The film industry is fantastic, but it can also be tough.

The film industry is fantastic, but it can also be tough.

“I know, I’ve been there.”

“I know, I’ve been there.”

A healthy production needs a healthy crew—and for crews to thrive, they need support. FilmChaplain is just that. It’s an on-location, go-to support service for cast and crew alike. If you or anyone in your production needs support or someone to talk to, we are here.

Kevin Denholm

WHY A FILM CHAPLAIN?

Because everyone needs a support crew.

Because everyone needs a support crew.

Aotearoa New Zealand has a thriving film industry. Our film community is an amazingly diverse group of creative and passionate people who come together to tackle a wide variety of projects. We are resourceful, incredibly hardworking, fiercely loyal, and have learned to work together with military precision.

But it can also be said that we suffer unrelenting pressures… long hours, time away from home and families, tough physical working conditions and the unspoken understanding that we are only as good as our last (or perhaps our next) job. This pressure can add up to a tinderbox of social and wellbeing issues.

Industrial chaplaincy is widespread in workplaces worldwide; teams in every major sporting league have their own chaplain. Armed forces worldwide employ (and deploy) chaplains. Chaplains are present in hospitals, schools, and universities. But what about the film industry? Who is helping on our frontline, looking out for this unique community of remarkable people?

FilmChaplain is here to offer that support – a calm, confidential and caring presence to talk to.

WHAT IS A FILM CHAPLAIN?

A ‘cloak’ of compassion when it’s needed most.

A ‘cloak’ of compassion when it’s needed most.

The word chaplain comes from the Latin word capella, which means cloak. During the fourth century, a Frenchman named St Martin, known for his acts of kindness and generosity, encountered a homeless man freezing in the cold. Moved by compassion, Martin offered his capella to keep the man warm—and, in doing so, offered him compassion, protection, and dignity.

Today, chaplains are often termed a ‘non-anxious presence’. They offer confidential, inclusive, emotional, social, and spiritual support to anyone in need during times of personal difficulty. In addition to supporting individuals, chaplains also play a crucial role in fostering community and inclusivity within workplaces, promoting understanding and acceptance among people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs.

“Chaplaincy is for people of all faiths and none – it’s as simple as that.”

OUR SERVICES

FilmChaplain supports the whole crew.

FilmChaplain supports the whole crew.

On set, off set, online and in person. It starts with a chat – and great coffee!

Our services are available for anyone involved in any production, from runners to producers, actors and extras, camera, lighting, gripping, and art departments, HODs, wardrobe, and makeup. Everyone is welcome. FilmChaplain has a fully equipped chaplaincy caravan (complete with La Marzocco coffee machine) and provides a safe and confidential space.

Individual support – before, during and post production.

After decades of working in the film industry, we know how rough it can be sometimes. Long hours, extensive periods away from home, the toll on relationships and families, exposure to sensitive, violent, or explicit content, drug and alcohol dependence… these things can take a toll – and we are here to support you in this.

Mental health and wellness support.

Post-COVID, Kevin decided to hang up his director’s cap and get some professional training to help those working in the film industry to not just survive the pressures, but to thrive. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Chaplaincy from the University of Otago, Kevin is now working towards a PhD and is trained and ‘match fit’ to offer mental health and wellness support.

Emotional, social, and spiritual care.

In many ways, chaplaincy follows Sir Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model of health care, recognising the interconnectedness of taha wairua/spiritual wellbeing, taha hinengaro/mental and emotional wellbeing, taha tinana/physical wellbeing and taha whānau/family and social wellbeing. When one or more of these are out of balance, our wellbeing is impacted. When all these things are in balance, we flourish.

Support with conflict and workplace mediation.

Conflicts between actors, directors, and crew, along with professional and personal issues, can wreak havoc on any set, holding up shoots and blowing out budgets. Having an independent mediator on hand to calm the waters can pay huge dividends.

Connection to referral services.

Safety is paramount. Therefore, we have close relationships with many other professional support services, including therapists, psychologists, counsellors, and wellbeing services, whom we can refer to if needed.

Support around sensitive, explicit, violent, or culturally challenging film content.

This is our sweet spot—and the focus of Kevin’s postgraduate research. Triggering can often occur during productions involving sensitive, violent, sexually explicit, or culturally challenging content. We are here for that – and offer a safe, full-time service for the duration of filming and postproduction.

Inter-faith spiritual support.

You don’t have to follow any particular faith – or any faith at all – to talk to a chaplain. We’re here to support anyone, and everyone.

Ability to travel around New Zealand and overseas.

As the founder of FilmChaplain, Kevin loves to travel and has extensive production experience filming in over 50 countries across every continent. If he’s busy or unavailable, he’ll organise someone from our global network to be there.

Individual support – before, during and post production.

After decades of working in the film industry, we know how rough it can be sometimes. Long hours, extensive periods away from home, the toll on relationships and families, exposure to sensitive, violent, or explicit content, drug and alcohol dependence… these things can take a toll – and we are here to support you in this.

Mental health and wellness support.

Post-COVID, Kevin decided to hang up his director’s cap and get some professional training to help those working in the film industry to not just survive the pressures, but to thrive. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Chaplaincy from the University of Otago, Kevin is now working towards a PhD and is trained and ‘match fit’ to offer mental health and wellness support.

Emotional, social, and spiritual care.

In many ways, chaplaincy follows Sir Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model of health care, recognising the interconnectedness of taha wairua/spiritual wellbeing, taha hinengaro/mental and emotional wellbeing, taha tinana/physical wellbeing and taha whānau/family and social wellbeing. When one or more of these are out of balance, our wellbeing is impacted. When all these things are in balance, we flourish.

Support with conflict and workplace mediation.

Conflicts between actors, directors, and crew, along with professional and personal issues, can wreak havoc on any set, holding up shoots and blowing out budgets. Having an independent mediator on hand to calm the waters can pay huge dividends.

Connection to referral services.

Safety is paramount. Therefore, we have close relationships with many other professional support services, including therapists, psychologists, counsellors, and wellbeing services, whom we can refer to if needed.

Support around sensitive, explicit, violent, or culturally challenging film content.

This is our sweet spot—and the focus of Kevin’s postgraduate research. Triggering can often occur during productions involving sensitive, violent, sexually explicit, or culturally challenging content. We are here for that – and offer a safe, full-time service for the duration of filming and postproduction.

Inter-faith spiritual support.

You don’t have to follow any particular faith – or any faith at all – to talk to a chaplain. We’re here to support anyone, and everyone.

Ability to travel around New Zealand and overseas.

As the founder of FilmChaplain, Kevin loves to travel and has extensive production experience filming in over 50 countries across every continent. If he’s busy or unavailable, he’ll organise someone from our global network to be there.

We bring an independent, inclusive, and in-depth understanding of the film industry’s unique culture and stressors.

With decades of experience within the industry, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy cast and crew to keep production rolling. This hands-on knowledge of how to ‘be’ on set provides the foundation stone of our professional, independent, and confidential FilmChaplain service.

Contact us to discuss engaging FilmChaplain services for your next production.

ABOUT KEVIN

Director, humanitarian, – and now, chaplain.

ABOUT KEVIN

Director, humanitarian, – and now, chaplain.

Director

Kevin is the owner and director of Exposure International Ltd, a film production and communication company based in Auckland, New Zealand. Over the past three decades, Exposure has created multiple award-winning television commercials and content work for Air New Zealand, Whittakers, Tourism NZ, ANZ, Westpac, Fonterra, and Toyota, making Kevin one of the leading commercial directors in Australasia.

Kevin’s work includes the iconic Mitre 10 “Sandpit” TVC and multiple Toyota “Everyday People” campaigns. Kevin has directed multiple Air New Zealand safety videos, including “The Bear Essentials of Safety”, featuring one of the world’s most recognised faces – intrepid outdoors adventurer Bear Grylls. Kevin has also worked with Sir John Kirwan and the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Health on the Like Minds Like Mine Depression Initiative from its inception.

Humanitarian

Kevin loves people and, for over 30 years, has been creating life-changing films focusing on the human condition. Kevin and his Exposure crew have created people-focused documentaries and productions for humanitarian aid agencies and NGOs such as World Vision, Prison Fellowship International, TEAR Fund and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

His work has included interviews with young children being raised in Bolivian prisons, filming teenagers with AIDS in Eastern Europe, and filming Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel hitmen in Colombia’s infamous Bella Vista prison –where the scores of in-house killings earned the building the title of the ‘most dangerous place on earth’. Kevin has had his plane forced down in war-torn Ethiopia, filmed in Rwanda during the genocide of ethnic cleansing, and been held at gunpoint in Mozambique. He has seen the worst of humanity. And the best.

Chaplain

Having worked alongside hundreds (probably thousands) of crew around New Zealand, Kevin understands first-hand many of the pressures and struggles unique to our profession. During COVID, Kevin reached out to the film community to see if anyone needed someone to talk to, and the floodgates opened:

“I was overwhelmed with the response. I discovered that the need for support was real and immense. Many people were really struggling with a huge range of personal and professional issues, from stress and depression to drug and alcohol addiction.”

This led Kevin to think about how he could help provide some sort of ‘care’ for this community. So, Kevin began studying chaplaincy to develop the skills necessary to provide a calm, caring, and understanding presence to those who need it most.

Now, armed with a Master’s Degree in Chaplaincy from the University of Otago (and a PhD underway), plus formal ordination by the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, Kevin is ready to go. He knows how to listen and cares deeply about the film community.

FAQs

FAQs

FilmChaplain is a professional chaplaincy service established by Kevin and Nikki Denholm. Through their production company Exposure, Kevin and Nikki have worked extensively within the film industry through Aotearoa New Zealand, and in over 50 countries across every continent.

Exposure is best known for creating some of New Zealand’s most iconic television commercials, including award-winning mental health campaigns featuring Sir John Kirwan. Kevin, Nikki, and the team have also created extensive humanitarian films and photography covering HIV/AIDS, famine, war, and refugee crises worldwide.

Today, chaplains are often termed a ‘non-anxious presence’. They offer confidential, inclusive, non-judgemental, emotional, social, and spiritual support to anyone in need. In addition to supporting individuals, chaplains play a vital role in fostering community and inclusivity within workplaces.

Great question. Chaplaincy originates from a Christian tradition (and Kevin is an ordained Anglican Priest). However, chaplaincy has always been intended for people of all faiths, and none. This means that if you want to talk about spiritual matters, we can – if you don’t, we won’t either!

For now, FilmChaplain is funded privately and will move to a sustainable business model in time. Until then, the coffee is on us.

Chaplains, like doctors, psychologists, and counsellors, are bound by a professional code of ethics that protects confidentiality. The only time this can be breached professionally is if the person or someone else is deemed to be in immediate physical or mental harm.

When the Camera Cuts is a ground-breaking and in-depth study of moral injury incurred within the film industry of Aotearoa New Zealand as a result of participating in the creation of film content depicting scenes of extreme violence, explicit sex, sexual violence, or culturally offensive material.

Talking to Kevin helped release all the stress that had been building up for years – I could finally let it out to someone who ‘gets it’. If I’d been able to talk to someone years ago, I think I’d be in a very different place today.”

Grip

It was great having Kevin on set with the crew. His relaxed and easygoing manner helped calm what was turning into a tricky situation.”

Producer

RESEARCH

When the Camera Cuts!

When the Camera Cuts!

Moral injury is a term increasingly used to describe the psychological trauma and symptoms experienced by returning war veterans. However, extensive research shows that moral injury can affect other professions, including nurses, doctors, firefighters, and police. But can this term include film crew and actors?

The Māori worldview holds that people are inherently dignified and valuable, and the whakataukī Kaua e Takahi te Mana o te Tangata cautions us not to degrade or harm people as we make our way through life.

There is a particular resonance between this whakataukī and Kevin’s recent study, When the Camera Cuts! Investigating Moral Injury within the Film Industry in Aotearoa New Zealand. This pioneering study asked if moral injury occurred within the film industry of Aotearoa New Zealand as a result of participating in the creation of film content depicting scenes of extreme violence, explicit sex, sexual violence, or culturally offensive material.

The results were compelling. Centred around interviews with filmmakers, the study demonstrated that moral injury most certainly does occur in the film industry in Aotearoa New Zealand and that individuals’ mana continues to be trampled on.

Kevin’s current PhD study, supported by the University of Otago, seeks to address this need through further research and will take the form of an anthropological film entitled “Loitering with Intent.”

Let’s talk

We are here to support you or your crew. Anytime. Anywhere.