29 May 2014

Domestic film production on the rise

8:25 am on 29 May 2014

Film New Zealand says inquiries from companies about working in the country have risen by 25 percent since financial incentives were increased last year.

In December, the Government announced it would increase rebate incentives for filming in New Zealand from 15 to 20 percent of production costs.

Inquiries to film in New Zealand have risen 25 percent since incentives were introduced.

Inquiries to film in New Zealand have risen 25 percent since incentives were introduced. Photo: PHOTO NZ

At least two international companies have signed contracts to film part of their productions in this country this year, both making use of the increased rebate.

They include the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and an adventure film involving Hollywood producers.

The multi award winning film was a major success when it was released in 2000, bringing in $US213 million on the box office.

The sequel is being filmed this year, half of it in west Auckland.

Radio New Zealand understands Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II agreed to filming some of the film here because of the incentives.

It'll also likely get a larger rebate, because it has employed a New Zealand designer and wardrobe designer.

Just nine months ago many in the film industry were talking about how the industry was on the verge of collapse.

With no major productions since 2012, many companies had to lay off staff, one studio shut down, and many of the most successful production workers fled to Asia, where the industry is experiencing a boom.

Film NZ, the body that administers the grants, said that in the first six weeks since the incentives became available in April, there had been a 25 percent increase in film and television inquiries compared with the same period last year. And it puts that down to the incentives.

Paul Mannering, Chief Executive of Avalon Studios in Lower Hutt, says it too has signed a movie.

Mr Mannering wouldn't reveal any other details about the film other than to describe it as an adventure film.

He says its staff are also busy preparing for a Chinese funded horror movie later this year.

Mr Mannering says the focus now should be attracting television programmes to New Zealand rather than just trying to woo Hollywood movies.