Talented Auckland screen producer Morgan Stewart was recently inspired by taking part in the talent development programme at the renowned Berlinale Film Festival.

Morgan, who is best known for her heavy metal horror-comedy feature film DEATHGASM, has produced many short films, music videos, won a place in the prestigious ‘Berlinale Talents’ section of the festival. 

At the moment, she is also helping productions with Auckland Council permits via her role as a contractor in Screen Auckland’s film facilitation team at ATEED.

Morgan was one of 250 emerging film makers – from disciplines including writing, directing, producing, cinematography, composing, and sound design – from 70 countries chosen from 3500 global applicants for this year’s programme. 

Tusi Tamasese, Roseanne Liang, and Chelsea Winstanley are among the programme’s recent Kiwi alumni; this year, Abigail Greenwood was also selected from New Zealand.

Morgan says it was incredible to have the chance to immerse herself in the course, meet film makers from all over the world, and get to feel part of a global industry: “Being a film producer is my passion and career focus. I applied to be a part of ‘Talents’ as I’d seen other great filmmakers go over the years, and it was everything I hoped it would be.” 

The New Zealand Film Commission supported Morgan with a talent development grant to attend the festival. More than 30 Kiwis attended the festival itself – the biggest contingent to date – supporting the screening of four features, and six short films from New Zealand. 

“The world premiere of Vai, a feature film made by nine female Pacific film makers, took place on my first night there. Seeing Vai premiere to a full house on one of the biggest screens I have ever seen was a massive festival highlight for me,” says Morgan.

The talent programme was an intensive six-day course with lectures, talks, networking events and screenings. 

“Feeling like a participant in the global industry, and being able to put my work in context, helped me understand that we are doing things very well in New Zealand. But we still need to push further and harder to get our stories out there to the biggest global audience possible,” says Morgan.

Along with attending screenings, another personal highlight for Morgan was listening to British legend Charlotte Rampling talk about her career. Nearly as good was the ‘currywurst’: “It’s a Berlin thing.”

Next up for Morgan is a trip to the Hong Kong FILMART: “I am continuing to develop multiple feature film and TV series concepts across horror, drama, and documentary alongside a collection of incredible Kiwi film makers.”

Check out the trailer for one of Morgan's films, K Rd Stories.