Founding and Managing Director
Ewa's varied business background includes the law, visual arts, running a corporate community engagement consultancy and film sales. Ewa graduated from Auckland University with a law degree and worked with Auckland law firm Rudd Watts & Stone in the commercial litigation and employment law teams before moving into real estate. After a successful stint in real estate, Ewa co-owned an art gallery and established a consultancy focusing on corporate community engagement.
Believing that there was a need for an Australasian based sales agency for independent films, Ewa founded Smiley Film Sales ( previously known as Smiley Documentary Film Distribution & World Sales ) along with co director Alex Lee. One of Ewa's strengths is advocacy and through Smiley Film Sales, she managed to combine her love for the arts with advocacy skills acquired in her time as a lawyer.
The enthusiastic response from the local and international filmmaking community has been well beyond her expectations. Smiley's philosophy of retaining a smaller and carefully selected catalogue supported by innovative and niche marketing has struck a chord with independent documentary filmmakers from around the world. ( See testimonials ) Ewa's belief in the medium of film as a vehicle for positive social change underpinned Smiley's early documentary portfolio and selection criteria. Thriving on controversy and striving to bring new perspectives to the media, Smiley's films deal with a range of difficult social and political issues including AIDS, sexual abuse, nuclear testing, conflict, worldwide immigration, terrorism and discrimination. The commitment towards outstanding independent film-making continues to inform the company's expansion into fiction and drama marked by the launch of its Series Catalogue which includes the critically acclaimed hit comedy series, The Jaquie Brown Diaries.
Ewa is a co - director and trustee of DOCNZ Festival Trust ( www.docnz.org.nz ) which oversees Australasia's leading documentary film festival DOCNZ. In 2006, Ewa chaired and helped launch DOCNZ's first industry summit which included an international Pitching Forum. Ewa has brokered a number of key partnerships between DOCNZ and the business community in the past including partnerships with worldwide media agency Saatchi & Saatchi, finance company St Laurence and international glossy Lucire. In 2006 she was a guest of Holland Film to the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam ( IDFA ) and in February 2007 she was a panelist on DOCUMART at the Australian International Documentary Conference ( AIDC ). She was also a guest of Docusur ( Spain ) in the same year, participating in their market and forum.
A lawyer by training, Alex has lived and worked extensively overseas with two Masters of Laws from the University of Auckland & the University of Brussels. Previously a Writer/Presenter on The World Today, a prime time nightly English language current affairs programme on Asia TV Hong Kong, he has also produced and hosted radio programmes. He established Tsunami Actors and Talent Ltd, an actors agency.
In 2000'2001, Alex produced/directed instructional videos for the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, going on to executive produce a digital feature film Song of The Hunted. In 2002, Alex enrolled for a Masters of Creative & Performing Arts (Film & TV Drama Directing) at the University of Auckland, graduating with 1st Class Honours in September 2004. He made Wong Cha Cha, a Creative New Zealand supported short film in February 2004. He has also line produced overseas television and commercial productions. He co-directed a short documentary Ma-kara at Makara which was screened at the 2004 Warsaw International Jewish Film Festival, 2004 Jewish Film Festival in Jerusalem, and DOCNZ 2005. Currently, he is finishing post production on the feature films The Magician and Song of the Hunted due for release mid 2006 as well as the feature documentary film Musical Chairs. Alex is intensely passionate about film-making with a particular interest in international co-productions. He is currently developing a slate of documentary projects. Alex is developing a slate of dramatic and documentary projects. Alex is a director of Tamarillo Films Limited and Timeline Productions Limited.
Recognizing that there was need to bring more diverse films to New Zealand, in 2003 he founded and set up the Asia NZ Film Foundation Trust and the Asia Film Festival Aotearoa, a Pan-Asian film festival (www.anzfft.org.nz) and in 2005, he co-founded the very successful DOCNZ International Documentary Film Festival. Both festivals continue to feature in the international film festival circuit.
He was recently elected as an executive Board Member of the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand and teaches Production Management to the Masters students at the University of Auckland.