Session 9 – Dimensions of Difference: Filmmaking from a Māori World View (Christina MILLIGAN, Auckland University of Technology)

While the most obvious situations for film professionals working in multicultural contexts may be coproductions or globally dispersed productions, it can equally be the case that film professionals work across cultural borders within a single country.  The film production ecology of Aotearoa New Zealand is an industrial and creative space controlled almost solely by Pākehā (European New Zealanders or settlers). However, since the turn of the century, Māori (Indigenous) filmmakers have risen to increasing prominence. Māori filmmakers are becoming owners of the means of production and of the intellectual property generated when a film is made. Māori storytelling is no longer expected to confine itself to what the settler culture deems ‘Indigenous’ and the career of Taika Waititi is perhaps the most visible marker of this internationally.

However, this position has not been arrived at without a long struggle, reflecting the social and political conflicts of the late 20th Century as Māori demanded recognition of their rightful place as the Indigenous people of the land.  Story sovereignty, or Māori control over Māori stories, is the heart of enterprise for Māori filmmakers and implicit in this is how the story is made, that is, the process of filmmaking. This presentation examines the dimensions of difference in the practice of Māori film producers: their motivations, their styles of leadership and how they bring te ao Māori (the Māori way of being) into the day-to-day management of a film production. With non-Indigenous financiers and audiences to please, these producers walk simultaneously in two worlds, bringing their understanding of mainstream expectations together with their Indigenous ways of being, to realise film stories told from the Indigenous heart. Concepts such as tikanga (protocol), manaakitanga (respect for others), whanaungatanga (kinship) and mana (prestige, spiritual power) are elements of the daily practice of these producers, as they adapt the Western-originated model of the filmmaking process to their own ends.

This research project originated with the researcher’s own practice as an Indigenous screen producer and incorporates interviews with key Māori film producers as well as autoethnography and case study.  The theoretical underpinning is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s systems model of creativity, which provides a framework for locating the work of the film producer within its surrounding social and cultural contexts. Through critical exploration of the producer’s practice, the researcher has developed a revised version of Csikszentmihalyi’s model which incorporates and extends the original by connecting the elements of the systems model through the holistic framework of te ao Māori.

Discutantes : Cecilia Tirtaine (Nantes Université / CRINI) et Katalin Pór (Université Paris 8 / ESTCA)

Dr Christina Milligan is a researcher-practitioner and teacher of screenwriting and screen production at Auckland University of Technology. She is an award-winning producer of feature and television drama and documentaries, and her work reflects her Indigenous heritage as a member of the Ngāti Porou tribe of the Māori people.  She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Screenwriting and is the government-appointed chair of Te Puna Kairangi (Premium Production Fund), a fund designed to support high-end screen production as part of the NZ government’s response to the effects of Covid-19 on the screen industry.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). Implications of a systems perspective for the study of creativity.  In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 312-335). Cambridge University Press.

McIntyre, P., Fulton, J., & Paton, E. (Eds.) (2016). The Creative system in action: Understanding cultural production and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.

Milligan, C. (2022). (Executive Producer). We Are Still Here. Feature film – Indigenous co-production

Australia and New Zealand.

Milligan, C. (2021). Script development as a collective enterprise: The writing of the Indigenous feature film Waru.  In S. Taylor & C. Batty (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Script Development (pp. 175-185). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Milligan, C. (2015). Sites of exuberance: Barry Barclay and Fourth Cinema, ten years on. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 11(3).

Session 11 – Supply Chain Cinema: The Transnational Production of Big-Budget Film Workers (Kay DICKINSON, University of Glasgow)

An increasing amount of big budget, offshored film production currently routes through
the United Arab Emirates, often without the ordinary viewer even noticing. Bollywood,
Chinese and Hollywood movies (including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mission:
Impossible – Fallout and Dune) are now regularly, if partially, made there.
In many ways, film offshoring first arose in the UAE thanks to strong provision
from already dominant sectors. In particular, these were and still are: logistics (for
managing the flows of equipment and personnel required for principal photography),
construction (of both sets and specialized work environments like studios, as well as
other necessary infrastructures, physical and digital), and tourism (proffering a wealth
of suitable hotels for accommodating visiting crews). It often goes unacknowledged the
extent to which these factors, essential for the effortless functioning of a film’s
manufacturing journey, figure in the selection of production sites. In addition, the UAE
(depending on which emirate) is either tax free or offers highly competitive 30%
rebates on eligible production spend.
To meet the needs of such productions, a particular worker subjectivity is being
specifically crafted in the UAE, one adapted to transnationalized conventions and
languages of filmmaking that are seen as crucial for lubricating seamless flows between
geographically and culturally atomized sites. Manifest in policies like the Abu Dhabi
Economic Vision 2030, the UAE hopes to top-down prepare larger numbers of these
sorts of creative workers and, more pervasively to greatly augment its creative and
knowledge economies. To aid this mission, the UAE has welcomed branch campuses of
multiple foreign universities to its shores, providing substantial financial support for
the likes of NYU Abu Dhabi. The required aptitudes for contributing to split location film
productions take shape less through hands-on training, perhaps, than by fostering what
Aihwa Ong dubs “graduated citizenship.” Graduated citizenship is transcultural fluency
par excellence. It encompasses an elite and mobile efficacy with the belief systems,
modes of comportment, linguistic dexterity, hierarchized diversity, entrepreneurship,
and notions of liberal creativity essential for effortlessly fitting in when big budget
cinema charts its course through any given site.
It is noteworthy too that both the transnational media production districts and
the overseas branch campuses are sequestered within the UAE’s proliferating
archipelago of free zones. These are transculturally-tailored quarters that stand aloof
from the legislation governing the country proper by allowing for foreign investment
and exceptional rules blocking unionization while extending freedom of expression.
Like the majority of those employed on arriving international film productions,
the bulk of the students enrolled in these universities are migrants, many hoping that
their qualifications will allow them to stay on after graduation. They will do so not as
citizens (which is all but impossible), but as workers on highly precarious temporary
contracts whose termination threatens their very tenure in the country, rendering them
indebted to sponsors and employers, and thus distinctly unlikely to question or disrupt
workplace exploitation. These conditions, too, become habituated as central to the
transculturation process and its competitive advantage amidst many such sites that vie
for offshore film business.

Kay Dickinson works in the University of Glasgow Film and Television Studies
department and is the convenor for MA Creative Arts and Industries. She is the author
of Arab Cinema Travels: Transnational Syria, Palestine, Dubai and Beyond (BFI
Publishing, 2016) and Arab Film and Video Manifestos: Forty-Five Years of the Moving
Image Amid Revolution (Palgrave, 2018). She has published on various aspects of
transcultural film production in peer-reviewed journals and award-winning anthologies
and is currently completing a monograph entitled Supply Chain Cinema: The
Transnational Production of Big-Budget Film Workers (BFI Publishing, 2023).

Session 10 – Les ‘films de genre’ français depuis l’aube des années 2000 : analyse des stratégies d’internationalisation (Quentin MAZEL, chercheur postdoctoral au LabEx ICCA)

Alors que l’industrie cinématographique française avait désinvesti certains genres, comme le fantastique, l’horreur ou la science-fiction, le tournant des années 2000 semble annoncer une transformation de l’offre hexagonale avec l’arrivée d’une flopée de films explorant ces esthétiques. Parmi les facteurs permettant d’expliquer l’apparition de ces productions, les stratégies d’internationalisation ont joué un rôle considérable. Elles visent notamment à réduire les coûts de fabrication (entre autres grâce à une main-d’œuvre bon marché et des politiques fiscales avantageuses) et augmenter les débouchés potentiels en profitant des ressources et des marchés étrangers. Elles concernent à la fois des superproductions, qui cherche à assurer le succès par d’importants investissements financiers permettant de multiplier les effets techniques spectaculaires, attirer les vedettes et organiser une campagne promotionnelle d’envergure, que des films disposant d’un budget plus modeste, qui s’efforce de minimiser leurs dépenses. Pour autant, elles ne sont pas sans conséquence sur la forme des films (comme la langue ou le pays dans lequel s’inscrit le récit) et les conditions de travail de ceux qui les font (comme la nationalité des techniciens et des interprètes, les conventions collectives en vigueur). Grâce à l’étude des partenariats financiers d’un corpus de film et une série d’entretiens semi-directifs, cette communication se propose d’explorer ces stratégies, leurs objectifs, comme les contraintes qu’elles génèrent sur la fabrication des films et les personnes qui y œuvrent.

Quentin Mazel est chercheur postdoctoral au LabEx ICCA, docteur en études cinématographiques et audiovisuelles de l’Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, chercheur associé au sein de l’IRCAV. Il a enseigné en tant qu’ATER à l’Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 et à l’Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3. Il a soutenu une thèse sur l’économie des genres cinématographiques et travaille actuellement sur l’économie des plateformes audiovisuelles en France et aux États-Unis.

Session 7 – Prior Relationships, Homophily and New Collective Identities in Transcultural Idea and Script Development  (Rosamund DAVIES, University of Greenwich)

Film and television production rely on established networks and prior relationships (see e.g Grugulis and Stoyanova 2012, Friedman and Laurison 2019). Those embarking on a collaborative project to develop an idea for television and staff a writers’ room, will tend to seek out people to work with that they know, or who know people that they know. Where this is not possible, they will tend to fall back on homophily (Wreyford 2018), that is to say, they will be drawn to work with people like them, who share a similar background, the same cultural references and so on. These interlinked networks of shared history, recommendation and common identity are the age old techniques that humans use to ensure the trust and understanding that is the foundation of collaborative work.
While the reliance on prior relationships is a recognised strategy, however, the role played by shared cultural identity tends to be under recognised and may often be seen as spontaneous “chemistry”, rather than due to identifiable factors. We should note, furthermore, that these relations operate to exclude as well as to include.
The international networks of shared history and recommendation that operate to facilitate
international coproduction bear out these points in particular ways. They can, for example, work to marginalise smaller nations, who are less well established in global production. Meanwhile, in a transcultural context, the operation of homophily becomes more visible in its absence. Cultural differences between nations manifest in the different production cultures they bring to an international writers’ room. Writers’ values and understandings with regard to both cultural practices and storytelling conventions and approaches can differ markedly, as I have noted in my own work (and see also Cattrysse 2017, Cotta Ramosino forthcoming,). This can cause mutual incomprehension and misunderstanding, potentially leading to breakdown of communication, conflict and other damaging outcomes.
There is a need, therefore, in the absence of the common identity that is often taken for
granted in a national context, to focus more consciously and explicitly on ways to establish a new collective and transcultural identity within international writers’ rooms. To a certain extent, these will need to be specific each time to each project and the people involved, though there are certain approaches and parameters that are likely to be generally useful to consider (see my own work and also Cotta Ramosino forthcoming for more detailed discussion of examples).
The second point that I would make is that the cultural differences and misunderstandings that arise in international coproduction should remind us that a single nation may also be home to many different cultures and identities. Reliance on prior relationships and homophily tends to work to include those from the dominant cultural group and exclude or disadvantage others. Since all collaboration can and perhaps should be transcultural, there is a need to work more consciously and explicitly on establishing a collective transcultural identity in national as well as international idea and script development.


Cattrysse, Patrick. 2017. “Cultural Dimensions and an Intercultural Study of Screenwriting.” In Transcultural Screenwriting: Telling Stories for a Global World, edited by Carmen Sofia
Brenes, Patrick Cattrysse, and Margaret McVeigh, Kindle Edition. Newcastle upon Tyne:
Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Cotta Ramosino, Luisa and Laura. Forthcoming. In Palgrave Handbook of Screenwriting Studies, edited by Rosamund Davies, Paolo Russo and Claus Tieber. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
Friedman, Sam and Laurison, Daniel. 2019. The Class Ceiling. Bristol: Policy Press
Grugulis, Irena and Dimitrinka Stoyanova. 2012. “Social Capital and Networks in Film and TV: Jobs for the Boys?” Organisation Studies 33 (10): 1311–31.
Wreyford, Natalie. 2018. Gender Inequality in Screenwriting Work. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan

Rosamund Davies has a background in the film and television industries as script editor and story consultant. Her current research focuses on screenwriting and collaborative practices, with a particular interest in questions of diversity and inclusion and in transcultural production. She explored the latter in two recent publications, through the case study of an Icelandic/German coproduction, which also involved English and French participants in the script development process:

“Trapped – a case study of international co-production” (2019). In The Palgrave Handbook of Screen Production, edited by Craig Batty et al. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
“Nordic noir with an Icelandic twist: Establishing a shared space for collaboration within European coproduction” (2021). In Script Development: Critical Approaches, Creative Practices, International Perspectives, edited by Craig Batty and Stayci Taylor. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan

Drawing on both in-depth interviews with practitioners, textual analysis, observation and existing work in sociology, media and psychology, her research seeks to understand what factors both inhibit and contribute to successful collaborative working relationships.

Session 6 – ‘Travailler en s’amusant’ : à propos des trajectoires de quelques expatriés français dans l’industrie du dessin animé japonais (Marie Pruvost-Delaspre/Matteo Watzky)

18 novembre 2022 – 15h – 17h

Cette intervention se donne pour objectif de questionner les enjeux impliqués dans le processus d’expatriation des travailleurs français de l’animation partis exercer leurs métiers au Japon et l’appropriation des codes professionnels de leur milieu d’arrivée. Quelles sont les attentes qu’ils ont développées et les conditions réelles de travail auxquelles ils sont confrontés lorsqu’ils arrivent au Japon ? Comment s’adaptent-t-ils à une nouvelle donne socio-économique et à une culture du travail artistique fondée sur des principes différents ? À partir d’interviews, d’entretiens à distance, ou encore l’étude d’échanges sur les réseaux sociaux et de publications en ligne, nous tenterons de retracer les parcours de certaines figures de ce milieu français de l’animation au Japon pour questionner les caractéristiques et les aspérités de ce(s) projet(s) d’expatriation. Nous interrogerons ainsi le discours tenu par les acteurs eux-mêmes sur leur processus d’adaptation, l’intégration de nouvelles normes et attentes professionnelles, la possible recréation de « liens de coopération » (Becker) dans ce nouveau contexte, dans l’idée d’interroger les phénomènes d’intégration ou de distinction, voire une certaine essentialisation des pratiques professionnelles.

Marie Pruvost-Delaspre est maîtresse de conférences en études cinématographiques à l’Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint Denis depuis 2017. Après diverses publications portant sur le cinéma d’animation japonais des années 1950 à 1970, dont sa thèse éditée aux Presses Universitaires de Rennes en 2021 sous le titre Aux origines de l’animation japonaise : le sudio Tôei Dôga 1956-1972, elle a ouvert de nouveaux chantiers de recherche du côté de la production animée contemporaine au tournant de l’ère numérique, dont un projet examinant la transition du dessin à la main vers la tablette graphique dans le dessin animé français, ou encore l’étude des processus de formation et d’apprentissage de l’animation dans différents contextes.

Matteo Watzky est élève de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris et titulaire d’un Master d’études cinématographiques à l’université Paris-8 Vincennes Saint-Denis. Auteur d’un mémoire intitulé “L’aberration et la délicatesse – Mouvements de la shoujo dans l’animation japonaise”, sous la direction de Marie Pruvost-Delaspre. Effectue en parallèle des travaux de recherche indépendante sur l’histoire et l’esthétique de l’animation japonaise sur le site web Animétudes.

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