Posted Tuesday 18 Oct 2022
With much sadness WIFT New Zealand acknowledges the death of Judith McCann on 4 October in Ottawa, Canada.
Judith was CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission from 1989 to 1994 (following 8 years at Telefilm Canada) and in this capacity was instrumental in the establishment of WIFT in New Zealand. In 1992 she made NZFC staffer Rhys Kelly available to survey women working in the industry to ascertain the level of interest in setting up a WIFT chapter here. Once the organisation was established, she joined immediately and encouraged female staff members of the NZFC to join and to participate in WIFT events. Shortly afterwards she left New Zealand to take up the position of CEO at the South Australia Film Commission and her membership lapsed but she re-joined on returning to this country as CEO of Film New Zealand, a position she held until 2009.
Judith was a strong advocate and supporter of female creatives in the film industry. She supported the development of Alison McLean (Crush), Jane Campion (An Angel at my Table), Dame Gaylene Preston (Ruby & Rata) and a good 20 other women developing and producing short films (including Christine Jeffs, Christine Parker, Niki Caro, Fiona Samuel) whose careers were established and/or flourished under her tenure.
In 2010 Judith returned to Canada to be closer to family where she lived in Ottawa and managed her consulting company mPICS. Judith always maintained her interest in and contact with New Zealand and in 2016 she was awarded an Honorary Life Membership of WIFT NZ.
With thanks to Robin Laing for this tribute and the photo of Judith with Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor at Cannes, 1992.