14 Apr 2024

Arts news: NZ in Italy, a screen crisis, new dance festivals & annual fests skip a year

From Culture 101, 3:05 pm on 14 April 2024


Eight Māori Aotearoa New Zealand artists feature in the central international exhibition at this year’s prestigious Venice Biennale, which opens next Saturday. 

This is the first year since 2000 in which New Zealand hasn’t had a pavilion but Creative New Zealand have committed to one again from 2026.

In addition another 6 New Zealand artists are showing in a parallel exhibition to the main biennale, Personal Structures at the European Cultural Center, through until November.

On next Sunday’s Culture 101 we’ll speak with Matariki Williams in Venice on the evening of the Biennale’s  opening day. Williams is one of two Māori curators who were selected this year as art of a Creative Australia programme to build international connections.

Eboni Waitere receiving the Best Children's Publishers of the Year, Oceania, at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy.

Eboni Waitere receiving the Best Children's Publishers of the Year, Oceania, at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. Photo: Supplied / Huia Publishers

Staying in Italy, this week Huia Publishers won the Bologna Prize for the best Children’s Publishers of the year, Oceania at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, one of the biggest book markets in the world.  

The annual Hawkes Bay Arts Festival has been postponed for this year, with organisers looking to regroup ahead of celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2025. Impacts on the festival leading to the decision have ranged from Covid to Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023. 

This follows the announcement that Splore Music Festival will take a year off next January 2025 in what they describe as a much expanded market at the same time as a cost of living crisis. Splore used to be every second year but went annual in 2014.

In news from the dance world. Footnote Dance Company and venue Te Auaha have partnered up in Pōneke Wellington to launch an inaugural Pōneke Festival of Contemporary Dance in July, to increase contemporary dance’s visibility.

They join Tāmaki Makaurau’s Tempo Dance Festival which has also just announced it will partner with New Zealand Dance Company as producers with artistic director Moss Patterson to curate. The Tempo festival is in October

Loading Docs has started its 10th season - with six documentaries set for production.

Audiences can now support specific projects and filmmakers through Boosted campaigns to help them reach - an all or nothing goal of $5000.

This minimum target will unlock further funding and support. Campaigns end on the 30th April and the documentaries will be free to watch later this year. 

Auckland Council has selected Kate van der Drift as a 2024 Artist in Residence.

She will take up her residency in Waitawa Regional Park, South east of Tāmaki Makaurau  later this year.

The programme has been running since 2008 and gives artists the chance to live and work in an Auckland regional park for eight weeks, while creating art to highlight the environment around them.

 Kate van der Drift’s work focuses on the ecological impact of humans on farmland and wetlands, using image, sound and video. 

The New Zealand Screen Producers Guild SPADA is calling for swift and decisive action from the Government.

It comes as the domestic screen industry they say faces a major crisis with the country’s two main networks - TVNZ and Three - making dramatic cutbacks in their local production spend due to falling advertising revenue. 

SPADA calculates around 50 million dollars will come out of the sector as a result of the cuts. 

SPADA says the impact of streamers has been devastating. They are calling for urgent regulation and say large multinationals need to contribute to the local production industry in some way. 

The guild is also asking the government to exempt funding agencies from planned across the board - 7.5% Ministry cuts, saying it will compound the problems. 

Award-winning New Zealand Italian filmmaker and co-founder of the Italian Film Festival Paolo Rotondo has been made a Knight - in Italy.

The endowment is akin to the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. 

Cavaliere Rotondo was given the title at an event at the Embassy of Italy held in recognition of his work in the arts and promotion of Italian culture and language.

It follows a successful year for the former Shortland Street Star - his latest short film Maunga Cassino, debuted in Italian festivals last year, winning an award.

In a world first, dialogue is entirely in Te Reo Māori and Italian. Set in the shadow of Monte Cassino, it is the story of the meeting between an Italian deserter and a soldier from the 28th Māori Battalion in World War II.