Auckland’s screen production industry is booming, and today’s announcement by the Government of a $305 million, four-year commitment to the national industry will help to ensure that Auckland remains a sought-after destination for international and domestic producers.
Ministers Simon Bridges and Maggie Barry made the announcement at an Auckland set of Ash v Evil Dead – the latest hit from legendary US producer Rob Tapert, which is into its third season of filming in Auckland. Tapert has been a huge contributor to, and supporter of, Auckland’s screen industry since filming the Hercules and Xena series here.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is mandated to support and drive growth of the regional screen industry on behalf of Auckland Council.
This includes attracting productions to Auckland, and operating Screen Auckland – the region’s film office – and the new 27ha Kumeu Film Studios, which was established thanks to a landmark partnership between ATEED, government agency the New Zealand Film Commission, and major international studios Warner Bros and Gravity Pictures.
Dean Butchers, ATEED General Manager Business Attraction & Investment, says the Government’s internationally competitive New Zealand Screen Production Grant is an absolutely crucial component of a thriving screen sector in Auckland, and New Zealand.
“The grant system is the foundation on which our screen sector continues to be built, so we are delighted to see the Government’s renewed commitment outlined by ministers Bridges and Barry today, including the substantial commitment to the domestic industry,” says Dean Butchers. “The Government’s consistent support gives industry and the private sector confidence to invest.”
In 2016, Auckland’s screen production and post production sector earned $972 million gross revenue, employed thousands of skilled people in high-paid jobs, and supported more than 300 businesses. Auckland accounted for 64 per cent – $431 million – of the country’s total gross overseas production revenue.
“We are on target for another record year of issuing Council permits for filming in public spaces, and with the Kumeu studios set to expand with two new 2500m2 sound stages operational by next year, and ongoing strong interest in its world-class facilities from producers in China, the US and around New Zealand, the medium to long-term future for our regional industry is looking very positive,” says Dean Butchers.
“While Auckland’s highly desirable locations, renowned crews and talent, and portfolio of studio assets, are attractive to producers, there is no doubt the screen grant system has been critical in fuelling the current strength of our region’s industry.”
Kumeu Film Studios’ assets include a huge green screen, dive tank and outdoor ocean pool which were built by the producers of MEG – Warner Bros and Gravity Pictures – and left behind as part of an agreement with the NZ Film Commission which enabled the producers to gain the extra 5 per cent uplift available under the grant system.
“We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with the commission, both here and internationally, as we grow this key creative sector for New Zealand alongside industry. That approach encourages innovation which leads to competitive advantage internationally,” says Dean Butchers.