There has been an increase in the value and appreciation of diverse perspectives in communities, and in storytelling. But there remains a lack of diversity in access to the industry and representation on screen.
Audiences have a continued demand for authentic storytelling that comes from lived experiences. Too often storytelling about diverse communities does not include input from people within them. This can perpetuate negative stereotypes and further reduce opportunities for underrepresented groups.
We need to ensure the next generation of screen creatives are as diverse as the communities they live in. We need to amplify diverse stories made for and by diverse communities.
Screen Wellington has a commitment to supporting and promoting screen projects and content that authentically includes or represents our diverse communities. Recent Kiwi films Rūrangi and Poppy exemplify this.
Rūrangi tells the story of transgender activist Caz Davis. Caz returns to the remote, politically divided dairy community of Rūrangi, hoping to reconnect with his estranged father. Poppy is about a young woman with Down Syndrome who refuses to let her disability define or limit her.
Poppy’s Wellington premiere was a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. This reflected the production’s focus on empowering young people with disabilities. It was a joy to play a small part in creating a true red-carpet gala event for all those attending.
For Rūrangi, we partnered with Victoria University Wellington to provide a special screening. The evening also hosted a discussion with filmmakers and writers Craig Gainsborough, Cole Meyers, and Tweedie Waititi. Green MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere opened the event. Organisers invited Wellington’s LGBTQI+ community groups to celebrate the occasion.