Casey Zilbert

Screen writer Casey is shifting her focus to help Wellington-based creators build financially viable and creatively satisfying careers

A local creative in Wellington, Casey was interviewed for Diverse Voices: Making Screen Work Different, a documentary about diversity, innovation and sustainability in Wellington’s film industry.

The Wellington UNESCO City of Film projectis directed and produced by Pachali Brewster, with help from facilitators and Victoria University of Wellington’s Missy Molloy and Raqi Syed.

Material for the documentary has come from a hui featuring six local storytelling talent, including Casey, around the central question "how can we make screen work different".

The award-winning writer, director and producer started out as a screen writer because it allowed her to participate in storytelling while also existing in isolation.

She talks of her fatal food allergies and dietary restrictions, which she says has had a huge impact on everything she does in life.

“Covid was a really interesting experience for me because I basically live in level four all the time.”

Casey is also autistic, which she says explains her hyper-focus and ability to produce a shootable screen play in under four weeks.

The proud Kiwi who spent most of her childhood overseas, is an alumni of the competitive United World College of South East Asia International Baccalaureate programme in Singapore.

She returned here to study film/English at Auckland University and, after graduating, was recruited into the script department of Aotearoa’s longest running TV show Shortland Street.

She spent three years learning the ins and outs of fast turnover television development and production before moving to Wellington to work her way up the independent film ladder.

After writing/associate-producing two New Zealand Film Commission-funded shorts Blankets and Dancers, Casey co-wrote New Zealand's first hip-hop dance film Born to Dance which premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival and went on to be the most successful New Zealand film of 2016.

She was the recipient of the 2018 Women in Film & Television “woman to watch” award, and in 2019, the Vero Beach Wine & Film Festival “visionary award” for her groundbreaking approach to developing, financing, producing, and distributing New Zealand’s first wine comedy Hang Time.

While writing will always be her first love, Casey now has her sights focused on local talent/IP development and creative finance.

“A lot of my interests moving forward is about financing, and how to help diverse voices build financially viable, creatively satisfying careers.”

Find out more about Hang Time.