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$700,000 Funding Boost For Creatives In Lockdown Brings Fresh Content To NZ Audiences

Nine creative teams have been given the green light to create fresh new content to entertain New Zealand audiences, at a time when the local production sector has come to a grinding halt.

On 1 April NZ On Air released a ‘Rapid Response’ RFP seeking creative ideas for content for commercial media platforms that have experienced an immediate reduction in revenue and local content due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The idea was to give creatives a chance to pitch ideas for projects that could be produced quickly, safely and in lockdown.

“The response was extraordinary,” says NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland. “We received 112 applications seeking $5.6m in funding. We had set aside $400,000 for this RFP. The quality of the proposals, the range of ideas and creatives involved, and the support of the commercial platforms for the initiative has been remarkable.”

In response to the flood of excellent project ideas, NZ On Air has been able to reallocate some ‘write-backs’ (funding previously allocated no longer required) and increase the pot for the RFP to a fraction over $700,000.

Nine projects for eight different platforms have been funded, providing paid work over the coming weeks for a wide range of creatives from directors to actors, writers, comedians, musicians, animators and journalists.

Audiences will get to enjoy fresh comedy on Three, a prime time family challenge competition on TVNZ 2 encouraging creative use of everyday materials inside four family ‘bubbles’, a new scripted dramedy based on a self-isolating tech-savvy loner, and a webseries focused on five breakthrough music artists exploring new ways to find their audiences. Full details are below.

The Rapid Response RFP is just one way NZ On Air is responding to the current lockdown restrictions, which are having a major impact on the production, music and media sectors.

NZ On Air continues to run its core funding rounds, is actively gathering information on the impacts on already funded productions and the interventions needed to get them running again under different alert levels, and advising Government on additional funding needed for the sector to survive and ultimately thrive.

Funding details:

House Party, 6 x 22 mins, Kevin & Co for Three, up to $250,383. Host Dai Henwood brings together a bunch of local comedians performing sketches, stand-up routines and much bubble-based silliness from their own lockdown locations.

You Got This!, 8 x 26 mins, Warner Bros NZ for TVNZ 2, up to $139,971. Prime time family entertainment show pitting four kiwi whanau against each other in a challenge to make objects from materials found within their ‘bubbles’.

INSiDE, 8 x 12 mins, Floating Boy for Prime, up to $92,901. A scripted dramedy series about a self-isolating tech-savvy loner who finds herself called upon to become a hero… but nothing is what it seems.

Sound Check, 5 x 3 mins, Four and Five Films for Re: News, up to $59,000. A webseries checking in on five music artists who were on the verge of a breakthrough when lockdown hit – audiences go inside their world as they rethink how to engage with their audiences.

Artist in Residence, 10 x 15’ to The Pantograph Punch Trust Board for The Pantograph Punch, up to $54,600. A podcast series created in collaboration with 10 New Zealand artists. Each episode will explore themes of isolation and connection.

Minoi!Minoi!, 22 x 3 mins, Tikilounge Productions for the Coconet.tv, up to $48,575. A series of videos for Pacific audiences providing cultural learning, comedy, exercise and nutrition tips.

48Hours Lockdown, 1 x 44 mins + 17 x 3’ mins, Timpson Films for TVNZ 2 & The Spinoff, up to $35,000. The annual 48Hours filmmaking challenge just got harder – the films all have to be made in lockdown.

Wild Eyes Covid Missions, 2 x 2 mins, POP Film for NZ Herald, up to $19,140. Wild Eyes uses screens to get kids off screens and engaged with nature. These new missions can be completed at home, helping parents keep their kids entertained during lockdown and beyond.

The Night Shift, 5 x 6 mins, Stuff for Stuff, up to $4,316. An experienced journalist and photojournalist introduce audiences to the people who work through the night, exploring a range of workers through a first-person narrative.

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