Eight has expanded into documentary film production. The production company has launched The Story Department with awarded filmmaker, Leanne Pooley, at the helm.
Pooley has been a documentary filmmaker for more than 25 years and has worked with the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, The ABC, The CBC, TVNZ, ARTE among many others. She was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Documentary Filmmaking in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List and made a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscars) the same year. In 2011, she was made an Arts Laureate by the NZ Arts Foundation for her contribution to the film industry.
As The Story Department’s head of development and production, Leanne will work alongside managing director, Katie Millington, and executive producer, Lib Kelly, to develop documentaries for the local and international market place.
Millington commented, “Eight has a long history of documentary film making and it’s been a dream of ours to establish a dedicated department with its own driver. The Story Department also offers opportunities to collaborate with agencies and clients on projects that merge non-fiction stories and branded content. We are incredibly fortunate to have Leanne on board. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious and she ignites our collective passion for storytelling.”
Pooley’s successful work includes Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, which won Best Documentary at The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as well as 21 other international awards. It also won Best Feature at the NZ Film & TV Awards and reached over NZ$2 million at the box office, making it the most successful New Zealand documentary of all time.
Her adventure documentary, Beyond The Edge, has won numerous prizes including runner-up at TIFF and has screened theatrically around the globe.
Pooley’s animated documentary, 25 April, premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and was one of just nine films in competition at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (the world’s premiere animation festival). It is also the first New Zealand animated feature to qualify for Academy Award consideration and was on the 2016 Oscar’s long-list.
Her most recent movie,The Girl On The Bridge, about mental health activist, Jazz Thornton, is being applauded as an important social impact film with the power to inspire change, receiving endorsements by respected bodies such as the World Health Organisation.
Pooley commented, “I’m incredibly excited about this new stage in my career. Eight’s commitment to making documentary storytelling a central component of their already impressive slate has given me enormous confidence about the road ahead. Helping support other filmmakers to create wonderful documentaries is a great opportunity, one I feel truly privileged to have been offered.”
The Story Department already has a number of projects in development and is putting out the call for more.
Pooley added, “There are a lot of people out there plugging away on their own, looking for a producer. I’m hoping we’ll be able to help some of them get their projects in front of the audiences they deserve.”
Pooley is the latest addition to Eight’s executive team in a series of recent hires and promotions, including Lib Kelly’s appointment as company co-director and co-owner, and Susan Vincent Billing’s appointment as operations manager.
Millington stated, “We didn’t set out to build our executive team with all women, it just so happens that they were all the best, most capable and most qualified people in their fields.”
For TVC and Story Department inquiries contact Lib Kelly email@example.com
To arrange an interview with Leanne Pooley contact firstname.lastname@example.org