Where are things at with the Screen Sector Strategy?

  • The Screen Sector Strategy is currently available to the industry for feedback. So far we have received more than 65 responses through the survey which is fantastic. 
  • We are keen that everyone in the industry – and especially those who had input into the strategy through hui, workshops and submissions in 2019 – has a chance to see and to provide feedback on the strategy.
  • We are extending the feedback period to at the earliest May 8 to give people more time to consider and respond.

Why are we developing a Screen Sector Strategy?

  • The Prime Minister on behalf of the Government called for the creation of a 10-year strategy for the New Zealand Screen Industry.
  • It was intended this strategy process be led by the industry and developed during 2019 and early 2020.
  • This is a unique opportunity – according to one of the international people involved in the process – it may be the only time that a Prime Minister has called on the screen industry in a country to bring them a strategy!
  • It’s an opportunity not to be missed. It is more important than ever that the sector has a long-term, high-level strategic framework for its recovery and growth and a more immediate pragmatic plan for the next three years,

What kind of document is the strategy?

  • It is important to note that this is a high-level strategy (framework) and not a research report nor is it a detailed action plan. This is different to some past evaluations or assessments of the New Zealand screen sector.
  • The approach of developing a strategic framework will allow the industry to inform and be involved in the development of detailed implementation activity as it evolves (and especially once the initial impact of COVID-19 passes through and the industry is in recovery mode).
  • It can also be updated each year to reflect the always changing priorities, needs and opportunities.

Speaking of COVID-19, is the strategy still relevant?

  • Yes – and perhaps more so. The release of the draft Screen Sector Strategy 2030 for industry feedback coincides with the huge impacts on our industry from COVID-19.
  • In response to this unprecedented crisis, a screen sector COVID-19 action group was established to coordinate the industry’s response. This group includes many key screen industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders. You can find out more about the group at https://www.screenindustrynz.co.nz/ This group will focus on the industry’s needs and actions over the next six months (e.g. before the initiatives in the strategy start to be implemented)
  • The industry will need a plan to rebuild itself, over time, once the initial COVID-19 crisis is over and New Zealand and the world adjust to the new normal.
  • Given the feedback opportunity currently open it is timely to examine whether all the content in the strategy is still relevant; and whether the priorities are still appropriate. For example, do we urgently need capability development to be a focus (as was the feedback from hui etc) or should that focus now be on saving the jobs already in the sector?
  • Other sections in the strategy document, which had an emphasis on growth, may now need to be edited or removed given the screen sector’s current crisis and its likely ongoing impacts.
  • It is also vital to remember that this strategy is a living framework – it can and almost certainly will change over time – especially as the 10 initiatives move towards implementation.

 Who led it and developed this strategy?

  • A facilitation group made up of a cross section of industry groups and individuals came together to engage with the whole industry and to guide the development of the strategy. 
  • This group was chaired by Linda Clark who was succeeded by Miriam Dean.
  • The government has been involved in, funded and supported the process from the outset, including through feedback on earlier drafts, and regular dialogue. People from a number of agencies and Ministries attended last year’s hui. The Ministries have been clear, however, as has the Prime Minister, that this be a sector- led strategy.
  • The final strategy will be delivered to Government once all feedback has been considered and factored into the strategy.

Who did you consult and what feedback did you have to create this strategy? 

  • Consultation with the sector happened between July and December 2019 with eight public hui around the country, involving nearly 500 people. The hui were supplemented by written submissions, many interviews and focus group discussions.
  • Every opportunity was given for the sector to have its say. Feedback from this extensive engagement process was summarised and distilled into broad themes that emerged from this process and, subsequently, into the drafting of the strategy. The focus groups provided an opportunity to drill down into the themes and consider actions and initiatives.  

What are the main elements of the strategy?

  • The Facilitation Group developed a 10-year framework and a three-year plan. The three-year plan includes 10 initiatives.
  • Many parts of this framework and plan were directly suggested by the sector. Other parts drew on best practice from other places (locally and internationally), appropriately adapted to suit the New Zealand context.
  • It should be noted that this is intended to be a living framework – that will be revisited and updated regularly as the needs of and opportunities for the industry change over the coming decade. The benefit of any long-term strategy – as so many other sectors have – is to set the broad vision, purpose, goals and outcomes and then a work plan (initiatives) to start achieving these.
  • The fact this sector has not had this is exactly why the Prime Minister asked for a long-term strategy from the sector she is responsible for as Minister of Arts, Heritage and Culture.
  • Each business and even sub-sectors within the screen sector will have their own specific strategies but it is important that the sector, as a whole, has one to achieve its wider collective objectives and longer-term opportunities.   

Why is there a proposal for a new industry organisation?

  • The call for an umbrella organisation that represented the whole of the screen industry was a clear message that came through from the hui, workshops and in submissions. It was in fact one of the clearest themes that emerged: that the sector lacked a unifying voice to represent, and advocate on its behalf.
  • Even though the screen industry is well served by Guilds and other organisations such as film offices, it may be the largest industry in New Zealand that does not have a single, unified pan sector body that can speak with one voice, and advocate for the industry at a national level.  
  • Such an organisation could work with the Guilds and other sector organisations and businesses to provide the focused and unified voice for industry. This level of coordination, communication and collaboration does not currently exist within the screen sector so is not a new layer of administration so much as it is an umbrella to bring together all the strands of the sector.
  • The current economic crisis has seen many of these industry organisations designated by Government as the representative organisation they are dealing with on Covid-19 related matters. These other organisations have had the benefit of one voice and an ability to galvanise their members quickly to lobby for their interests.
  • The Covid-19 screen sector action group is an example of how the industry, working in a unified way, can have a coordinating role within the sector and with organisations outside the sector but it should not take a crisis to bring such a group together.
  • Naturally, the industry will have a say in the structure and function of any new organisation if / when it is established and what is the right timing for that given the current focus on saving jobs, projects and businesses.

What happens now?

  • You have an opportunity to provide your feedback up until May 8. Following feedback from the wider industry, the strategy will be reviewed, and any changes incorporated for consideration by the facilitation group.
  • Once finalised (mid to late May), the strategy framework will then be finalised and launched to industry, stakeholders and the Government, with a view to moving into implementation of some of the priority initiatives in the second half of 2020.

Won’t this strategy cut across the urgent requests to Government for emergency / extra funding for impacted screen projects and urgent help?

  • No – we will make sure that cannot happen. This strategy will not be lodged with Government until after those urgent requests have been actioned.
  • We understand requests are being considered by MCH, NZFC and NZOA at the moment. These will likely form part of the Government’s response in the May budget (now being seen as a recovery budget).
  • The Screen Sector Strategy will not get in the way of any of those requests. But we do expect the Prime Minister will want, as she requested, a strategy for the longer term before the election.

Why don’t we park the strategy and put it back to next year given the impacts of Covid-19?

  • As the development of the Screen Sector Strategy was requested by the Prime Minister and funded in part by Government, there is an expectation it will be delivered this parliamentary term (e.g. before the next election).
  • It was originally scheduled to be delivered by the end of March. However, given a range of issues and most recently – the impact of Covid-19, we have agreed a later delivery date to allow more time for feedback and review.
  • MCH has also signalled that this strategy will be considered alongside other streams of work (e.g. the Interactive Aotearoa strategy) as part of the creative and recreation sectors’ Industry Transformation Programme, which is due to go into action after the May budget.
  • Putting the strategy back a year simply isn’t an option.  Now more than ever the industry needs to demonstrate alignment and future thinking.
  • The strategy framework remains relevant. It is necessarily broad to encompass short and long-term objectives. As many who have given feedback have already said many of the three-year initiatives are more important than ever (e.g. looking at studio infrastructure, encouraging more local IP development). Others, such as boosting capability, may need to be adapted and are less of a priority in the current environment.
  • That’s why industry feedback is so critical at this juncture – we genuinely want to hear from as many as possible as well as any suggested changes.

Who’s in the Facilitation Group

In order to progress the development of the screen sector strategy a facilitation group was established. The purpose of the facilitation group is to support the screen sector engagement process and to be a conduit for bringing the sector’s many voices into the strategy.  While many of those in the group lead, or represent,  specific groups and guilds, their role within the facilitation group is to have a wider focus: to champion the development of the strategy , and ensure an inclusive engagement process. 

FACILITATION GROUP MEMBERS ARE:

  • Chair – Miriam Dean CNZM QC
  • Project Manager – Janette Searle

MEMBERS:

  • Miranda Harcourt ONZM – wide links across the screen sector nationally and internationally
  • Cliff Curtis – wide links across the screen sector nationally and internationally
  • Michael Duignan – Directors and NZ screen sector.
  • Melissa Ansell-Bridges – Actors, and the NZ screen sector (Replaced by Denise Roche)
  • Kevin ‘KJ’ Jennings – South Island screen sector
  • Rachel Antony – Women in the screen sector, television and beyond.
  • Grant Baker – technicians, post production and beyond.
  • Felicity Letcher – Auckland screen sector and beyond.
  • Alice Shearman – Writers, and the NZ screen sector
  • Erina Tamepo – Maori screen production (Replaced by Hineani Melbourne)
  • Sioux Macdonald – Technicians and the broader NZ screen sector
  • Richard Fletcher – Producers, Directors and the screen sector NZ and internationally (Replace by Sandy Gildea)
  • Tanea Heke – Maori screen production, young people, education
  • David Wilks – Post production, Screen Sector in general in NZ and internationally
  • Chye-Ling Huang – young screen sector professional.

What’s been involved in the engagement process?

We’ve had 8 public hui around the country that have reached over 500 people.

Around 80 written submissions from groups and individuals. The group submissions provided and opportunity for thousands of people to provide a collective voice.

We’ve had focus groups or kitchen table talks (which are a little more informal) with specific groups such as:

  • Young Screen Professionals (age 25 – 35)
  • Education Providers
  • Pan Asian Screen Collective
  • Young Maori and Pacific Screen Professionals.
  • Funders
  • etc

We’ve had around 30 interviews with individuals from the sector who are incredibly experienced and have great knowledge and insights into the sector.

And we’ve been working with Olsberg SPI, and international screen consultant company who work with governments and screen companies and organisations around the globe on strategy, planning and implementation. They have provided international research and best practice, and have been involved in the distillation process of getting all of the feedback into a strategy document.


What have the sector said is important to include in the Strategy?

The sector have been collectively saying very much the same thing. That there are key areas they believe need to change in order to make the most of the opportunity we have as a sector working in a global market. Some of the themes that have emerged include:

  • Building capability of all those in the sector – e.g. producers and their ability to open, manage and close a deal at international level, develop a strong pipeline of talent into and through the sector, etc.
  • Build strong businesses in the sector.
  • Ensure studio infrastructure is developed with a co-ordinated, national, approach.
  • Review the funding and policy structures to ensure they are fit for purpose.
  • Increase representation and diversity of stories and story tellers so that there is a better reflection of Aotearoa.
  • Better collaboration with each other in the sector, and with those outside (government, other sectors, internationals)
  • Find new investment and funding sources.
  • A pan sector body to provide a united voice for the sector …..
  • etc.

Note: This isn’t all of the themes – just a taster of the kinds of things that people have been saying through the engagement process.


What is the COVID-19 Action Group?  And what are they doing?

This pan-sector team comprises many key screen industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders.  (https://www.screenindustrynz.co.nz/about-us)

Over the last three weeks the group have identified priorities for that short, medium and long term.

  • The short term involves dealing with the urgent present and supporting the sector through the rapid changes that have occurred and impacted heavily on the sector and its workforce. 
  • The medium term priorities look toward a return to work and what will be required to ensure the sector and its workforce are ready, and can return to work quickly and effectively.
  • The long term priorities focus on what the ‘new normal’ might look like, preparing the sector and its workforce for the changes that will have a long term impact, and ensuring the sector is able to utilise any of the benefits the current  shift of focus provides – e.g. building capabilities etc.

The end goal is supporting and protecting our workforce so we may be first in the world to get through the crisis and ‘return to sector’, creating and distributing world class content again. (https://mailchi.mp/28880c7eaa50/media-releasenz-screen-industry-announces-covid-19-pan-sector-response-4837941?e=3824d76dbb