“I think a lot of people don’t understand the value of the screen economy beyond the cultural contribution,” de Lacey reckoned.
Our dollar is back in the zone where it’s attractive to bring productions here, the incentives are delivering work, and NZ continues to offer great locations, talent, and skilled crews. In his Big Screen Symposium address last year, NZFC CEO Dave Gibson also made the point about the industry’s value, reinforcing the need for the industry to keep pushing the message: a strong screen sector is good for the economy, attracting inbound productions, earning foreign currency, and creating well-paid work.
In Auckland, that message has yet to get through to Council, which scuppered the deal ATEED was putting together to see new studio premises and other screen infrastructure built at Hobsonville Point. Wellington, of course, is better served, mostly in Miramar, although there are reports of plans by Random films to develop facilities in Shelly Bay too.
As the industry has long been noted for its feast or famine nature, it’s not only a good time to be working with inbound productions. It’s also a great time to be looking to work internationally, de Lacey believes. Over 60 US TV channels are commissioning drama and, happily for the rest of the world, the controllers of those channels are becoming less parochial in the stories they’ll look at.
The Monster of Mangatiti