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Acclaimed actor and producer CLIFF CURTIS (Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Rongomai)) will launch the 26th Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) Conference in Wellington on November 15.

Cliff Curtis will deliver the opening NZ On Air John O’Shea Memorial Address for the two-day event, speaking to this year’s theme ‘The Power of Emotion’.  Curtis’s credits include The Meg, Fear the Walking Dead, Dark Horse, Whale Rider and Training Day, as well as his upcoming role as Tonowari in all four Avatar films, to be rolled out after 2020.  Curtis also recently executive produced the documentary of his mentor Merata Mita - Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen (Producer Chelsea Winstanley, Director Heperi Mita).  In 1988 Merata was the first Māori woman to write and direct a narrative feature — Mauri.

SPADA Executive Director Sandy Gildea says the organisation is thrilled to have Cliff Curtis join the stellar line-up of local and international guests.   “The NZ On Air John O’Shea Memorial Address is a platform for thought provoking and insightful commentary. We are thrilled to have such a leading-light in the industry open the conference.”

LA-based Australian Producer EDEN GAHA, of the newly launched Mother Media Group, also joins the Conference line-up.  After leaving Endemol Shine NA last year, Gaha and business partner Wynn Rees established Mother Media Group and signed a first-look deal with STXtv.  Mother Media Group will collaborate with STXtv to create, produce and distribute unscripted and hybrid series for broadcast networks, new media and cable in the U.S., China, India and other international markets. 

As former head of unscripted at Endemol Shine North America, Gaha executive produced many of the company’s top unscripted series, including MasterChef and MasterChef Junior (Fox), The Biggest Loser(NBC), Restaurant Startupand Billion Dollar Buyer(CNBC), and Hunted (CBS).  Before that, he worked at Mark Burnett Productions, serving as producer on Celebrity Apprentice, The Contender, Pirate Master, Rock Star, and the long-running CBS series Survivor, for which he was nominated for two Primetime Emmy awards.

Other international speakers include award winning Indigenous writer-director ERICA GLYNN (award-winning short film My Bed, Your Bed, EP on ABC TV series Redfern Now, Gods of Wheat Street, and 8MMM Aboriginal Radio: W/D In My Own Words, Truth Be Told and She Who Must Be Loved.)  Glynn was Head of the Indigenous Department of Screen Australia from 2010 to 2014 and was Executive Producer of the award winning ABC TV series Redfern Now, Gods of Wheat Street, and 8MMM Aboriginal Radio.

Glynn’s most recent work includes writing for Little J and Big Cuz, a children’s animation series, directing Black Comedy, and writing and directing the documentaries In My Own Words, Truth Be Told, and She Who Must Be Loved.  Glynn was the recipient of the 2017 David and Joan Williams Documentary Fellowship. 

Other Conference highlights include the annual SPADA Screen Industry Awards, South Pacific Pictures’ Big Pitch competition, The Great Screenrights’ Lunch, and the NZFC 40th Anniversary Cocktail function on the opening night.   

“The suite of events held during the SPADA Conference are unique, particularly the SPADA Screen Industry Awards, which provide a rare opportunity for our industry to honour long-standing industry champions as well as shine a light on emerging talent,” says Ms Gildea.

The 26th SPADA Conference is produced with the support of Principal Sponsor NZFC, strategic partners WREDA; Key sponsors NZ On Air, Images and Sound, Screenrights, Park Road Post Production, and South Pacific Pictures; Sponsors and supporters Sura Film and Entertainment, Crombie Lockwood, Budget Rent a Car, Film Finances, BCD Travel, The Data Book, and Havana Coffee.

For further information visit or contact Sandy Gildea at