What’s on your radar for 2016?
Film Otago Southland is currently under review from its key funder the Queenstown Council. The office is still funded on a part time basis (32 hours per week). The initial findings are that the office provides an essential service and is valued by the industry but is currently under resourced. We are preparing a business case to seek increased funding to become a full time office as well as provide other services not currently resourced.
We will continue our ongoing work on land access issues with various crown entities to not only maintain and increase access but also to create a more streamlined and customer focused approach.
Drones? Don’t even get me going on drones… For every film commission in the world this is, pardon the pun, a moving target. They provide great opportunities to capture footage in a way never imagined a decade ago, however they also provide serious management and regulatory challenges. How do we balance between the two while keeping everyone safe? Watch this space.
What can we learn from film commissions elsewhere?
A lack of security of long term funding is an issue. In other places there is long term funding in place for regional offices in various ways. For example The European Union has gotten behind film commissions there and provides funding to regional offices to collaborate on projects. It would be better to spend more time focused on running the office as opposed to justifying our existence and seeking funding year to year. I am hoping that this will be resolved in the next year.
In what ways is NZ ahead of the curve?
From a production attraction perspective, we start from a very positive position in that the NZ regional film offices work in a very collaborative way. We realize that a production will often require a variety of looks. It’s common for other regions to include images from Otago and Southland in their presentations. While on the surface it’s the obvious thing to do in my experience with other offshore offices this is not always the case.
Harry Harrison at Screen Auckland is a good example of this working relationship delivering results. He brought the production team from SHANARRA CHRONICLES down here to look at various places to do plate shots. This proved to be a factor in them choosing to bring the production to NZ. While the benefit to our region was modest, the benefit to Auckland and ultimately NZ was massive.
Even if we don’t get a substantial boost at a local level we get something that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. It also provides jobs and inward investment; this is a winner for everyone.
Keith is the editor of SCREENZ, and the co-creator and founding editor of CREWED.
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