The SRN 2017 International Screenwriting Conference is the first New Zealand conference dedicated to screenwriting and the first to place equal emphasis upon practical and academic approaches to screenwriting. Participants included a number of New Zealand’s top screenwriters and this link between the worlds of practitioners and scholars led to wide-ranging and informative discussions. The conference built on the work of the growing SRN global screenwriting research network, using New Zealand’s unique place in the international screen industry to investigate the challenges the transnational nature of the screen industry poses to local identity and practice. This followed up on discussions opened at the 2015 Chilean SRN conference.
SRN2017 examined how we approach and frame our storytelling, within and from different contexts, and the impacts that screen industry conventions and frameworks have on the nature of stories that are told. It explored cultural and industry conventions, orthodoxies, and claims about what is real and what is truth, as well as the influence of these contexts on storytelling practice(s).
The diverse conference papers and speakers recognised how we justify telling our stories in a particular way and how these parameters affect our work as practitioners and scholars, as well as perceptions of the finished work: for example, why it is important to understand different cultural perspectives which shape the very nature of storytelling in a country such as in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Bringing together visitors and presenters from around New Zealand and abroad allowed for the development and exchange of ideas and perspectives in a unique atmosphere of generosity and creativity, kicked off by the moving welcome from the Māori students from a local high school and the charming farewell from members of the Pasifika community. From the local point of view, it was heartening that so many were willing to travel so far to attend, and the conference is seen as a great success, providing engaging and productive outcomes for all involved. Photos from the conference can be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.1936354696689458&type=3