Cargo cults: Key moments in establishing screenwriting in the New Zealand Film Commission | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145



The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), a government-supported film industry funding agency founded in 1978, is directed ‘to encourage and also to participate and assist in the making, promotion, distribution and exhibition of films’. In the late 1980s the NZFC, in an attempt to capture a larger international audience for New Zealand-domiciled films, focused attention on screenwriting and screenplay development practices within the local industry. A rigorous training programme of seminar tours from Hollywood-industry script consultants, including seminars from Robert McKee and Linda Seger, followed. This article surveys key moments in this training process, the uptake of McKee and Seger’s screenplay analysis methods, and discusses the effects of these targeted initiatives on the screenwriting and development practices within the government-supported film industry through the late 1980s and early 1990s.


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