It is a great honor for me to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's International Film & Television Showcase, it only saddens me that my husband, Tony Blanco, cannot be with me to share this moment, as he would be as honored and proud as I am.
I congratulate you on the beautiful initiative to support and celebrate the dedication, passion and integrity of women in film everywhere, and I thank TheWIFTS Board for considering me worthy of this precious award. I am very sorry to be unable to receive it in person. Thank you!
THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION SHOWCASE
JULY 2nd 2016
Passion & Integrity Commerce & Creativity Equality Not Hierarchy
The recipient of TheWIFTS "IT" Award 2016 is Chelsea Grant, for her business skill at raising a six figure sum for her production company Kiwi House Film to produce Titiro, the high production value short film which she wrote, directed, produced and acted in. Titiro is the teaser to a feature length film, The White Warrior.
Since an early age, Chelsea, a New Zealand (Kiwi) Maori filmmaker, screenwriter and actress, has had a keen interest in the arts. Coming from a family background where creativity was encouraged, Chelsea at the age of 4 upward would often produce plays with her cousins, for her family to watch – and for which they had to pay admission to get into!
Chelsea's mother was a fashion designer who won the coveted Benson & Hedges award in New Zealand. Some of Chelsea's earliest memories are of her mother creating designs in the '80s/'90s, when she established her own leather label that was stocked in the shop in Alexandra, Chelsea's home town.
Chelsea's grandmother is a great storyteller and was always telling her the legends of her people, and the history of the New Zealand while she was growing up. Her grandmother, an advocate of the arts (among other things), was the president of the local museum for many years and had a significant hand in raising the millions of dollars required to build a new state of the art facility.
Introduced to the entertainment world at just two years old, Chelsea was featured in the film Willow, directed by Ron Howard and written/produced by George Lucas, parts of which were shot in New Zealand.
Grant went on to study theatre, film and business at university. She then moved to Sydney, Australia, where she developed and wrote some of early her screenplays, as well as starting to work in theatre and TV.
Coming from a small town in rural New Zealand, Chelsea would not let that deter her from reaching for her dream and following her passions of becoming a filmmaker.
Chelsea moved to London in 2014 and in 2015 founded her company Kiwi Film House. It was here that Chelsea was able to produce her first film, Titiro, which she wrote, directed, produced, raised the financing and acted in. Titiro is set in an ancient world where peace has no place and the gods are at ends. Titiro (Sight Seeker) finds the answer to save her tribe and end the war that threatens her people, in William, the first white man her people have seen, washed ashore from a distant land. With life fading from him, Titiro takes him to Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) to breathe life back into him. Having a premonition, Titiro sees something that will change the course of history. Saving William will mean her people live, but it will come at a price – the price of her own life. She must make a choice. Titiro It is currently doing the festival circuit and has been garnering positive reviews.
Chelsea Grant, like her grandmother, is a storyteller. Taking a script and developing a vision is one of many of her strengths, seeing each scene come to life on the page is an essential part of the creative process that she loves.
As a director, her style is very hands on, trusting her DOP and knowing that as a team they can achieve the right look; working closely with her team to bring the script to life.
Chelsea Grant is currently in the middle of development of the TV show she created, Model Citizen. There are three feature scripts in the next slate of production (project 3 for KFH) which are written by Chelsea.
Chelsea Grant credits her grandmother for embedding in her two invaluable assets – business and people skills.