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Images: PM Promotes Invest NZ With Frodo And Bilbo


Caption - Prime Minister Helen Clark with actors Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins) at a private screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in New York yesterday. The screening was attended by key US investors, film executives and trade and business representatives.

Jackson’s films catalyst for new investment in NZ

A private screening in New York of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers for influential US investors may stimulate new investment in key New Zealand industry sectors, and attract more film production to the country.

The sneak preview of the second film in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy, hosted by
Prime Minister Helen Clark in Manhattan today, attracted over 350 key US investors, film executives, trade and business representatives, as well as journalists from heavy-weight business publications The Economist, Fortune, and Wall Street Journal.

The event was organised by Investment New Zealand.

While the hook for many was the chance to see the critically acclaimed film before general US release on December 18, many were drawn by New Zealand’s growing reputation as an innovative developer of cutting edge technology, according to Jane Cunliffe, Investment New Zealand’s North American Director.

“The Lord of the Rings is an ideal showcase for New Zealand creativity, talent and innovation. It has grabbed the attention of many influential people here, not only in the film industry but those from other sectors as well. They are making the connection between our achievements in film and our world leading ability in other fields.

“In the past we were practically invisible to US private equity investors, but now that New Zealand creativity and brainpower is playing a leading role in many US industries, investors are taking much greater interest in New Zealand,” Ms Cunliffe says.


Closeup Of PM, Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Ian Holm (Bilbo)

The success of The Lord of the Rings means that screen production is still one of the hottest investment prospects for New Zealand. Representatives of AOL, New Line Cinema and Miramax, as well as actors Elijah Wood, Ian Holm and Meryl Streep attended the New York screening.

Miett Fear, Investment New Zealand’s Investment Manager, Screen Production, says the continued interest from large US studios is very positive. That interest is turning into solid investment – The Last Samurai (Warner Brothers), Power Rangers (ABC TV) and the Redhead – Loving Lucy (CBS) will all begin production in New Zealand in the next 6 months.

It’s not just high profile activities like The Lord of the Rings, America’s Cup and the Lee Tamahori directed Bond film Die Another Day that are capturing the imagination of US investors.

Niche New Zealand hi-tech companies like Deep Video Imaging, Intrahealth Systems, Argent Networks and many others are also carving out positions in the highly competitive North American market.

Their point of difference says Jane Cunliffe, is that they are becoming the best in the world at what they do, and that is important in the highly specialised US market.

“Peter Jackson is one of the best in the world at what he does; he delivers highly creative very commercial films, based in large part on world-leading technology developed in New Zealand. It’s a great model that investors love and one that other New Zealand companies should follow if they are serious about breaking into global markets.”


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