Photo Credit: Tammy Williams
Desray Armstrong (Te Aitanga-ā-Hauiti, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Ira, Pākehā) is a film and television producer based in Aotearoa New Zealand with some two decades of physical production experience across documentary, factual, studio, short and long-form drama.
Credits include REUNION, MULAN, MORTAL ENGINES, A WRINKLE IN TIME, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, THE REHEARSAL, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, Z FOR ZACHARIAH, SLOW WEST, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and WELLINGTON PARANORMAL.
She has produced award-winning short films including MEATHEAD by Sam Holst (Cannes 2011, Berlin 2012 Crystal Bear Winner), ELLEN IS LEAVING (SXSW 2013 Best Narrative Short Winner) and BATS (NZIFF & MIFF 2018) by Michelle Savill, SNOWMEN by Jonathan Brough (Show Me Shorts 2014), WAYS TO SEE by Jessica Sanderson (NZIFF, ImagineNATIVE, RIFF, Māoriland, Skábmagovat Indigenous Peoples’ Film Festival 2019) and Jamie Lawrence's EARTHLINGS (MIFF 2023). She has produced visually rich music videos for AARADHNA, SHAPESHIFTER and TAMA WAIPARA directed by Jessica Sanderson, and two seasons of Mike Minogue’s comedy web series THE WATERCOOLER released on NZME’s platform Watch Me.
In 2018 she produced her first feature, Dustin Feneley’s STRAY (Moscow, NZIFF 2018). Amidst the challenges of Covid, in 2021 she completed and released three feature films in a single year – James Ashcroft’s COMING HOME IN THE DARK (Sundance, NZIFF, MIFF 2021), Matthew J Saville’s JUNIPER starring Charlotte Rampling (Bari, Tallin Black Nights 2021, Edinburgh 2022, Palm Springs 2023) and Michelle Savill’s MILLIE LIES LOW (NZIFF 2021, SXSW, SIFF, MIFF, Edinburgh 2022) and was subsequently awarded the New Zealand Film Commission’s Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Award. Her latest film, Alice Englert’s BAD BEHAVIOUR starring Jennifer Connelly, Alice Englert and Ben Whishaw premiered at Sundance 2023 and is set to release in NZ in early November 2023. She is currently in post production with Rachel House's THE MOUNTAIN and Chelsea Winstanley's feature documentary VISUAL SOVEREIGNTY: A MOMENT IN TIME.
Through her production company, Sandy Lane Productions, Desray is active in creating pathways for NZ stories to be told globally. Her film and television development slate has a strong female and indigenous focus, including a number of projects with Māori women at the helm.
An active member of WIFT NZ, SPADA, NZFPA and Ngā Aho Whakaari, Desray regularly advocates and advises on various issues pertinent to the New Zealand screen sector and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
COMPANY DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
2023 Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
2022 WIFT Mana Wahine Award
2021 New Zealand Film Commission’s Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Award
2019 Ngā Aho Whakaari (Māori in Screen) Te Kai Ngakahi Melissa Wikaire Award
2018 SPADA Independent Producer of the Year
2016 WIFT Woman to Watch