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Film funding in complete disarray Deborah Coddingt

Film funding in complete disarray

Friday, 29 April 2005

Helen Clark and Judith Tizard must front up to the New Zealand film industry and explain why the Government has pulled the plug on the Film Fund, ACT Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Members of the New Zealand industry are outraged that they had to find out this news via The Hollywood Reporter that the Government will not recapitalise the funding initiative that made possible films like 'Whale Rider' and 'The World's Fastest Indian'," Miss Coddington said.

"They're further outraged that the NZ Film Commission, which has been told by the Prime Minister to take over the duties of the Film Fund, knew back in 2003 that the Fund was going to be axed. Despite this the industry were kept in the dark by the Commission, even being asked to 'get in behind us and lobby to keep the Film Fund alive'.

"When the Film Fund of an extra $10 million was announced last year by Judith Tizard and Helen Clark, it was lauded as the best thing ever to happen to the industry. Now they've gone behind the backs of the industry and done a deal with the NZ Film Commission, which in turn has done the dirty on the New Zealand industry.

"There are questions needing answers: for instance, what has happened to any money still in the Film Fund's coffers? The Fund was set up as a trust – can the Film Commission just 'take it over'? The Commission was told to take over the 'duties' of the Film Fund, but not the Film Fund itself – can this taxpayers' money simply be sucked out of a Trust and into the inflated budgets of the Film Commission? And why did the Film Commission, Judith Tizard and Helen Clark do this secret deal, leaving New Zealand's professional filmmakers out of the loop?

"The Prime Minister and the Associate Minister of Arts & Culture need to front up and answer these questions," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

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