The statement below is an extract from the PIFT Annual Report 2016 – 2017 from PIFT Executive Director Aaron Taouma, delivered to the Annual General Meeting at Auckland Art Gallery on Saturday 18th November 2017.
Talofa lava and greetings,
PIFT has come a long way over the past year and a bit and it has been quite encouraging seeing all of the positive responses to the organisation and the eagerness by which some members are seeking to connect, collaborate and create.
We have to remember PIFT is quite young in the scheme of things and has had to build from the ground up, even though there has been much work done in the past and a well established network already (informally) in place.
Since our official incorporation meeting at the end of 2015 we have seen signups for PIFT increase by 193% to June 2017. This is a very encouraging indication of not only the interest in PIFT but also numbers of practitioners either coming into the industry or already working within it.
PIFT really kicked things off after July 2016 when with some thankful support from the NZ Film Commission we were able to allocate time to building the infrastructure of the organisation, locking in facilities and programmes.
As the Executive of the board I was responsible for setting up all of the background processes needed to ensure smooth running and administration of initiatives.
Our first mission was to run our ‘Strategic Training Programmes’ (covered in more detail in the Annual Report) and increase our presence both online and at events. This also included increasing our presence and working relationships with already established organisations such as Director’s and Editors Guild, Script to Screen and New Zealand Writers Guild.
Moving into 2017, we focused on keeping our newsletter/information portal up-to-date and relevant as well as the website and social media pages, as well as continuing to hold small meetings with practitioners, Film Comm and other organisations.
PIFT has been in support of several Script to Screen initiatives and in particular the recent South Auckland Shorts Workshop and followup mentoring programme. We also again supported several practitioner scholarships to attend the 2017 Big Screen Symposium, as we had also done in 2016.
We’ve been excited at the establishment and growth of our Wellington Region Networking Group run by PIFT Wellington Rep Mishelle Muagututi’a, who is also in charge of the Siapo Cinema Programme run by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, which PIFT also supported this year. The networking group had its first proper get-together in October and is due for another in December. We hope this will be the beginning of many more and hopefully bloom some collaborations and projects not to mention a friendship or two.
I have had several closed meetings with individuals and organisations in inquiry or committed capacity building functions and strategies. Some of these have surfaced as programmes detached from PIFT but its been great to see them come to light none the less.
Over the past year, we have had opportunity to support a number of film festivals. This support ranges from just info sharing through social media, our website and newsletter; to actual active involvement in organising, sponsoring and attending. In particular, PIFT sponsored a new film award called the PIFT Mana Pacific Award, which is an award given for services to Pasifika film arts in Aotearoa. We had the pleasure to award this to Craig Fasi, the founder and curator of Pollywood Pasifika Film, who has tirelessly and with little funded support delivered this community film fest over the past fifteen-years. Craig was presented with a taonga designed by senior Pacific artist John Ioane (Ioane Ioane) at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival Awards Night in June.
Recently, I have been involved in two closed multi-guild/multi-organisation groups in which I was able to speak on behalf of PIFT in regards to current and pressing issues in the industry.
One of these groups has turned over the idea of an industry wide ‘Code of Ethics’.
There will be more about this as we will be seeking feedback on the idea. We hope you may have your say.
I have enjoyed the variability of activity we have been involved in since our kick-off but I have been well aware there is so much more we can do.
I hope in the coming year or two we may be able to develop more programmes and network activity in which our practitioner community may thrive and create.
Here’s looking forward to 2018…
Aaron Talavou Taouma