Finalists of the Episode One pilot programme

The six successful teams selected for an innovative $750,000 programme to develop more screen content by Pan-Asian New Zealanders have been announced today. 

Episode One Web Series Pilot Programme is a Pan Asian Screen Collective (PASC) initiative that will take six teams from a pitch to a produced pilot of their series. 

The creator and convenor of Episode One, Dr Shuchi Kothari said, “of the forty eight applications we received, so many were of such high-calibre that it was a real challenge for industry experts and assessors to determine the final six from a short-list of thirteen teams.” 

Dr Kothari congratulated not only the finalists, but all those teams who entered. “They represent a huge amount of talent, energy and innovation. Their stories are very much a part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s history and landscape.”

After a robust deliberation process, PASC is delighted to announce the following 6 teams and participants as finalist and inaugural participants of the Episode One Web Series Pilot programme.


Episode One would not be possible without funding from Irirangi Te Motu New Zealand on Air and the Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission. PASC thanks all who engaged with Episode One and in particular the industry assessors and interview panelists who shared their knowledge and experience in support of this kaupapa.


Introducing the finalists of Episode One

Episode one team: Asian 8

Left to right: Nahyeon Lee, Vhari Lennox, Gwen Lin, Sarina Pearson

Asian 8

Outraged by the racism at her posh private girls’ school, an ambitious Year 12 student rallies fellow Asian students to support her bid for Head Girl, in exchange for finding them dates to the ball.


Episode one team: Boom Shankar

Left to right: Gayatri Adi, Aman Bajaj, Porvi Fomra, Bala Murali Shingade, Maria Tanner

Boom Shankar

When an overconfident bomb defusal officer and an anxious dairy owner end up dead after a failed bomb defusal, they must work together to navigate the bureaucratic Afterlife for one last chance at redemption. 


Episode one team: Chinese Orchestra

Left to right: Celine Dam, Jolin Lee, Nikhil Madhan

Chinese Orchestra 

A group of high school misfits in the Auckland Youth Chinese Orchestra band together to fake it through a season of performances, or risk getting blackmailed by their dodgy-as leader.


Episode one team: Happiness is the Path

Left to right: Hayley Becht, Natasha Daniel, Kelly Gilbride, Chye-ling Huang, Joyce Wong

Happiness is the Path

Three self-absorbed, Chinese-Pākehā siblings must dig out the root cause of their family’s unhappiness before their Chinese father moves to an isolated Buddhist monastery forever.


Episode one team: Pincher

Clockwise from top left: Sara Chen, Thomas Coppell, Pon Torthienchai, Tim Zheng Tian Chen


Recreational porch pirate, Mei, is an all-around terrible person but also an avid denier of her failings in character. While her personal and work lives spiral into chaos, she embarks on a journey of moral redemption revisiting past victims to return a stolen urn.


Episode one team: Thaw

Left to right: Emma Mortimer, Asuka Sylvie


THAW is a science fiction anthology drama that follows six individuals who have woken from a cryonically frozen state, as they grapple with their rehabilitation into the world and attempt to connect with those they left behind.