Category Archives: Waikato

Finding an audience for New Zealand films

As Producer of Marketing and Distribution for the feature film Penny Black (filming July 2012 in New Zealand) I’ve been spending a lot of time researching different ways to find and engage with our audience. I’ve been very encouraged seeing what other creative and innovative film projects are attempting, eg. The Tunnel, who sold frames of their film for $1 to raise their budget then allowed their film to be torrented freely on completion, and El Cosmonauta‘s forward thinking and transparent business model which involves crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, and really cool t-shirts (I own one). Of course there have been disheartening moments, like when I realised that Hollywood studios are using the same techniques as Indie filmmakers, but with every indie distribution success I am filled with hope for the rest of us. If one succeeds, we all succeed.

Achieving traditional distribution is increasingly difficult for independent film, especially anything made outside of the USA, as demonstrated by Taika Waititi’s amazing film Boy. Finding and engage with the people who are really passionate about the idea of your film is a good start. Whether they know you personally, or they live where the film is being made, or they are interested in the topic or genre of your film, these are the people who will encourage their friends to come to a screening, or loan them their autographed DVD.

I’m a big fan of crowdfunding, raising all or part of your budget before you make your film, often by ‘selling’ unique items (t-shirts, signed DVDs, stickers…) or experiences (a roll as an extra, name in the credits, tickets to the premiere screening) on sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or the New Zealand site Pledgeme. The financial help is great, but to receive your supporters votes of confidence in your project is invaluable.

As our film, Penny Black, progresses I will share what I learn and attempt here. I believe there is room for many more independent films to achieve success than is currently the case, and that by working together we will eventually construct a model that will help filmmakers achieve this goal.

Also, I wanted to pass on this link to a free ebook called Engagement from Scratch. I’ve gleaned a few ideas of how to build an audience, and within it are links to other social media gurus.

Cheers, Fiona


Shepherd – Zorp Films

Over the next few months Julia Reynolds will be directing a Sci-fi feature film shot entirely within the Waikato, utilizing locations such as the Waitomo caves, West Coast beaches, and a set created in the Old Matangi Dairy Factory.

Written by Julia and her sister, Wendy Cook, Shepherd is the story of a family who experience a space anomaly on their return from Mars and find themselves back on a much different Earth than the one they expected. The top half of the planet has been obliterated by war, and the Southern Hemisphere is ruled by one unified government which has outlawed diversity and religion in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the Northern Hemisphere’s war. Shepherd follows the story of Zane Karsten who gets caught up with a group of people who believe that bans on spiritual expression, cultural diversity and freedom of choice steals the essence of being human.

Shepherd are crowdsourcing a lot of resources through facebook and thinking of creative ways of funding the film including auctioning an acre of land on Mars and raffling a romantic evening for two (or three) including accommodation on the bunks of their spaceship set, space bubbles and space food.

Studio: Zorp Films

Release date: TBA

Produced by: Julia Reynolds, Renee Casserly, Wendy Cook

Contact Information: Renee Casserly, or 021 322-407!/shepherdfilm