3 Oct 2012

Film industry debates merits of PM's Hollywood trip

10:50 am on 3 October 2012

As Prime Minister John Key heads to the United States, film industry figures are debating the value of his promotional trip to Hollywood.

John Key leaves on Wednesday for a visit to Hollywood studios in Los Angeles, at the invitation of Film New Zealand.

South Pacific Pictures chief executive John Barnett, says other countries can offer cheaper services or greater subsidies to attract productions, so it's important Mr Key reminds studios about the technical expertise in this country.

But Film and Video Technicians' Guild president Alun Bollinger says projects come to New Zealand because the exchange rate or the location are right, not because of sweet talk.

Mr Bollinger says producers in New Zealand are already working long hours to establish overseas connections, and that's behind many of the productions shot in this country.

Mr Barnett says it is easier to sell films telling New Zealand stories overseas in the wake of the interest prompted by movies like The Hobbit.