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‘Kong stage’ benefits clear

Thursday April 13, 2006

‘Kong stage’ benefits clear

One year since it opened, Camperdown Studios’ world-class main sound stage is continuing to help attract lucrative and creative film-makers to Wellington.

The stage – affectionately called the ‘Kong stage’ due to its size, and use in the Oscar®-winning blockbuster King Kong – is part of the Stone Street Studios complex in Miramar.

Major production Waterhorse is currently in pre-production at the complex, with filming starting next month both at the studios and on location in the South Island.

Visual effects houses Weta Digital and Weta Workshop are working on early concepts for the project and Park Road Post, the sound and processing facility also located in Miramar, will be handling the processing and sound work. Effects element shooting for Xmen3 and the local production Black Sheep have also worked at Stone Street this year.

“For me, the proof of the studio’s success is in the size of bookings we have had, and the quality of productions that have been made and are being made here,” says Facility Manager Jamie Selkirk. “The stage has been in great demand since its opening a year ago, and we are now booked through until the end of the year.”

The 24,500 square foot, 40-foot high studio space is on a par with the biggest and best sound stages in Hollywood or London.

The likely economic impact of Stone Street attracting an additional mid-range production every 24 months, or an additional high-end production every 24 months, over a 10-year period is between NZ$250m and NZ$650m. The projected impact for the rest of New Zealand over the same period between NZ$450m and $NZ1.2b.

On-site facilities include multiple sound stages, full production offices, set, prop and costume stores, and specialty materials for the production of film miniatures. Many of the production interiors, miniatures and special effects shot for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong occurred at Stone Street.

Mr Selkirk says Stone Street Studios and neighbouring infrastructure are enticing overseas productions to New Zealand as a “one stop shop” for all their filming needs, and providing local film-makers with facilities of international quality.

“Camperdown was the Kong stage’s principal funder, but in recognition of the importance of the film industry to the Wellington region the regional economic development agency Positively Wellington Business (PWB) contributed $2m through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Regional Partnership Programme.

“In total the facility cost $10m to build, so you can see PWB’s help really made the expansion work possible.”

Positively Wellington Business Chief Executive Philip Lewin described the studio’s opening as a landmark in the development of New Zealand’s film industry.

“We are delighted to help make initiatives such as this happen. It has showcased to the world the amazing film-making skill base that we have here in Wellington and New Zealand.”


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