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Dunedin attracts a growing number of screen productions

(Dunedin, 20 June 2019) - A US remake of the cult horror film Black Christmas will be using Dunedin city and North Otago locations over the next few weeks for filming, including the University of Otago’s campus.

Universal Pictures will release Blumhouse Productions’ Black Christmas on Friday, December 13, 2019. Sophia Takal is directing, and Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady, Lily Donoghue and Caleb Eberhardt will star in the film.

Blumhouse Productions is working with Candy Cane Productions, whose Location Manager, Phil Turner, says, “The city offers a great range of locations and the crew are loving working here. We are making the most of our opportunities, including giving back to the University and community.”

Where possible the company is employing local crew, and the production has resulted in several pluses for the University, including placements for interns from the University’s Media, Film and Communications Department during production. On top of that, some 75 extras from Otago’s student body have been cast to appear in some scenes and senior executives from the production company have agreed offer to public lectures and/or classroom presentations.

The production company is also making a donation to a student charity, and some imagery from the filming will be released to the University for promotional purposes.
Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull, says, “It’s great that DCC staff have been able to support Candy Cane Productions and Blumhouse Productions in choosing Dunedin as a Black Christmas filming location. In addition to helping attract Candy Cane Productions to the city, staff continue to assist their operational needs.

“Dunedin is very pleased to see that productions of this kind are growing in number in and around the area. It confirms that the city is open for business as a destination for film and television projects.”
The Mayor notes there are further international and domestic screen production projects now looking at the city over the next 12 months.

University of Otago Media Film and Communications lecturer, Dr Olivier Jutel, says, “The Media Film and Communication Department are delighted to support this project. We see this as an outstanding opportunity to provide our students with real and applied experiences in the industry.

“We are rapt by the offer of the Blumhouse Film Producer and the Blumhouse Vice President to put on a workshop and seminar as a way of giving back to students and providing some mentorship to aspiring filmmakers and creatives. Our department hopes to contribute to… the ongoing efforts to attract production to Dunedin as it provides a great springboard for our students.

“It’s worth making note of this company’s fantastic reputation for producing critically acclaimed films that invert the conventions of the horror genre to create politically progressive texts.”
The number of screen productions coming to work in Dunedin and the surrounding region is growing. Seventy-seven film permits were issued in the two years to the end of March 2019 by the Dunedin City Council’s Film Dunedin arm, which works out of Enterprise Dunedin to attract and support film productions in the city and surrounding region.

The Dunedin City Council’s Enterprise Dunedin Film Dunedin coordinator, Antony Deaker, adds, “The positive employment flow on effects of having film productions in the city are far more diverse than you would imagine. The accommodation industry has benefited to the tune of 6,409 bed nights during the 12 months to March 2019. Artists, tradespeople, extras, interns, transport companies and more, all benefit.

“We are receiving feedback from the crews that they enjoy their time in Dunedin. When not filming, they are experiencing the variety of dining, music and cultural activity the city offers. It means many local businesses are benefiting from this rise in the number of screen productions in the area.

“An independent New Zealand feature film was shot in Dunedin in May, and filming for a Nadia Reid music video is taking place here this weekend. In July we welcome back Notable Productions, working on their Six60 biopic. Casting took place this month in Dunedin for another New Zealand feature coming to film here in September-October. In the last three months we have also hosted a range of location scouts seeking to take advantage of Dunedin’s diverse built and natural environments.”

The University of Otago, Dunedin City Council’s Enterprise Dunedin and suppliers assisting Candy Cane Productions locally are committed to a non-disclosure agreement regarding production details.

© Scoop Media

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