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Stage gets set for NZ-HK film growth

Hi Editorial Team

Media release: November 10 2009

Stage gets set for NZ-HK film and digital entertainment growth

New Zealand and Hong Kong are to share ideas and people across their film sectors following the signing of an arrangement to encourage greater joint film and other digital entertainment projects, including TV games and animation.

While not a full film coproduction treaty, which covers access to coproduction funding and incentives from government sources, the arrangement is widely regarded in the sector as a step in that direction and a treaty may follow one currently being negotiated between New Zealand and China. It encourages business-to-business contact and investment in content production. It will make exchange of technology and training easier.

Duncan Pescod, who is charged by the HK Government to look after the film and creative sector there, told a HKNZ Business Association and ANZ Bank gathering in Auckland that he was impressed with the passion in the industry in New Zealand.

While signing the agreement in Wellington he visited Weta Workshop and Park Rd Post and saw footage from the recent top rating HK movie “Red Cliff Part 1” partially post produced there. Later in Auckland he visited Henderson Valley Studios and the sets for “Legend of the Seeker”.

He told filmmakers that they should regard Hong Kong as a safe place in terms of intellectual property (IP) protection and as an ideal springboard into Mainland China’s rapidly growing film and digital entertainment market.

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Lewis Holden, CEO of NZ’s Ministry of Culture and Heritage, says the arrangement goes beyond film and includes gaming, animation and digital industries. He says the challenges from piracy and the protection of IP – with gaming shifting from consoles to the web and mobile phones – will be discussed between the two industries.

Separately, an agreement on knowledge sharing between NZ and HK’s digital sectors was also signed in Wellington. Michael Stephens the Chair of the NZ Institute of Screen Innovation and Nicholas Yang CEO of HK’s Cyberport, agreed the organizations would work together to accelerate the plan to build a Digital Innovation Hub in Wellington. The hub is to be built on a 5000 sq m renovated city bloΰk in downtown Wellington, near Cuba mall.

Nigel Kirkpatrick, chief executive of Grow Wellington, says Cyberport has already created HK’s creative digital community and Wellington could learn from that experience. Mr Yang will be an international advisor to the NZ project.

Mr Pescod's visit took place while Hong Kong and New Zealand officials are working to conclude negotiations for a Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) agreement.
In a further example of the deepening relationship between New Zealand and Hong Kong, an "Arrangement on Cooperation in Wine-related Business", was signed in Hong Kong on October 28.

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