Winners of writers’ residency selected

The inaugural recipients of the Tahuna Writers’ Residency have been announced.

The screenwriters’ residency was created last year as a partnership between Great Southern Television and Queenstown Lakes District Council’s film office, Film Queenstown Lakes, and is supported by the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air.

Danny Aumua, Malinna Liang, Tom Augustine, Isla Macleod and Todd Karehana were selected from more than 150 applicants from across the country for a hosted programme of workshops, mentoring, writing and pitching to be based in Queenstown from March 21 to April 14.

Great Southern Television chief executive Philip Smith said he was thrilled by the incredible calibre and range of applicants.

“It was a highly competitive process. Our exceptional ‘Top Five’ represent a broad range of genres and writing styles, and each has compelling, brave and exciting stories to share with the world.

"They make us excited about the future of Aotearoa's screen industry and we can't wait to start working with them,” he said.

“Tahuna is focused on creating gripping television series that could sit on major networks and streamers globally but are shot in hometown New Zealand.

"In this day and age it's about being brave and thinking big.

"We want to take these writers on the journey by providing the resources and insights to make their creative visions a reality."

Film Queenstown Lakes co-ordinator Kahli Scott said she was excited to welcome the writers to town.

“Danny, Malinna, Tom, Isla and Todd all demonstrated incredible talent in their applications, as well as an enthusiasm for creating stories in and about our district.”

She said the aim of the residency was to generate homegrown stories leading to more productions filming in the district.

“Film and TV production has a key role to play in diversifying our economy, generating jobs and business, developing local skills, and enriching our communities.

"The projects that our Tahuna writers will create during their residency are the type of work that will help us to grow and strengthen the industry further.

"We’re looking forward to seeing how the writers are inspired by being here and rise to the challenge.”

Over the course of the residency, each of the five writers will develop a concept for a scripted drama series to be based and produced in the Queenstown Lakes district.

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