodds says that the extra funding has had some great spin offs for Whakatiki which was shot on 16 mm film.

"We secured a place in competition at the prestigous Tribeca festival in New York. Because of this festival acceptance we were able to access further funding from the New Zealand Film Commission to completely finish the film including a grade and 5.1 sound mix at Park Road Post.  

Dodds says she and director Louise Leitch were also able to tap into a great network at Tribeca and this led to the film securing many more festival acceptances ( approx 15 to date!) including the First Peoples' Festival, Montreal, where "Whakatiki" won Best Short Film.  (Whakatiki's Mabelle Dennison went on to win Best Actress at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival and at the Moa for Best Actress (sorta unofficial New Zealand Film Awards 2012.

She wouldn't have applied for the funding if she hadn't been encouraged by WIFT to do so, and she would definitely apply again.

"I totally recommend it as an opportunity. Our film is a women's story, shot in Wellington, directed and produced and written by women, so we had a beautiful
and inspiring women's story here and it was that bit more amazing because of the extra funding that went in."

Whakatiki has been entered into the Show Me Shorts festival and Dodds has just completed "Blankets" with Louise, written by Casey Whelan on a similar budget. She is now eyeing up the $90,000NZ premiere film budget for her next project.

For more information go to whakatiki.co.nz