A table with wacky decor set up for the filmmakers of Unesco Diverse Voices.

‘Diverse Voices: Making Screen Work Different’ is a series of short documentaries. They uncover the innovation and creativity that exists but isn’t always widely recognised in our under-represented and diverse local filmmakers.

Interviews of local talent from different backgrounds cover diversity, innovation, and sustainability in Wellington’s film industry. Talent includes Laura Yilmaz, Oriwa Hakaraia, Casey Zilbert, Kathleen Winter, Jade Jackson, and Aditya B. Parige.

Pachali Brewster produced and directed the series, with help from facilitators and Victoria University of Wellington’s Missy Molloy and Raqi Syed. Projects like this help to elevate the visual storytellers of Wellington and bring an array of cultural experiences to the people of Wellington.

It’s all part of the Wellington UNESCO City of Film strategy. Coming together to develop programmes and opportunities that inspire our filmmakers and screen creatives of tomorrow.

And that comes off the back of earning the prestigious title as a UNESCO City of Film in 2019. Wellington joined 245 other cities around the globe in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. It recognises cities for excellence in their fields for nurturing creativity and fostering international collaboration.

Meet the Diverse Voices crew

Head and shoulders shot of Pachali Brewster, their hair hangs down around their neck, they wear a black top and black-framed glasses.

Pachali Brewster


Pachali has produced, written, and directed uproarious and unconventional indie content for the stage, screen, and internet for the past 16 years. Proudly queer and Thai/Pākehā, she specialises in producing risqué comedies, satire, and genre-bending content. On the side, Pachali finds deep fulfilment in building creative communities and empowering women and emerging artists.

“I leapt onto this project because there’s nothing I don’t like about meeting awesome people, gathering a talented crew, collaborating on cool production design, having deep and meaningful conversations, and speaking truth to power.”

Find out more about Pachali Brewster

Ben Dickens portrait.

Ben Dickens


Wellington-based Ben has felt his local film knowledge and appreciation have grown extensively from meeting and collaborating with those associated with the Diverse Voices project.

Ben’s background and passion is rooted in documentary and music. In 2020 he released ‘A Living Culture’, a short documentary about sustainable fashion design in India. It has since featured in nine film festivals and won him Best Cinematographer for Short Documentary at the Bettiah International Film Festival 2021. His 20-minute documentary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade about Tokelau’s response to climate change was featured at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP25. He’s worked with bands like Fat Freddy’s Drop, L.A.B, The Phoenix Foundation, Rhombus, and Dallas Tamaira.

Raqi Syed seated at a table talking with another person.

Raqi Syed

Writer, visual effects designer and researcher

Raqi helps elevate the voices of technical artists so the material is more integrated into the design and ideation of the story. As she says, technical art — computer graphics, visual effects, digital animation, and immersive technologies — has become an integral part of the screen sector.

Raqi began her career in animation as a lighting artist for Disney on films like ‘Meet the Robinsons’ and ‘Tangled’. She then worked at Wētā Digital on films like ‘Avatar’, ‘The Planet of the Apes’, and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy.

In 2020 Raqi co-directed ‘Minimum Mass’ with Areito Echevarria, an interactive narrative experience for virtual reality. The experience played at Tribeca, Cannes, and the Venice International Film Festivals. It also won the 2020 Annecy International Animation Film Festival Crystal Award for ‘Best VR’, and the ‘VR Award’ at ANIDOX Denmark.

Missy Molloy talking with another filmmaker at the UNESCO Diverse Voices project.

Missy Molloy

Film Programme Director at Te Herenga Waka

Missy, who has more than a decade of experience teaching women’s, queer and alternative cinemas, is well aware that film influences culture.

“The fact that it has historically been one of the most exclusive mediums of artistic expression is a major social problem…

“Promoting diversity is high on the film culture agenda at present because it offers an opportunity to support and resource storytelling on-screen that better reflects the variety of human experience and perspective.”

Her book ‘Screening the Posthuman’ (co-authored with Pansy Duncan and Claire Henry) was published by Oxford University Press in May 2023.