Associate Professor of Screen Production, Arezou Zalipour, says the New Zealand Film Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy policy is like a dream come true, and will make a significant difference to the stories told by New Zealand’s film makers.
Zalipour has been researching migrant and disaporic film-making, and over the last decade has noticed an improvement in the diversity of people both in front of and behind the cameras of New Zealand’s film industry. However, she says, it needs to go further, and so the launch of the Strategy is a great step forward.
“It’s been my privilege to be part of the Industry Leadership Group which developed the strategy, working with the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) staff and a great group of experienced, creative industry practitioners including actors, writers, producers, directors and others.
“I believe the launch of this strategy means the day of reckoning has finally arrived. It shows a clear commitment to valuing the transformative power of what makes us a truly diverse industry and investing in our collective creative power.
“It marks a really important step forward for the Aotearoa screen sector as well as NZFC as an organisation. The D&I strategy clearly states NZFC’s clear commitment to work toward inclusive representation and equity in the screen sector. I believe this is the beginning of an industry-wide long-term set of actions and changes that will fundamentally affect the future of NZ screen sector, the types of films, practices, talents and stories that will emerge.
“There is still a need for more concentrated efforts around D&I for people working in the industry and also for audiences to recognise the value films can bring to society. I call upon commitment to diversity from Aotearoa screen sector, particularly those from ‘underrepresented groups’ that now is the time to use the power of film to make social change. I believe it is crucial to understand particularly now that we need to have films where audiences can engage with and encounter the realities of living in NZ’s diverse society and culture.
“Film can challenge people’s imaginations, perceptions and beliefs, and NZ imagination needs that challenge.”