Purpose

Film Auckland Inc. (FAI), takes an inclusive ‘pan-screen industry’ approach reflecting today’s filmic landscape. FAI supports a robust and vital screen ecology across all screen sectors including film, television, digital content and transmedia, as well as new developing technologies. It also values the associated supporting economic sectors.

The screen industry is a major contributor to Auckland’s economy and a key growth sector identified in the Economic Development Strategy. Production activity alone generates more than $700 million annual gross revenue, and the wider industry injects more than $2 billion into the regional economy.

Auckland’s unique and diverse locations, skilled production personnel (crews, actors, directors, writers etc) and modern screen infrastructure make it an attractive destination for international creative industries.

FAI believes it is important to have an independent industry-run organisation whose purpose is to represent the screen industry for the benefit of all who have an interest in it as well as the wider Auckland community.

Film Auckland Inc is run by an advisory board of experienced industry practitioners. It prides itself on leading the way in developing, supporting and maintaining the health of the screen industry within Auckland, as well as providing representation and a voice for all sectors of the industry.

Board

Alex Lee Chair

Alex Lee is the current Chair of Film Auckland Incorporated. He is a trained lawyer and filmmaker.

He has an entertainment law and commercial law practice in Auckland. Alex taught law in Hong Kong and Auckland and was the former Auckland Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. He has two postgraduate masters in laws specialising in public law, international law and international trade law.

After completing his Masters in film and TV drama directing from the Universoty of Auckland, he was invited to teach film production at the Masters level. He has also been the Head of the Department of Performing & Screen Arts at UNITEC.

Alex has been extensively involved as an advocate of as well as a capacity builder within the screen industry.  He is a Co-director and Founding Trustee of the Documentary New Zealand Trust which runs the Doc Edge International Film Festival,  the pan-screen industry Screen Edge Forum, Doc Pitch, Doc Edge Presents and the interactive immersive capacity building and exhibition arm known as Story Edge. He co-curates the festival programme and designs the industry programme. He also selects and invites the guests to the events. He also chooses the finalists for the Doc Pitch projects as well as the digital interactive projects for Story Edge World Exhibition. 

Alex has also been advocating for greater support and visibility for the Asian screen and performing arts community as Chairman of the Asia New Zealand Film Foundation Trust and Founder/General Counsel of The Oryza Foundation for Asian Performing Arts. 

He is a Board Member of Creative Coalition and a previous National Executive Member of the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand. He was also on the past Mayoral Think-tank on the creative industries as well as the China Club sub-committee of the NZ Film Commission.

Alex has been invited to be a panellist and speaker on many international screen forums as well as a jury member of various leading film festivals overseas.

He is working a various NZ/international co-productions in narrative and documentary long form films as well as immersive/interactive stories.

Felicity Letcher Deputy Chair

Felicity is company director and producer at Main Reactor, a leading makeup special effects and props workshop in Henderson.

David Rowell Treasurer

Dave Rowell is a freelance financial controller and a co-owner/operator of Studio West. With over 30 years experience in the motion picture industry, he has worked in Canada, Australia and France. Originally from Canada, Dave has worked in New Zealand since 2000 on a number of TV Movies and bigger projects such as “Narnia: Prince Caspian”, “Bridge to Terabithia”, “Yogi Bear”, and more recently “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2” and “The Shannara Chronicles”.

Annie Dodman Secretary

Annie is a respected freelance production manager for local and international productions, with over 35 years experience. Prior to that she has worked as the Floor Manager for television in Christchurch, and as a location manager. Since then have worked on many films and MOW’s including several for the Disney Channel and features 30 Days of Night, Aliens in the Attic and Walking with Dinosaurs.

Grant Baker Board Member

Grant Baker is the Managing Partner and co-owner of Images & Sound, one of New Zealand’s longest running Post Production facilities based in Auckland, New Zealand. Grant has over 30 years experience in the New Zealand film and television industry starting his career at TVNZ as an audio engineer and later editor before becoming a post production supervisor, eventually joining Images & Sound in 1993 where he has worked on numerous feature films and TV drama productions.

Graham Dunster Board Member

Graham is the founder/operator of Auckland Actors Ltd, one of the longest running and most successful talent agencies in the country. He has had eleven years of administrative experience in the UK commercial television scene. He currently also is the chair of the Actors Agents Association of NZ (AAANZ), is an Equity supporter, and founded the NZ Actors Agents Guild.

Pieter Holl Board Member

Pieter is a film industry tax consultant and runs accounting company Pieter Holl & Associates Ltd. He is also a trustee of The New Zealand Children’s Screen Trust.

Bruce Hopkins Board Member

Bruce has worked in the performing arts, media & screen production industries for over 30yrs in a variety of roles, including crew, production & as a performer/actor.

Bruce is a long standing board member of Equity New Zealand, the union representing actors in NZ. In 2011 he founded ActionActors, a unique Temp HR agency helping actors survive financially between paid acting jobs.

Katie Kempe Board Member

Katie is the founder of Cherokee Films, a commercial production company that creates world class TVCs and content for some of the world’s most well known brands. She is also a member of SPADA.

Sioux MacDonald Board Member

Sioux is the founder of Film Crews, an Auckland based crew booking agency, servicing all New Zealand and international producers needing film crew in NZ. Prior to owning Film Crews, Sioux spent 9 years in the post production sector at TVNZ, Go Post Avalon Studios, Flying Start Pictures, Communicado, Juice TV, and AAV New Zealand. She is also the vice president of the NZ Techo’s Guild.

Tui Ruwhiu Board Member

As Executive Director of Directors & Editors Guild of NZ and an independent film producer, Tui has wide-ranging experience in many key film and television roles and over 25 years within the industry. He is also a board member of Ngā Aho Whakaari Māori in Film & Television.

Marg Slater Board Member

Marg is an experienced freelance producer with extensive experience in commercial, short films, features and has recently been involved with transmedia projects. She has been a board member for several years, and also is a trustee of the NZ Dance Advancement Trust (The New Zealand Dance Company).

Alice Shearman Board Member

Alice is the Executive Director of the New Zealand Writers Guild (NZWG). With over 18 years’ experience in the film and television industry, starting at Film Equipment Company (FEC) in Wellington. Previously Alice was the Deputy Chairperson of the Actors Agent's Association of New Zealand (AAANZ) while she was a Screen & Literary Agent for over 9 years.

History

Film Auckland Inc began in 2003 as an industry initiative to promote the Auckland region as an attractive filming destination, as well as to support opportunities for local industry. FAI supported and facilitated the development of the Auckland Film Studios located in Henderson.

In late 2010, Auckland City Council developed a specialist screen focused team under the umbrella of Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development Ltd (ATEED). FAI agreed to allow ATEED to use the branding Film Auckland for this team and FAI acted as an advisory screen industry board to ATEED.

More recently, the screen industry in New Zealand faced a downturn as our screen incentive scheme was less attractive due to increasing competition worldwide for screen productions. In late 2013, FAI facilitated an emergency Screen Industry Forum - a state-of-the-nation meeting of more than 400 industry practitioners and businesses on the rapid decline of the film industry due to the government’s refusal to offer attractive tax incentives for big overseas productions. The cry was heard, and within a month Prime Minister John Key had announced a rise to 20% rebate on international production, and a further 5% for productions that met criteria that would specifically benefit local industry.  This confirmed the importance of FAI as the pan-screen industry voice.

In 2014, both FAI and ATEED agreed to further rebrand with the specialist office being known as Screen Auckland, whilst FAI regained the use of Film Auckland Inc.

Screen Auckland looks after the promotion of the Auckland region as a destination to both local and foreign productions, as well as being tasked with the day-to-day business of facilitation and permitting on public land.