Shannara announcement adds to boom year for Auckland’s screen industry

Published: 09 January 2015
Filed under: Filmed in Auckland, Screen industry news

Confirmation today that MTV Networks and Sonar Entertainment are to base production of a television series adaptation of the fantasy adventure book series Shannara at Auckland Film Studios is further great news for the region’s screen sector.

It is set to be a boom year for Auckland’s industry, with Shannara and the new Power Rangers series among four significant Auckland-based international productions either in pre-production, shooting, or wrapping in early 2015.

In addition, several major New Zealand productions will begin in Auckland this year – including Lee Tamahori and Robin Scholes collaboration The Patriarch. Many of the domestic productions have the support of the New Zealand Film Commission or NZ On Air.

Screen Auckland, council’s specialist industry development team within Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), plays a major role in facilitating the productions which take place across the region.
ATEED chief executive Brett O’Riley says screen production is worth hundreds of millions to Auckland’s economy each year, and is a focus growth industry.

“This is an exciting time for the screen sector in Auckland. While productions such as Shannara are attracted by the world-class expertise of our film crews and employ hundreds of those people directly, they also create jobs in supporting service sectors such as transport, security, accommodation, food and beverage, and by supporting local suppliers of timber, paint and other materials.”

He says ATEED is working with Shannara’s producers to analyse the wider economic impact of screen productions on Auckland’s economy.

1 The other two productions have not been confirmed publically by the international companies involved, so ATEED is not able to discuss them at this stage.

Screen Auckland has assisted them since early 2014, providing services including: a location feasibility study and reference images; funding a budget comparison showing Auckland’s favourable status compared to other territories; and working with regional film offices to organise three location reconnaissance trips for the producers around Auckland, central North Island and Queenstown.

Brett O’Riley says the Government’s improved tax incentives for international productions announced last year were important in boosting New Zealand’s global competitiveness, but that is just part of the picture.

“Auckland and the North Island’s fantasy genre locations are internationally unique, and another draw card for Shannara’s producers was Auckland’s reputation for world-class fast turnaround filming based on a history of shows such as Xena, Spartacus and Power Rangers. They know they don’t need to bring in talent, it’s all here.”

Based on the series of cult fantasy Shannara books by author Terry Brooks, pre-production begins this month with filming set to commence in February.

Shannara will mainly be filmed at Auckland Council-owned Auckland Film Studios. Other locations around New Zealand may be considered. Screen Auckland has worked closely with other regional film studios to ensure the producers’ needs are met.

Information on Screen Auckland’s activities can be found within ATEED’s website at aucklandnz.com/screen.

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For further information please contact:
Chris Gregory
Media Manager, ATEED
Ph 027 292 3601