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Cliff Curtis calls for women, Māori leadership in NZ film industry

Dec 09, 2018

Top New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis has called for the film industry to put more women in charge.

Curtis today said he would like to see more women employed in key positions by film and television companies.

He said the industry could initiate change by promoting women and backing decisions they made.

"Give [women] a shot, take a risk. It's time for women to step up... not just partnership, I'm saying leadership.

"Don't employ them, don't give them a job - ask them to lead, resource it. Use your resources and your connections and your power to allow a woman to lead."

Curtis also urged the film industry to make Māori equal partners in films, not just employees.

He said he formed Whenua Films with directors, Taika Waititi and Ainsley Gardiner, because the Māori film industry was going through a pretty rough time.

"Māori content could not get through the funding agencies, could not get through the broadcasters, could not get through the distributors unless we had somebody above us, and literally speaking we looked above us [and] there weren't any Māori. We were it.

"If you have Māori content that you are exploring, and you are exploiting ... whether it be a character or whether it be an aspect of your content, then partner with Māori.

"Don't give them a bloody job, make them partners - full-fledged partners."

Curtis was speaking at the annual Screen Production and Development Association conference in Wellington today.

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