Auckland’s screen production industry is booming, with renewed confidence as a result of this month’s announcement by the Government of a $305 million, four-year commitment to the national industry.
Along with the expansion of the new Kumeu Film Studios, the Government’s commitment means Auckland will remain a sought-after destination for international and domestic producers.
It was fitting that 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 his Hercules and Xena series here.
Our Screen Auckland team is set to again set an annual record for issuing Council permits to film in public open spaces.
The 27ha Kumeu Film Studios were established thanks to a landmark partnership between ATEED, government agency the New Zealand Film Commission, and major international studios Warner Bros and Gravity Pictures.
Studio bookings have already paid the studios’ lease costs for year one, with strong demand into 2018 from producers in China, the US and around New Zealand.
The Government’s consistent support gives industry and the private sector confidence to invest – this includes the owner of the Kumeu site, who has committed to funding two new 2,500m2 sound stages which will open in 2018 and add to the world-class assets (water tanks, giant green screen, and forest backlot) already on site.
This studio complements existing infrastructure which we continue to support through the work of Screen Auckland.
Statistics NZ’s latest data shows Auckland’s screen production and post production sector earned $972 million gross revenue in 2016, 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.
So far this year, filming in Auckland has included New Zealand family feature film Kiwi Christmas, the 24th season of US TV series Power Rangers, award-winning Australian TV series 800 Words (third series), and MTV's The Shannara Chronicles (second season).
China is the world’s second largest film market, and continues to grow exponentially. China is reshaping the global film industry through co-production and outbound direct investment. Through our work with the New Zealand Film Commission, and industry and agency partners, we have launched a series of programmes to leverage the opportunities from China.