Day One Shorts 2025 is generously funded by Nz On Air. Applications Opening Soon. Day One Shorts 2025 is generously funded by Nz On Air. Applications Opening Soon.


Day One Shorts is a series of short films by rangatahi emerging filmmakers from across Aotearoa. These shorts explore cultural, social and political issues by taking story risks, pushing the envelope, and looking to the future.


This immersive talent development program offers workshops, mentoring and funding for filmmakers, and provides a pathway for young voices to break into the industry and forge sustainable careers.

Day One Shorts holds space for diverse creatives to get a foot in the door by restricting the initiative to directors under 30 who haven’t received film or series funding in the past.

Get into it!

Our next round of Shorts applications open soon. Day One Shorts 2025 is generously supported by NZ On Air.

Key Dates

Applications open soon.

Applications due Friday 25 October at 12pm.


The contracted production teams will include;

a Director

a Producer

There may be variations on the above (e.g Writer-Director or Co-Producers) but the team must include a producer who is separate to the director.

Applications are invited only from teams whose Director:

  • Is aged between 18 - 29 when they shoot their film
  • Is currently a New Zealand citizen or resident
  • Has not previously received production funding from NZ On Air, Te Māngai Pāho or the New Zealand Film Commission

Awarded Funding + Support

The selected filmmaking teams will receive;

  • A contracted production budget of $15,000 for doco or $20,000 for scripted drama
  • A two-day talent development workshop
  • A production mentor from the New Zealand film industry
  • A professional development consultant
  • A post production package for their film including grading and audio mixing

Selection Criteria

The idea is that Day One Shorts are innovative, imaginative, relevant or thought-provoking, intended to spark ideas, stimulate debate and convey important information. Day One Shorts is an opportunity for filmmakers to convey what change and impact they want for future communities.

Any genre is welcome. Previous films have covered societal issues, culture, body image, health, gender identity, human rights, mental health, the environment, climate change, cultural issues including preservation as well as integration into NZ society, and more.

We especially want to hear from members of any underrepresented community in Aotearoa.

For Day One Shorts 2025, we will be aiming to commission at least two films that convey te ao Māori and ideally have at least 50% te reo Māori content

Application Process

The full info with everything you’ll need to know about and apply for Day One Challenge is in our Entry Toolkit

But basically, to apply you’ll need;

  • A completed application form
  • A production budget
  • A full script or a credible scripting plan
  • Letters of support
  • A proposal (PDF preferred) of up to 10 pages.

Got a question? Check out our Frequently Answered Questions , and if it’s not there flick us an email to