Founding Trustee / Executive Director
Dan is the Founding Trustee and Executive Director of The Documentary New Zealand Trust, a not-for-profit charitable organization that leads and promotes documentary films and filmmaking in New Zealand. Dan is the Director of Documentary Edge Festival, Australasia’s premiere international documentary film festival, Screen Edge Forum, an industry conference including DOC Pitch, DOC Edge Lab, an incubator for transmedia projects and the Documentary Edge Campus resource centre.
Born in Haifa, Israel, Dan lived for 8 years in the United States and has a Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) (Hons) from University of Missouri Kansas City and won the Alex and Josephine B. Coleman Communication Department Scholarship. In 1999, Dan moved to the Netherlands and enrolled at the University of Amsterdam to read a Masters in Film and Television.
A short documentary Ma-kara at Makara, directed & produced by Dan and Alex Lee, was screened at the Warsaw International Jewish Film Festival (2004), the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival (2004), and DOCNZ 2005. Dan also produced and filmed a feature length documentary A Stage of Mind, which premiered in Israel at the 21st Haifa International Film Festival (2005) and at DOCFEST: Festival Di Palazzo Venezia in Rome, Italy (2006). The film has been picked up for world-wide distribution.
In 2003, Dan settled in New Zealand and in the following year, Alex and Dan co-founded the Documentary New Zealand Trust. In 2008, Dan was selected and graduated from the Arts Venture Programme in Auckland, a unique year long acceleration programme for creative entrepreneur that contributes to Auckland’s arts, cultural and economic development.
Founding Trustee / Director
Alex is a practising entertainment/media lawyer who integrates his love for film, TV and media alongside his legal knowledge. He is passionate about transmedia, storytelling and collaboration across genres and countries. Alex was an actor/presenter including being a Writer/Presenter on prime time ATV World in Hong Kong and a radio producer and host. At the end of 2003, he completed the Master of Creative & Performing Arts (Film & TV Drama Directing) at the University of Auckland with First Class Honours.
He wrote and directed Wong Cha Cha, a Creative New Zealand supported short film and was the Producer of the independent low budget feature film The Last Magic Show and the short film Love & Luksaah, both winning international and local awards.Alex also was the Executive Producer of The Song of The Hunted. He is a director of Smiley Films Sales, TAG Creatives Limited, a talent agency, Tamarillo Films Limited and Inkubator Limited which develops and produces feature documentaries and fiction features. Recently, he executive produced the internationally acclaimed feature documentary Hip Hop-eration which has screen widely internationally at festivals, cinemas and in television . The film also won 3 out of 4 documentary MOAs at the NZ Screen Awards in 2014.
He founded the Asia Film Festival Aotearoa, a Pan-Asian film festival, the Asia NZ Film Foundation Trust and Oryza Foundation for Asian Performing Arts. He also previously served on the Mayor’s Creative Think-tank – Arts and Culture, a previous National Executive Board Member of the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand and taught Production Management at the University of Auckland.
Currently, he is part of the China Club, a NZ Film Commission committee to promote and develop NZ/China collborations and coproductions. He is also an Arts Venture Programme alumni. Alex is Chairman of Film Auckland and Board Member of The Creative Coalition of the Arts.
Alex has been a guest speaker at Magnolia International Documentary Festival Shanghai and DocNet SE Asia. He was a jury member at DOK Leipzig and IDFA and most recently, in short film festivals in China.
In November 2013, Alex was appointed as the Head of School of Performing and Screen Arts (PASA) at UNITEC.