News / Events

Exciting Line-Up for Upcoming SPADA Conference


Acclaimed actor and producer CLIFF CURTIS (Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Rongomai)) 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.

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.

Heading our panel THE RISE AND RISE OF INDIGENOUS STORYTELLING on Thursday is acclaimed 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 Obeyed.  Glynn was the recipient of the 2017 David and Joan Williams Documentary Fellowship.    

Joining Erica on the panel will be producer/director and Maoriland Film Festival Director, LIBBY HAKARAIA (Hautoa Mai: The Rise of Maori Cinema, It’s in the Bag)  KERRY WARKIA, producer and co-founder (with Kiel McNaughton) of BSAG Productions (Waru, Vai, Find Me a Maori Bride & 2017 SPADA Independent Producer of the Year).  Moderating this session on Thursday morning will be Dr Ruth Harley.

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Included in our all-star award winning panel for Friday's music session THE EMOTIONAL POWER OF MUSIC IN FILM is Grammy award winning producer Mickey Petralias, music supervisor Karyn Rachtman, composer and music editor Stephen Gallagher, musician/critic Simon Morris and composer and session moderator Andrew Hagen.   Mickey is best known in New Zealand for his work with The Flight of the Conchords in which he produces and mixes all of the music for the screen and record. In addition, he produced Bret MacKenzie’s Academy Award-winning song “Man or A Muppet” as well as all the music for both the films: The Muppets and The Muppets Most Wanted. He has produced and/or mixed for artists such as Beck, Peaches and Linkin Park.   Karyn is an entertainment industry entrepreneur best known as an acclaimed music supervisor.  Rachtman is also an award-winning film producer and creator of HIP KID HOP, a New York Times best-selling line of “read-and-rap-along” children’s books. Throughout her career, Karyn collaborated with filmmakers such as Baz Luhrmann, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Warren Beatty on some of the most beloved soundtracks of all time, earning her a reputation as one of the most significant music supervisors in the film industry.  Both Petralias and Rachtman are in town working on David Stubbs' feature musical DAFFODILS.  

Stephen Gallagher is an award winning composer and music editor.  He wrote the song ‘Blunt the Knives’ for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’. He has worked on projects with Peter Jackson, Brian Eno, Ed Sheeran, Nick Cave and Junkie XL.  His FF credits include Music Editor for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’, ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, (for which he also composed additional source music; ‘Blunt The Knives’ and ‘The Torture Song’), Music Editor for Neill Blomkamp’s ‘District 9’, Supervising Music Editor for Amy Berg’s ‘West Of Memphis’ and Supervising Music, Editor for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lovely Bones’ for which he composed additional music to accompany Brian Eno’s original score. Stephen was nominated for an Apra Silver Scroll Award for his score to Nic Gorman’s feature film ‘Human Traces’ in 2018.

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Also billing on Friday the 16th of November is NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan and Australian filmmakers Sam Jennings and Kristina Ceyton from Causeway Films. Causeway’s first feature film, award-winning psychological thriller The Babadook by writer/director Jennifer Kent and starring Essie Davis (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Game of Thrones), premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014 to great critical acclaim and phenomenal international sales.

Recently released is the post-apocalyptic thriller Cargo starring Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Fargo, The Hobbit); and Jennifer Kent’s second feature The Nightingale starring Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin which screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Other SPADA 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.  More speaker announcements and the full programme to be released shortly.

See you Next Week!  
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The 26th SPADA Conference is produced with the support of its Principal Sponsor the NZFC, Strategic Partner 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.