SEFTMS July News Round-Up

July is a very busy month here at VUW, marking the end of one trimester and the start of another. Alas, despite their busy schedules, our SEFTMS educators, students and alumni have continued to make headlines and influence the world around us.Now that the pace of the trimester is back to “normal”, we'd like to take a moment to highlight some of July’s news in a round-up post.

News Roundup


Theatre's Dr James McKinnon receives Staff Excellence Award

James McKinnon receiving a Staff Excellence AwardHosted by Tertiary Education Minister Hon Paul Goldsmith, the annual Staff Excellence Awards acknowledge staff who have shown a commitment to excellence in research, teaching and public engagement. James was one of three recipients in the Teaching Excellence category.

Theatre Teaching Fellow, Kerryn Palmer wins Arts Access Aotearoa Award

Kerryn PalmerThe award was presented at parliament on 4 July in a ceremony hosted by the Hon Nicky Wagner, Minister for Disability Issues. It honours Kerryn’s work in the Bedtime Stories Programme at Arohata Prison, which assists women prisoners to record bedtime stories to post to their children. Kerryn’s sound technicians on the project, Tony Black and Ryan Knighton, are also graduates of VUW Theatre programme.


Miramar Creative Centre Opening

Miramar Creative CentreWe are excited to announce the opening of the Miramar Creative Centre at 133 Park Road!  Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) students from Film and Music will join Master of Design Technology students at the Centre from trimester 3 this year. This new state-of-the art facility has been developed in collaboration with Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, Park Road Post Production and Miramar Creative Ltd.  It includes a green screen, studio spaces, recording and editing suites, computer labs, motion capture technology, and a workshop.

Special thanks to everyone in SEFTMS involved in setting up this new venture. In particular, our Film Technician Bernard Blackburn who has spent many long hours installing equipment and getting the film studios, recording and editing suites ready for occupancy.


MFA students intern in Eternity Opera Company’s "The Marriage of Figaro"

Marriage of FigaroThe students have gained valuable hands-on experience in the internships arranged by the opera’s director and VUW Film Teaching Fellow, Alex Galvin.

“Last year I had the great experience of directing my first opera, Mozart's "Don Giovanni” with Eternity Opera Company. The production was a great success with audiences and critics and I am really excited to be now directing another Mozart classic in August!” says Alex.

“From a Victoria perspective there are a lot of connections with this production. I am directing, and we have a number of MFA students involved with intern roles of set design, set construction, art direction, wardrobe, assistant directing and assistant stage manager. There are also a large number of Victoria Music singing graduates and students involved”.

Eternity Opera will be staging "The Marriage of Figaro" in a brand new production from August 5-12 at the Hannah Playhouse in Wellington. 

World premiere of What Lies That Way

What Lies That WayPaul Wolffram's documentary "What Lies That Way" premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival in Wellington on August 1st at Te Papa's Soundings Theatre and on the 8th at Paramount Cinema. Paul was in attendance for a Q+A following both screenings.

The question of social media and privacy – what are you entitled to?

Kathleen Kuehn on The AM ShowNew Zealanders want broadcasters to ask permission before using their social media content, finds a research report commissioned by the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Media Studies lecturer Dr Kathleen Kuehn served as a principle investigator on the study and appeared on The AM Show with Duncan Garner to discuss its findings.

Film in the Colony

Screen still from The Te Kooti TrailDr Minette Hillyer and AProf Jo Smith from Media Studies co-convened the Film in the Colony symposium with Annabel Cooper (Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, University of Otago), Diane Pivac, and Honiana Love (Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision) at Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision 12-15 July.

This symposium on the cinema of the colonies, aimed to showcase how indigenous people made their mark on the early decades of film.

Harry Ricketts reviews “The New Zealand Poetry Year Book” on RNZ’s Nine to Noon

Prof Harry RickettsPoetry lover and English Literature Professor, Harry Ricketts gives his on-air review of the book, published by Massey University Press.


Rookie of the Year award for MFA student

Rookie of the Year runner up award recipient Jessica HillWe would like to congratulate Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) student and aspiring filmmaker Jessica Hill for winning the runner up prize in the Film Production category of the international The Rookies awards for work she created at Victoria during her Bachelor’s degree. Jessica's win was recently featured in a VUW news article.

English Literature graduate promotes independent music, arts and culture between China and Aotearoa with "Kiwese"

Kristin NgKristen Ng is a VUW graduate born and raised in Wellington with Chinese ancestry.  She moved to Beijing as a language student in 2013, and is now based in Chengdu as a writer and musician. Janie Cameron of Debate Magazine interviewed Kristen about her work with Kiwese, through which she shares her experience and insights on cultural identity.


PNG deserves a closer look from NZ

Member of the Lak Tribe, Papua New GuineaWhy are New Zealanders more interested in Donald Trump’s latest tweet than the outcome of the national election of one of our largest Pacific neighbours?

Film Lecturer Paul Wolffram discusses why Papua New Guinea deserves more attention from NZ in a Newsroom article published 25 July.

Initiation into a shaman cult

Paul WofframFilm Lecturer Paul Wolffram recently interviewed with Kim Hill at RNZ on becoming a shaman in his newest film "What Lies That Way", which is screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

New Zealand migrants, polymedia and the ambivalences of staying in touch

Australia and New Zealand on the globeDr Joost de Bruin from Media Studies explores how New Zealand migrants in Australia navigate and draw upon a polymedia environment to provide a positive sense of belonging in a new article published this week in Convergence.