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Disney’s special place in Auckland

3 October 2019

Disney’s special place in Auckland

Long-standing relationship acknowledged at ‘The Power of Inclusion’ summit

The Power of Inclusion summit will take place on Thursday, 3 and Friday, 4 October 2019.

• The summit explores topics of representation, inclusion and belonging in today’s screen, entertainment and technology landscape.

• Supported by Walt Disney Studios, the summit coincides with Disney’s Dream Big, Princess photographic exhibition, which showcases women and girls across the world dreaming big.

• Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) congratulates The Walt Disney Company on its support of the summit and nearly 20-year relationship with Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland.

Auckland is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, has as a thriving and inclusive screen and creative industry, and is proud to support this week’s The Power of Inclusion summit.

The Power of Inclusion summit will take place on Thursday, 3 and Friday, 4 October 2019, exploring topics of representation, inclusion and belonging in today’s screen, entertainment and technology landscape.

The region’s economic development agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) collaborates with summit hosts New Zealand Film Commission on the attraction of productions to Auckland, fuelling the region’s billion-dollar screen production industry.

Pam Ford, General Manager Economic Development at ATEED, says the summit’s themes of representation, diversity and inclusion are also a strong focus within ATEED’s entire work programme.

“We are a region where diversity is embraced, and Auckland is keen to add our voice to global discussion about how to remove barriers to inclusion in creative industries.”

Pam Ford congratulated renowned The Walt Disney Company on its support for the summit and long support for Auckland as a screen production destination.

“Last year, Auckland was proud to be the main New Zealand production base of Disney’s feature film Mulan and to welcome its internationally acclaimed director Niki Caro back to the city where she grew up and studied her craft.

Mulan was just the latest chapter in Disney’s valued long-term relationship with our region, which has included numerous feature films and television programmes produced over nearly 20 years. The company has invested tens of millions here, creating jobs and supporting a wide range of businesses,” says Pam Ford.

Mulan became the first production to use the two new state-of-the-art sound stages at Kumeu Film Studios (KFS) – where detailed period sets were also constructed on the substantial backlots.

At its peak, the project involved hundreds of cast and crew, many from the screen industry heartland of west Auckland. The production also filmed on location in the South Island, and in China.

Disney has previously filmed projects including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Legend of the Seeker and early seasons of long-running television series Power Rangers in Auckland.

The studio’s television arm, ABC Signature, is again working in the region with series The Wilds currently in production for Amazon Prime.

The coming of age story follows a diverse group of teenage girls after an airplane crash leaves them stranded on a deserted island. The Wilds writer, Sarah Streicher and executive producer Jamie Tarses join the Power of Inclusion speaker line-up on Friday.

Women directors were at the helm of other significant productions recently filmed across the region.

Director Claire McCarthy brings Eleanor Catton’s screenplay of her Booker Prize winning novel The Luminaries to the small screen for BBC2 and TVNZ, while Wendey Stanzler directed the Breckman Rodeo pilot for FX Networks. Women also played key roles as heads of departments across both productions.

“We hope that women feel empowered to pursue their creative careers in Auckland, with the examples of Niki, Claire and Wendey to aspire to,” says Pam Ford.

To coincide with the Power of Inclusion summit, the Disney Dream Big, Princess photographic exhibition will run from Thursday, 3 to Wednesday, 9 October at Aotea Square. The exhibition, which was first unveiled at the United Nations in late 2017, features inspirational photography of real-life women and girls across the world dreaming big.

New Zealand photographers Jacki Key, Qiane Matata-Sipu, Imogen Wilson and Soldiers Rd join the global voice of creative talent at the exhibition, telling the unique story of strong Kiwi wahine and encouraging our future generation of leaders to dream big.

Empowerment of women will be a continuing theme in Auckland across the next few years, with New Zealand hosting until 2022 the secretariat for the International Working Group on Women in Sport – with Auckland hosting the working group’s global conference in 2022.

Auckland will also host a Women and the Economy Forum as part of APEC 2021, the Rugby World Cup 2021 and ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in the same year.


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